Connect with us

Local

BREAKING: Non-discrimination bill passes in Va. Senate

Lawmakers approved SB 701 by 24-16 vote margin

Published

on

Adam Ebbin, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin is a Senate Bill 701 co-sponsor (Photo courtesy of Adam Ebbin)

The Virginia Senate on Friday approved a bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination against state employees.

The 24-16 vote came four days after the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee narrowly approved Senate Bill 701.

“No state employee should ever doubt Virginia’s commitment to equal opportunity employment for all,”gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria,) who co-sponsored SB 701 with Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico,) said as he spoke in support of the measure on the Senate floor. “This bill assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia.”

State Sens. Jill Hotzman Vogel (R-Fauquier,) John Watkins (R-Powhatan,) Thomas Norment (R-Williamsburg) and Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) are the four GOP legislators who voted for SB 701. Democratic Sens. Kenneth Alexander, George Barker, R. Creigh Deeds, John Edwards, Barbara Favola, Mark Herring, Janet Howell, Mamie Locke, David Marsden, Henry L. Marsh III, John Miller, Ralph Northam, Phillip Puckett, Linda Puller, Richard Saslaw, Charles Colgan, Chap Petersen, and Louise Lucas also backed the measure alongside Ebbin and McEachin.

“In Virginia, LGBT protections will not pass without bi-partisan support,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said. “We are pleased that four Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in passing SB701 to protect LGBT state employees. In the private sector, workplace protections are shown to decrease legal vulnerability while enhancing the employer’s reputation, increasing job satisfaction and boosting employee morale and productivity.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who in 2005 signed an executive order as governor that banned anti-gay discrimination against state employees, also applauded the state Senate for approving SB 701.

“I was proud to be the first Virginia governor to protect gay workers at state agencies from discrimination in hiring and promotions. I viewed it as a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining top talent across state government,” he said in a statement. “Today, the principals of equal opportunity and fairness represent official policy for virtually every major employer in Virginia and across the country. I am very, very pleased today to see the Virginia Senate approve this commonsense protection for Virginia’s LGBT workers, making equal opportunity for state and local government employees a permanent part of the Code of Virginia so that it does not have to be renewed every four years through an executive order.”

In spite of the Senate’s approval of SB 710, the measure faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.

Parrish told the Blade last year that its chances of passing in the chamber this year remain “very slim.”

“Making sure elected official hear LGBT issues are important to all Virginians is the most important thing any citizen can do to open hearts and minds across the state,” he said in reference to Equality Virginia’s annual Lobby Day that will take place in Richmond on Tuesday. “We’re very fortunate the Senators that voted in support today are listening to their constituents.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Local

HME Consulting and Advocacy stands on frontline of LGBTQ policy

Heidi Ellis is a consultant who doesn’t take clients ‘not aligned with my mission’

Published

on

‘Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,’ says Heidi Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Ellis)

September is here, which means Congress and the D.C. Council return from their August recess and life for consultant Heidi Ellis quickly gets busy. 

Her days are filled with negotiating with Council members, phone calls with clients, and policy planning for advocacy groups. The organizations she represents are looking to her to help them push policy and she hopes to guide them to victory. 

Ellis’s company, HME Consulting and Advocacy, came after years of working in the public and private sectors as a consultant. In 2019, Ellis decided to shift her focus to work that stood at the center of the intersections in which she lives. She sought to figure out how she could better serve her community as a Black queer Latino woman. Ellis recognized that there was a niche for mission-driven consulting in the District. 

“I was sought out and recruited by a lot of organizations that wanted me and I took a beat, because I was like ‘Do I want to go back into a machine where even if I do effect change, I have to answer to someone?’”she said, in reference to consulting agencies that were in pursuit of her talent. Ultimately, she decided against continuing her work under another company. “By doing what I do, I have much more flexibility for one to say ‘Yes’ but also to say ‘No’.”

Although Ellis has considered going back to working in the corporate space, she still loves the flexibility of being able to be nimble as a private consultant. 

Although Ellis doesn’t work entirely in the advocacy space, her consulting clients still align with her personal values. She joked that she differs strongly from the stereotypical money-driven D.C. consultant who sports Brooks Brothers suits on K Street. 

“Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,” she said. “I don’t take any clients that are not aligned with my mission.”

Her mission is simple, Ellis is “committed to elevating issues that sit at the nexus of education, mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color.”

