|By Daniel Keeney||
|June 24, 2016 03:41 PM EDT|
Response to Attacks on LGBT Community Rally Community
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced a new campaign called, “Houston Stands With Orlando.” It follows the Orlando terrorist attack that targeted members of the LGBT community, leaving more than 100 dead or wounded. But I think it can be considered a response to the threats, bullying and physical attacks that stretch far beyond that one attack and impact the LGBT community in virtually every American city every day.
Mayor Turner called on Houston to lead at this difficult time, to come together in support of the LGBT community and against division and violence anywhere. Houston Stands With Orlando is a step toward making the Mayor’s call to action a reality.
My good friend and client Brock Wagner recorded this message in support of the campaign.
Signing onto Houston Stands With Orlando is a nonpartisan statement in support of civic pride, unity, freedom and inclusion. Houston corporations, nonprofits, business owners small and large, elected officials, and philanthropists are encouraged to participate.
Some people express surprise that a city in Texas is taking this position. Some Texas political leaders have done significant harm to the state’s reputation by resisting civil rights efforts such as marriage equality and equal rights for transgender individuals. As Jacquielynn Floyd wrote in the Dallas Morning News, “Being on the wrong side of history isn’t something to take pride in.”
As for Houston, it may be in Texas, but its identity is considerably different from Texas. People come to Houston from all over the world for opportunity. They come to seek or fill jobs and make a life for themselves. As a result, the people generally are accepting and friendly. Unlike a lot of cities, the people look you in the eye and greet you when you walk past. I have never experienced the suspicion that seems to be a default way of dealing with strangers in other cities.
I’ve lived all over the country — Denver/Boulder, Roanoke Virginia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Portland, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth — and Houston is the most diverse, open and welcoming city I’ve lived in. When looking specifically at LGBT issues, Houston is among a small number of U.S. cities to elect an openly gay mayor — and it is by far the biggest American city to do so. While race is an issue in every American city, Houston has not been marred by the destructive racial divisions other U.S. cities have experienced in recent years. Mayor Turner, elected last year, is the city’s second African American mayor.
So the ideals that drive Houston Stands With Orlando represent more than just a slogan or a way of rallying the community. It is a way of thinking and living. Thank you Mayor Turner!
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