Marriage equality is the law of the land across the United States. However, in thirty-one states, employees can still be fired, simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In Florida, local laws protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in sixty percent of the state. Without a statewide nondiscrimination law, the LGBT community has no guaranteed employment protections. This discussion continues in part 2 (LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Laws).
Brittany Link-Hayes of Equality Florida joins Robert Traynham to track the latest legislative developments out of her state, and nationwide.
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Interview recorded on May 17, 2017. Part 1 of 2.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Florida and 30 other states lack nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ citizens. Brittany Link-Hayes of Equality Florida is tracking the latest legislative developments out of her state and joins me to discuss. Brittany, welcome to the program.
Link-Hayes: Thank you for having me.
Traynham: It is good to have you here. It?s my understanding that there was a proposed piece of legislation to protect LGBTQ individuals in Florida. That died in Committee. Why?
Link-Hayes: Well, that?s interesting. Actually, while, of course, we were, you know, disappointed that the bill did not come out of Committee, it was a monumental moment for us because it was the first time that bill had been heard in the Florida legislature. So we actually just wrapped up our 2017 legislative session, and that was really amazing. We have unprecedented support for our statewide bill. We have 71 co-sponsors for this legislation.
Traynham: So it sounds like it?s bipartisan.
Link-Hayes: Correct. A third of our 71 co-sponsors are Republicans, and, you know, that makes up 44%. Almost a majority of the legislative body in Florida endorses our bill.
Traynham: You know, Brittany, I think it?s important to remind the folks that are watching this program that you can get married on a Friday or Saturday, come to work on a Monday with a picture of your new spouse, you know, you?re a newlywed, and you can get a knock on your door and say "You?re fired," and you?re fired because you?ve married someone that perhaps is non-like me, or non-like you, or whatever the case may be. So this is important because I think a lot of people simply do not realize that in 2017, you can be fired for being gay.
Link-Hayes: You?re absolutely correct, and people really are surprised to hear that, that, you know, today, you can be fired for being gay, or you can be kicked out of a restaurant for being transgender, and that is absolutely unacceptable, which is why it is a legislative priority of ours to pass these nondiscrimination protections.
Traynham: And, Brittany, we should also say, just a personal right of privilege, going to Florida a lot -- You know, it?s a paradise state. There?s no doubt about it. It?s the Sunshine State, but it?s also a southern state. -
Link-Hayes: Correct. -
Traynham: And for this to be even considered in the Florida legislature I think is a significant milestone because of that. Am I not correct?
Link-Hayes: Oh, you are absolutely correct, yes, and this has taken decades of work, decades of visible, public education. We have built a coalition of business support, you know, businesses that have nondiscrimination protection policies in place and are saying, "Look, this isn?t just the right thing to do, but it?s absolutely the smart thing to do." So along with that, our bipartisan coalition in the Florida Legislature and raising faith voices, you know, we are actually now poised to be the breakthrough state in the south and to actually pass LGBTQ protections.
The LGBTQ fight for equal rights became organized in 1969, after the riots at New York City's Stonewall Inn. LGBTQ civil rights activist and author Mark Segal has been involved in the movement from its beginning. Mark joins Robert Traynham for a candid and intimate discussion about his life, his role in the fight for equality, and the state of LGBTQ rights across America and around the globe. Mark is the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population increased 72 percent between 2000 and 2015, resulting in the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. And as this population continues to grow, there remains a lack of involvement in politics and corporate leadership positions. Kendall Kosai, Deputy Director at OCA National discussed programs designed to help high school students explore their identity, and encourage them to become future community leaders.
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Interview recorded: December 1st, 2017"
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Entrevista grabada: 25 de junio de 2018
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In this edition of Comcast Newsmakers, Autumn Karlinsky, Vice-Chair of Volunteer Florida, explains how they provide an extra sense of security to Floridians.
Interview recorded: January 24th, 2018
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Evgeniya Nechyparenka, Program Coordinator at Hispanic Unity, talks about how their program has been so impactful for many immigrants looking for a better life.
Interview recorded: June 25th, 2018