In the aftermath of President Trump’s decision to nix an Obama-era immigration program allowing young, undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States, Tony Choi doesn’t know his fate — but realizes one possibility is he’ll be deported to South Korea.
Speaking to the Washington Blade by phone while taking part in a rally just outside Trump Tower in New York City, Choi said he felt uncertainty since news reports emerged Trump would phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“I’ve had a few weeks to think about it, but for the first two weeks, I was incredibly stressed out that my life was swinging on a pendulum, and I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it,” Choi said. “I didn’t know what could happen.”
Choi, a gay 28-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea, came to the United States as a child in 1998 with his family as an undocumented immigrant. When former President Obama created DACA in 2012, Choi obtained documentation under the program.
A graduate of Berea College in Kentucky, Choi is one of an estimated 800,000 immigrants in DACA as well as 75,000 LGBT immigrants who are eligible for DACA, 36,000 of whom are enrolled. They’re known as DREAMers based on legislation known as the DREAM Act, which would grant them legal status.
Potential deportation to South Korea unless Trump reverses course or Congress passes an immigration bill allowing him to stay in the United States weighs heavily on Choi as well as thousands of other immigrants who face uncertainty about their future.
“It’s been 20 years since I’ve last set foot in Korea,” Choi said. “All my extended family is here in America or elsewhere. I don’t know what I would do. My language skills aren’t really up to par and I would have to serve in the Korean military because of mandatory conscription. It’s something that I really, really wish didn’t happen.”
Being gay in Korea would be no walk in the park for Choi. In addition to mandatory conscription, homosexual acts are barred and subject to punishment in the Korean military.
Choi said the stress of potential removal from his home in New York City, where he works as the social media manager for the American Asian and Pacific Islanders group called 18 Million Rising, has manifested itself physically. Among the ailments he cited were not being able to sleep more than four hours at a time, sinus trouble and stiffness in his neck.
“I felt like my body was falling apart, just like everything in my world was,” Choi said. “Everything that I had built in the past five years would be coming to an end.”
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would phase out DACA over a six-month period ending March 5. Although no new Employment Authorization Documents will be granted, DACA recipients with such authorization will be allowed to stay in the United States until that paperwork. After that, they lose their immigration status and their fate is unknown.
Trump explained his decision to rescind DACA — after making a campaign promise to cut back immigration on one hand, but telling recipients they can “rest easy” on the other — by making the dubious claim the program is unlawful. In fact, immigration law grants the executive branch authority for “establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities,” which includes deferred action on removals.
Negative consequences cited as a result of DACA by Trump were equally dubious. They included the humanitarian crisis under the Obama administration at the U.S.-Mexico border in which children from Central America were sent without their parents to the United States. Trump also suggested DACA contributed to the rise of the transnational crime gang MS-13, whose members are principally of Central American origin.
Trump made the decision on the day Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said would be the deadline before he’d amend a 2014 lawsuit pending before federal court to end DACA through litigation.
But Choi, citing calls from faith leaders, members of Congress — even Republicans — to maintain DACA, rejected the idea litigation was responsible for Trump’s decision and said the president capitulated instead because of internal pressure.
“We’re here, I think, because Trump is caving into the influences within his administration that are very anti-immigrant,” Choi said. “As you can see from people like Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, they are pretty heavily anti-immigrant within the administration, and they would like to see America shoot itself in its feet rather than letting us live with dignity.”
Amid discontent with the decision to roll back DACA (75 percent of the American public supports allowing recipients to stay, according to a Sept. 5 Morning Consult poll), Trump has said Congress should pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would fix immigration law in favor of young, undocumented immigrants who obtained status under the program.
Choi, whose work documentation expires in December 2018 is clinging to the hope of congressional action within the six-month period before DACA is eliminated — which is unlikely in a Republican-controlled Congress — to ensure he and other DREAMers can remain in the United States.
“We’re really going to have to pivot to Congress to really find ways to find a solution for us,” Choi said. “It’s like living on a ticking time bomb because the program is supposed to end in six months. And six months, that’s not a long time, and to expect the Congress to come up with something when the House and the Senate are being held by Republicans, it’s very difficult, but what else can we do? We came this far.”
On the same day he announced he’d end DACA, Trump said he’d “revisit” the issue if Congress doesn’t come forward with a legislative solution. It remains to be seen if Congress will produce a solution, and, if not, whether Trump will change his administrative decision.
