July 17, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
LGBT group plans ‘Situation Room’ to discuss ENDA
Tico Almeida, executive director of Freedom to work, is planning an ENDA "situation room" (Blade file photo by Michael Key).

Tico Almeida, executive director of Freedom to work, is planning an ENDA ‘situation room.’ (Blade file photo by Michael Key).

An LGBT group working to fight LGBT workplace discrimination is making plans for public “situation room” meetings to discuss ways to ensure the Employment Non-Discrimination Act becomes law.

Freedom to Work is planning the first “situation room” meetings in September and intends to invite executive directors of other LGBT groups to attend — as well as members of the media — to discuss work on ENDA.

Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said his organization plans to rent the venue and hold a live webcast so the public can watch online and ask questions via Twitter.

“The purpose is to give national LGBT leaders an on-the-record venue to report on their great ENDA research and advocacy efforts, and so that we can all discuss strategy for momentum-building together in the same room,” Almeida said. “We’re hoping every participant might start with a short presentation of their organization’s ENDA work.”

Among the LGBT leaders with whom Almeida said he’s spoken about attending is Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute. Invites are are also to go out to the Movement Advancement Project, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality as well as to leaders like Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Chad Griffin, Heather Cronk and Kevin Cathcart.

Almeida called attendance from the American Unity Fund and Log Cabin Republicans “crucial” because of the need for Republican support in passing ENDA in the House.

“We’re envisioning a series of transparent, momentum-building meetings where national LGBT leaders can share with each other and the public what we’re all doing to get ENDA finally passed this year,” Almeida said.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, called the idea of a “situation room” a “fantastic” way to ensure ENDA passes the Senate.

“I’m sure there will be many efforts in order to ensure a successful Senate vote,” Cole-Schwartz said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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