Our Pledge to Anti-Racism

Bexar County Updates EEO Policy to be Fully Inclusive

Equality Texas praises the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court who today voted to amend their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy to fully protect and equally serve every employee or potential employee of the county. Bexar County becomes the third county in Texas, after Dallas & El Paso counties, to adopt a new policy protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Statement from Robert Salcido, Jr. | Statewide Field Coordinator for Equality Texas

Today, Bexar County proved they will treat everyone equally under the law by  providing equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, age, religion, political affiliation or beliefs, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any non-merit factor in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment.

Equality Texas applauds the action of the commissioner’s court today and urges all Texas employers to protect Texans from discrimination.  Every citizen of Bexar County deserves to be treated equally in the workplace and be judged on job performance not on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Currently too many LGBTQ people are discriminated against at work, in access to housing, at school, and even at the corner store because Texas law allows discrimination.  We look forward to the day that our civil rights laws protect everyone and we will fight every day to make that happen.

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Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working solely to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.

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Join Equality Texas in Celebrating #NationalVoterRegistrationDay!

September 26, 2017 by Robert Salcido

By Robert Salcido, Statewide Field Coordinator

robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org, @rob_salcido

Equality Texas is excited to once again be part of a national effort to strengthen our LGBTQ community by registering hundreds of voters on September 26, 2017, also known as National Voter Registration Day.

 

First started for the 2012 presidential election, National Voter Registration Day has become a 50-state holiday where thousands of organizations and volunteers organize to ensure our family, friends, and neighbors are registered to vote.

 

Why register in 2017, you may ask? Our answer: States, cities, counties and small towns have big elections this fall. Primaries for next year’s state and national elections are months away. As a nonpartisan equality coalition of organizations, National Voter Registration Day is the perfect opportunity to get involved no matter what party you support. Now more than ever the LGBTQ community must come together and elect officials that will advance fair and equal treatment for all.

 

Pledge to vote by letting us know if you are already registered or if you need more information on how to become registered. PLEDGE TO VOTE TODAY!  

 

Help us spread the word by using #NationalVoterRegistrationDay on social media to spread the word!

 

We’re really excited to be able to join hundreds of groups across America for this important national holiday. Thanks so much for your support!

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Strengthening Business Relationships Across Texas

June 23, 2017 by Robert Salcido

By Robert Salcido, Statewide Field Coordinator robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org, @rob_salcido

In the first six months of 2017, Texas Diversity Council convened their inaugural LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

Practitioners of diversity and inclusion or those in the corporate sector may very well know what the Texas Diversity Council (TDC) is all about. For those not in the know, it is an organization that advances diversity and inclusion by transforming workplaces and communities into inclusive environments.

Equality Texas CEO Chuck Smith, Chief Development Officer Collin Acock and Statewide Field Coordinator Robert Salcido at the Central Texas LGBT-Allies Summit with National Diversity Council CEO, Angeles Valenciano and guests.

TDC fosters an understanding of diversity and inclusion as a dynamic strategy for business success and community well being. Over the last few years, TDC has made strides to broaden the scope of their vision to include workplace issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Until this year it has consisted of breakout sessions at their other events, to include the Diversity & Leadership Conference, Healthcare Diversity Summit, Multicultural Leadership Roundtables and their Women in Leadership Symposium to name a few. It is exciting to see these breakout sessions transform into a summit dedicated to conversations surrounding LGBTQ workplace equality.     

Participating in these inaugural summits, Equality Texas has had the opportunity to build on our partnership with the council and effectively advance advocacy and education for equal treatment of gay and transgender Texans to corporate leaders from across the state. Some of these businesses are pledge signers of Texas Competes and believe that in order for Texas businesses to compete for top talent, we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for gay and transgender people.

Greater San Antonio LGBT-Allies Summit panelist Luis Vazquez, Robert Salcido, Kiran Bains and keynote speaker Jeff Arndt

While most Texas businesses are doing the right thing when it comes to equal treatment of their LGBTQ employees, partnerships like this allow Equality Texas to get in front of business leaders to discuss ways they can improve workplace policies, navigate the important task of implementation as well as discuss their external advocacy efforts.

Texas can avoid major competitive risks – and win investment, business, and talent – by sending a clear and consistent signal that the LGBTQ community is fully welcome here. This message matters to large and small businesses, to tourism and travel bookers, and to talented workers. Treating LGBTQ people fairly and welcoming them warmly costs nothing and would change our state’s brand for the better, while creating quantifiable, long-term economic benefits. That’s what we call a smart business decision.      

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Our History, Our Youth: Beyond Parades and Festivals

October 2, 2015 by Robert Salcido

By Robert Salcido, robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org@rob_salcidoDtx 2015

With annual Pride celebrations winding down across Texas , we have the opportunity not only to bask in the progress the movement has made over the decades but also an opportunity to share our history with our youth. How many of our young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer generations know the real  significance beyond the parades and festivals?

As a community, it is our responsibility to tell our stories and the stories of the pioneers that catapulted us to where we are today. Even before the Stonewall Riots happened in 1969, there were public demonstrations orchestrated by the Mattachine Society of Washington. Their very first event  took place in front of the White House in 1965, in response to the Cuban government putting gays and lesbians into concentration camps. Each year after that , on July fourth through 1969 the Society held annual demonstrations in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Picketing in front of the Liberty Bell, they used this as an opportunity to remind Americans that they were equal citizens, demanding equal treatment and equal opportunity.

This was the first time in history that there was an organized attempt to stand up for the community. Regulations for picketing included a dress code and code of conduct. The picketers assimilated to everyday Americans to show that they were just like everyone else. They were required to dress conservative and conventional. Men had to wear suits, white shirts, and ties. Women had to wear dresses and skirts. Messages on all signs,approved in advance, had to be neat and clearly written.