One action Choi said isn’t available to him under immigration law — despite his presence in the United States for 20 years and education at a U.S. college — is applying for U.S. citizenship to eliminate the risk of deportation. The lack of the option, Choi said, is what keeps undocumented immigrants in that status.
“There is no line that we can stand on,” Choi said. “Immigration law is very complex, and frankly, very broken in terms of people who want to become U.S. citizens. So there is no line we can stand on. There is no application that we can just magically go out and get rid of our undocumented-ness. We’re not undocumented because it’s all fun and games; we’re undocumented because our circumstances drove us here.”
Among those participating in rallies throughout the country Tuesday as the Trump administration announced it would roll back DACA were LGBT immigrants covered under the program.
Sheridan Aguirre, a 23-year-old queer undocumented immigrant who’s covered under DACA and resides in Austin, Texas, took in the protest outside of the White House on the day Trump made the announcement.
“DACA means the world to me,” Aguirre said. “It’s allowed me to graduate from the University of Texas, it’s allowed me to be able to provide an income for me and my partner and so if it were to be taken away, it would really disrupt my life and the life of my family.”
Born in Iguala, Mexico, Aguirre came to the United States with his mother in 1996 as an undocumented immigrant at the age of 1. The two joined his father who was already in the country working as a migrant worker picking cotton. After Aguirre enrolled in school and took part in advanced placement classes, his family decided to stay.
“I have no memories of living in Mexico,” Aguirre said. “There’s nothing left for me in the place where I was born and especially now, particularly in Aguirre, Mexico. That’s the site of the murders of organizers and activists, the Ayotzinapa 43, and so since then, the city has changed dramatically, and if I were ever to be deported, I know it would not be safe for me to live authentically in my place of birth.”
Aguirre, an activist with United We Dream, said Trump’s decision to end DACA “is rooted in white supremacy” and part and parcel of the president’s actions against other minority groups, such as the travel ban on Muslim majority countries.
“It’s really about making sure that brown and black young people are not able to be a free part of the country where we call home,” Aguirre said. “It’s about putting us in danger of being incarcerated and being deported and having our families targeted.”
LGBT groups across the board have condemned Trump for eliminating DACA — calling it a betrayal of those who signed for up the program and are now at risk of deportation. As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern points out, the reversal of the U.S. government’s position on DACA eligibility is similar to Trump’s elimination of transgender military service, which imperiled transgender troops who came out after the Obama administration lifted the ban on transgender service last year.
Among the LGBT groups taking action is the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. On Tuesday, NQAPIA delivered to Trump 971 postcards from LGBT Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and allies in favor of preserving DACA.
“DACA was never a perfect program, but it was a step in the right direction,” NQAPIA Executive Director Glenn Magpantay said. “President Trump’s mean-spirited cancellation of DACA will force 800,000 people to live in even greater fear. Talented and hard-working DACA young people are the ones who are truly making America great. Again the president cuts back on the American dream and contributors to our economy.”
In the meantime, Aguirre said he’ll rely on ties to his community and family to get him through an uncertain time and a new immigration status.
“I really try to draw back on the fact that we’ve lived here for 20 years, and that’s not going to change,” Aguirre said. “I know that I have my community. I know that I have allies that are here with me to fight alongside me.”
Choi said he’ll try to keep pressure on Congress — and potentially encourage Trump to reverse course on DACA — as he remains with few options and the real risk of losing his home.
“We came this far,” Choi said. “A lot of us we built our livelihoods over the past five years, and it’s not just us. There are people who depend on us. Some of us have children, some of us have families that we support, so this is not a fight that we need to simply give up and go away. We really need to rally around and engage our members of Congress, really. We have the power to do this.”
Michael K. Lavers contributed to this report.
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Honoring the legacy of New Orleans’ 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire
Why the arson attack that killed 32 gay men still resonates 50 years later
On June 23 of last year, I held the microphone as a gay man in the New Orleans City Council Chamber and related a lost piece of queer history to the seven council members. I told this story to disabuse all New Orleanians of the notion that silence and accommodation, in the face of institutional and official failures, are a path to healing.
The story I related to them began on a typical Sunday night at a second-story bar on the fringe of New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1973, where working-class men would gather around a white baby grand piano and belt out the lyrics to a song that was the anthem of their hidden community, “United We Stand” by the Brotherhood of Man.