“The more marginalized you are, the more you suffer from the failures of policy and the gaps of service,” she said. 

As a consultant in the advocacy space, Ellis does the behind-the-scenes work for organizations to help correct these policy failures and close the gaps. Whether she is facilitating training for companies to better understand how to serve their LGBTQ communities, or she is on the frontline of education policy changes –– Ellis aims to only do work that she is passionate about.

She said that the balance of her combined passion and level-headedness help her to build trusting relationships with her clients and in the end, “Get stuff  done.”

Since starting her organization, some of her proudest work has been done with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition. The coalition is made up of more than 30 organizations that aim to advocate for investments and policy changes that affect LGBTQ lives. As a leader of this coalition, her services include policy support, facilitation, training, initiative development and organizational redesign. Since she began leading the coalition, they have raised more than $5 million of investments in LGBTQ programs.

Later this fall, she will work with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition along with the ANC Rainbow Caucus to convene the first LGBTQ+ Housing Summit from Nov. 29-30.

“The one thing we all recognize is that housing is the common denominator of every other social affliction facing LGBTQ communities,” she said.  

At the summit they will focus on the barriers within the current housing system and explore revitalized approaches to dealing with the current housing market. To pre-register for the event, visit the LGBTQ+ Housing Summit website.

Continue Reading

Local

Comings & Goings

Former D.C. resident opens art gallery in San Francisco

Published

on

Jonathan Carver Moore

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success.

Congratulations to Jonathan Carver Moore on opening his contemporary art gallery in San Francisco. The gallery specializes in working with emerging and established artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women. As the only openly gay Black male-owned gallery in San Francisco, Moore is committed to amplifying the voices of the often-underrepresented artists through a Black queer lens. He said, “I want the gallery to be a place where the LGBTQ+ community and people of color walk inside and see themselves knowing that they belong. I want us to be able to collect work from and support underrepresented artists who are often overlooked, but add some much value to our culture.”

Moore is also the founder of ARTUCATED, a digital journal that helps share, spotlight, and educate people about marginalized artists. Previously he was director of Donor Relations, Partnerships & Programming Director with the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco. He was Communications Manager, Rosenberg Foundation; and Associate Director of Public Relations, Out & Equal, San Francisco Bay Area. 

Moore earned his bachelor’s in Sociology, Women’s Studies, from George Washington University in D.C.; and his master’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications, also from George Washington University.

Congratulations also to Jim Bobick on having his paintings included in a permanent collection by Saks Fifth Avenue. He said, “I am thrilled Saks Fifth Avenue chose my art for its permanent collection. I have long been a customer of the store and an admirer of the fashion designers represented there. I am especially pleased to know my work is on public view in the Chevy Chase, Maryland store. Not only did I grow up in the area, for part of my education I attended art school nearby, where I had the good fortune of studying under the notable painter Allen Dester Carter of Washington, D.C., whose work is in the Smithsonian collection. My ties to the Washington area art scene and my love of Saks makes this professional moment especially important to me. I am grateful and honored the store chose my paintings for their collection.” 

He has had numerous exhibitions of his work, including: Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (solo); Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Fla. (group); Studio B “Delicacies” Washington, D.C. (group); Columbia Art Center “Abstract Paintings” (solo); and Gallery 50 “Freestyle” (solo) Rehoboth Beach, Del. He has been written about in several publications including Michael Mills, Jim Bobick Creates Landscapes of the Mind at Gallery 101, New Times; Arterpillar South Florida Arts Blog; Stefan Braham, Eclectic Expressions, Coastal Style Magazine; Artist Looks Beyond the Temporal Beauty, Coast Press.

He earned his bachelor’s in Visual Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, Fine Art; and attended the Maryland College of Art and Design. 

Jim Bobick
Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment

2023 Best of LGBTQ DC Readers’ Choice Award Finalist Voting

Vote for your favorite finalists through October 2nd!

Published

on

It is time to celebrate the best of LGBTQ+ DC! You nominated and now we have our finalists. Vote for your favorites in our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 2nd. Our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ DC Awards Party on October 19th and our special issue will come out on Friday, October 20th.

Thank you to our sponsors: ABSOLUT, Heineken, PEPCO, Shakers, Infinite Legacy.

VOTE BELOW OR BY CLICKING HERE!

ARE YOU A BEST OF FINALIST? DOWNLOAD ASSETS HERE!

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular