Submitted by Harry Hawkins, HRC Mississippi Field Organizer
This year, HRC Mississippi was proud to take part in the LGBTQ Pride Month. Following the surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Mississippi, including the discriminatory and hateful HB1523, and the senseless shooting in Orlando, it was important to come together as a community.
Jackson, Mississippi, played host to two events last month. Fondren Pride, held in the historic Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, hosted the city’s first pride parade since the 1970s. HRC Mississippi also attended the second-annual Mississippi pride in downtown Smith Park, which drew large crowds and was a great way to close out the month of celebrations.
There was also a lot to celebrate in Jackson. Last month, the Jackson City Council passed city-wide non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment.In April, the Jackson Public School Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend fully-inclusive sexual orientation and gender identity workplace protections to their employees.
These pride events are testaments to the strength and resilience of the LGBTQ community in Mississippi. While legislators can pass hateful and bigoted laws, we will not be driven back. Love won and love will continue to win. We have seen many victories, including U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’ decision to block the implementation of HB1523, and will continue to work towards more triumphs and successes for LGBTQ Mississippians in the future.