Georgia congressman introduces LGBT student equality bill
In 2009, Mary Norwood fell 700 votes short of defeating Kasim Reed to become Atlanta mayor. Now she’s ready to take another crack at it. Norwood filed paperwork Oct. 5 to start raising money for the 2017 election to succeed Reed, who is up against term limits.
“Today I’m taking the first step in becoming your next Mayor. I’m following the law and filing to accept contributions. Over the next several weeks, I will continue to be in communities throughout our city with Atlantans from every part of our great city,” she said in a statement sent to the Georgia Voice. “I am running for Mayor of Atlanta to give all Atlantans a responsible, transpar- ent and accountable government that will ensure that we have a safe city, a sustainable city and a prosperous city for ALL of our citizens. With over 25 years of citywide service, I have a unique understanding of our city’s communities–their issues, needs, and aspirations. As this city’s next Mayor, I will make certain that every community in this great city has the quality of life they deserve. Your issues will be my issues and they will be addressed so that our city will be safe and you will have the accountability that you desire and expect from your city government.”
Norwood, who was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 2013 (a second time), joins a crowded field of candidates that includes Atlanta lesbian pioneer Cathy Woolard.
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) on Sept. 26 introduced the Inclusive Campuses Act of 2016 to authorize the use of Title III funds to establish on-campus resource centers for LGBT students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions.
Title III provides federal grant funding to assist state and local education agencies. It began as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which authorizes funds to enhance and strengthen HBCUs and other minority servicing institutions.
“We should be doing all we can to help everyone feel welcomed and included,” said Johnson, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and The Thurgood Marshall School of Law, in a statement. “As a proud graduate of two HBCUs, I feel this legislation is crucial in continuing the legacy of community and inclusion I felt as a student.”
Less than 30 percent of HBCUs have active university-sanctioned LGBT-specific organizations on their campuses. Additionally, less than 20 percent of HBCUs include gender identity/expression and sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination statements. Oftentimes, this has led to the alienation and emotional distress of LGBT students while creating campus environments of fearful silence and passive intolerance.
Johnson says the bill will promote full diversity, acceptance and inclusion of all students who attend HBCUs and other minorityserving institutions. Organizations endorsing the bill include the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Campus Pride, the National Black Justice Coalition, Trans Student Educational Resources and Fayetteville State University.