It’s time for another HERO news update since the last one I penned was back on July 4.
One thing I and everyone inside Beltway 8 are keenly aware of is that the world is watching our fight to defend the HERO with keen interest.
I discovered that firsthand when I flew to our nation’s capital last week to attend the White House LGBT Innovation Summit. One of the next questions off everyone’s lips once they discovered I was there from Houston was, ‘What’s happening with the HERO?”
What’s happening is the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is nearly two months old, is still in effect, and covers 15 categories. I can also confidently report that no bakers have been forced to make swastika cakes anywhere inside the Houston city limits.
Right now we are in signature counting mode. As you know for the last update the hate ministers dropped off their petitions with the alleged 50,000 signatures at City Secretary Anna Russell’s office July 3. Mayor Parker held a press conference on that date that I was in attendance for along with other members of Team HERO expressing her thoughts about it.
In addition to the launch of the Equal Rights Houston website, we’ve also held multiple petition verification trainings that have trained over 150 volunteers how to spot invalid signatures. Now that we’ve begun to finally receive those petitions, we can start the actual work of poring through them to find the fraudulent and ineligible ones.
One of those petition checking events will happen tonight at Resurrection MCC Church starting at 7 PM CDT. and we’ll know by August 4 whether the petition drive was successful or it failed.
There will also be a Civil Rights Strategy Meeting held July 24 at Resurrection MCC starting at 7 PM to discuss HERO. One of the topics on the agenda will be to assess what needs to be done to combat the lies and ignorance about the ordinance being disseminated in communities of color.
Short answer is get African-American media to give the pro-HERO side as much airtime to counter the lies as you have given the opponents. Our legacy orgs in the NAACP and Urban League along with our politicians and leaders who support HERO have also been far too silent and not forceful enough to call out the ignorance and lies coming from the Baptist Ministers Assn of Houston and Vicinity.
Neither have they pointed out the fact they are selling out and siding with white Republican conservatives in opposing an ordinance that benefits the entire Houston community.
One of the things that has pissed off me and Team HERO in this human rights fight is the Houston media continuing to pimp the lies of Dave Welch, Max Miller and his faith based haters.
While the Houston Chronicle just published this positive HERO op-ed, unfortunately in one of Houston’s oldest African-American newspapers, the Forward Times went in the opposite direction.
Here’s another example of the transphobic bathroom myth being repeated without debunking in this Forward Times ad promoting an upcoming HERO debate forum they are setting up on August 4.
Christina Gorczynski had this to say on her Facebook page in rebuttal to this problematic ad
‘Factual information about this ordinance must
reach each and every community and we are counting on the media to
report HERO accurately. Let’s avoid dividing people based on the very
characteristics that HERO protects and work together to end all forms of discrimination against every Houstonian.’
She’s absolutely right about that. One of the major problems I’ve had with the African-American media during this HERO fight is they haven’t been doing their job of reporting on this ordinance accurately.
They have been far too busy parroting of the lies of Max Miller and his Baptist Ministers Assn of Houston and Vicinity but not inviting HERO supporters to counter those lies, much less give us the same air time (Majic 102) they have given them. Houston African-American trans and SGL people are still waiting for KMJQ-FM to extend to them the same opportunity to appear on Sunday Morning Live as was given to the HERO opponents a few weeks ago.
Speaking of opportunities to tell our story, I’ll be part of a panel along with Christina Gorczynski, Daniel Williams and Noel Freeman on HMS TV Thursday discussing the HERO.
The struggle to keep the HERO continues.