These passive demonstrations are said to have led directly to the Stonewall Riots. They created a mindset for gay people to demonstrate publicly and be out in the open. The landscape changed from the businessmen in suits, the retired folks and middle-class people to the young people and the youth of the 60’s. A definite, noticeable change on July 4, 1969, a cultural shift was in the air as word spread of the Stonewall Riots that happened days earlier in New York. Young picketers more liberally dressed ascended on to Independence Hall. Conservative and conventional attire was a thing of the past.  It was out with the old, in with the new. From then on, it was decided that a march in New York City would take place on June 28th, to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. This would later lead to the annual New York City Gay Pride parade.

Many young adults and teenagers are participating in celebrations at a younger age each year and many for the very first time. It is stories like these that we must instill in our youth so that they know the historical struggles of the LGBT movement. As a community, we must have these meaningful conversations. Doing so will create a sense of community for all of our youth and further promote civic engagement not only in our local communities but also in the American political process.

Robert Salcido is a regional field organizer for Equality Texas who lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Arm in Arm: Allies in Adversity

August 20, 2015 by Robert Salcido

By Robert Salcido, robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org@rob_salcido

As a person that recognizes inequalities in our society, it is hard not to view all aspects of life through a social justice lens. While this lens allows me to witness many instances of random acts of kindness and giving hearts, the reality is that there are days heavier than others with just the opposite.

Over the last week, the San Antonio Jewish community has experienced deplorable acts of hatred and an assault to their property. Two synagogues and as many as 30 homes have been vandalized with depictions of swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs. This has been a clear attempt to bring fear to a community that shows so much love. It is my experience that Jewish community members embrace the true meaning of community, love and acceptance.

Within the last few days, the Jewish community began a 40-day period of reflection and I find myself in my own period of reflection. I reflect on the struggles of the disenfranchised, marginalized and oppressed communities across Texas. As a queer Latino social justice activist, I see and hear of the harms experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. We must not overlook or ignore others that are facing their own types of bigotry because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability.

“The Jewish community and the LGBT community have shared the painful history of discrimination. The Nazis, the Klan, and other bigots from the ancient past through today have included both groups as targets of their hateful plans,” said Steve Rudner, Board Chair for Equality Texas. He went on to say, “The Jewish and LGBT communities have historically stood together as allies in the fight for equality, with both groups having had prominent representatives at the forefront of the battle for civil rights. In the recent struggle for marriage equality, the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism have been leading advocates, and both are welcome and accepting faith communities. And until the LGBT community has achieved full and complete equality in every way, it is critical that these communities continue to work together, stand up and speak for each other, and defend each other against hatred, racism, bigotry and intolerance in every form and wherever they appear.”

No matter what political, religious or personal beliefs someone holds, as Texans we have an obligation to treat everyone with respect and dignity, even when we have opposing views. The swastika, a symbol of hatred and violence, is offensive to the Jewish community and should be equally offensive to the entire city. The mere fact that this is happening should sadden and outrage everyone throughout San Antonio. When the foundation of being a diverse and inclusive city has been violated, we have all been violated.    

Robert Salcido, Jr., is a regional field organizer with Equality Texas and Board Chair for Pride Center San Antonio.

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LGBT, Diversity and Me: This is My Life

July 31, 2015 by Robert Salcido

By Robert Salcido, robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org, @rob_salcido

Diversity2

Since June 26, 2015 aka “Decision Day,” many people throughout the United States have heard the words, “What’s next?”

Whereas some see it as a shift in focus with the changing post-marriage equality landscape, Queer People of Color (QPoC) in South Texas [and beyond] see it as an opportunity to continue existing conversations. An opportunity to push forward with a vision of a Texas where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans and their families have full equality. As a queer-Latino activist these are a few areas that need more work:

  1.     Racial Justice

The realities of QPoC facing double oppression is real. Not only do they have to deal with racism based on the color of their skin, they also have to deal with phobias based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. It’s important to note that racism occurs within the LGBT community and not just from outside communities. As a result of one’s phobias and/or racism, the likelihood of assaults and violence committed against QPoC greatly increases, not to mention, discrimination in employment, housing, and education.

  1.     Immigration Justice

Estimates show that there are approximately 267,000 undocumented immigrants that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Undocumented QPoC are among the most vulnerable members in our society. A path to citizenship would end discrimination against binational same-sex couples, increase employment stabilization, fix income disparities, and spearhead accessibility to healthcare as well as greatly increase the educational opportunities available to queer-identified youth. We must not overlook our queer brothers and sisters that are detained and currently awaiting legal action. Lack of guard training, excessive lengths of time in confinement or lock down and lack of proper medical care are among the many issues faced while in detention, especially by trans women.

  1.     Economic Justice

The affluent image that’s painted with a life of luxuries, travel, nice cars and well-paying jobs has no basis of reality for most gay and transgender individuals and families. What this stereotype fails to represent is the higher rates of poverty faced by the gay and transgender community. Homelessness, employment, and housing discrimination, as well as low wages, are among the issues experienced. And given the racial issues this is even more rampant for QPoC.

These are just three examples of areas that need extensive work to bring about solutions and change. Fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws and ordinances that protect the LGBT community on a local, state and federal level are essential to combat many of these and other issues. In addition, increasing the conversation beyond our comfort zones is an absolute must.

One of these conversations is taking place Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th, at the first LGBTQ PoC centered conference in RGV. Aqui Estamos will focus on visibility, strategizing, and community. If you’re able to attend, please do so. Visit their website at aquiestamosrgv.org.

Robert Salcido is Field Organizer for Equality Texas who lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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