“United we stand,” the men would sing together, “divided we fall” — the words epitomizing the ethos of their beloved UpStairs Lounge bar, an egalitarian free space that served as a forerunner to today’s queer safe havens.
Around that piano in the 1970s Deep South, gays and lesbians, white and Black queens, Christians and non-Christians, and even early gender minorities could cast aside the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the times to find acceptance and companionship for a moment.
For regulars, the UpStairs Lounge was a miracle, a small pocket of acceptance in a broader world where their very identities were illegal.
On the Sunday night of June 24, 1973, their voices were silenced in a murderous act of arson that claimed 32 lives and still stands as the deadliest fire in New Orleans history — and the worst mass killing of gays in 20th century America.
As 13 fire companies struggled to douse the inferno, police refused to question the chief suspect, even though gay witnesses identified and brought the soot-covered man to officers idly standing by. This suspect, an internally conflicted gay-for-pay sex worker named Rodger Dale Nunez, had been ejected from the UpStairs Lounge screaming the word “burn” minutes before, but New Orleans police rebuffed the testimony of fire survivors on the street and allowed Nunez to disappear.
As the fire raged, police denigrated the deceased to reporters on the street: “Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”
For days afterward, the carnage met with official silence. With no local gay political leaders willing to step forward, national Gay Liberation-era figures like Rev. Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church flew in to “help our bereaved brothers and sisters” — and shatter officialdom’s code of silence.
Perry broke local taboos by holding a press conference as an openly gay man. “It’s high time that you people, in New Orleans, Louisiana, got the message and joined the rest of the Union,” Perry said.
Two days later, on June 26, 1973, as families hesitated to step forward to identify their kin in the morgue, UpStairs Lounge owner Phil Esteve stood in his badly charred bar, the air still foul with death. He rebuffed attempts by Perry to turn the fire into a call for visibility and progress for homosexuals.
“This fire had very little to do with the gay movement or with anything gay,” Esteve told a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I do not want my bar or this tragedy to be used to further any of their causes.”
Conspicuously, no photos of Esteve appeared in coverage of the UpStairs Lounge fire or its aftermath — and the bar owner also remained silent as he witnessed police looting the ashes of his business.
“Phil said the cash register, juke box, cigarette machine and some wallets had money removed,” recounted Esteve’s friend Bob McAnear, a former U.S. Customs officer. “Phil wouldn’t report it because, if he did, police would never allow him to operate a bar in New Orleans again.”
The next day, gay bar owners, incensed at declining gay bar traffic amid an atmosphere of anxiety, confronted Perry at a clandestine meeting. “How dare you hold your damn news conferences!” one business owner shouted.
Ignoring calls for gay self-censorship, Perry held a 250-person memorial for the fire victims the following Sunday, July 1, culminating in mourners defiantly marching out the front door of a French Quarter church into waiting news cameras. “Reverend Troy Perry awoke several sleeping giants, me being one of them,” recalled Charlene Schneider, a lesbian activist who walked out of that front door with Perry.
Esteve doubted the UpStairs Lounge story’s capacity to rouse gay political fervor. As the coroner buried four of his former patrons anonymously on the edge of town, Esteve quietly collected at least $25,000 in fire insurance proceeds. Less than a year later, he used the money to open another gay bar called the Post Office, where patrons of the UpStairs Lounge — some with visible burn scars — gathered but were discouraged from singing “United We Stand.”
New Orleans cops neglected to question the chief arson suspect and closed the investigation without answers in late August 1973. Gay elites in the city’s power structure began gaslighting the mourners who marched with Perry into the news cameras, casting suspicion on their memories and re-characterizing their moment of liberation as a stunt.
When a local gay journalist asked in April 1977, “Where are the gay activists in New Orleans?,” Esteve responded that there were none, because none were needed. “We don’t feel we’re discriminated against,” Esteve said. “New Orleans gays are different from gays anywhere else… Perhaps there is some correlation between the amount of gay activism in other cities and the degree of police harassment.”
An attitude of nihilism and disavowal descended upon the memory of the UpStairs Lounge victims, goaded by Esteve and fellow gay entrepreneurs who earned their keep via gay patrons drowning their sorrows each night instead of protesting the injustices that kept them drinking.
Into the 1980s, the story of the UpStairs Lounge all but vanished from conversation — with the exception of a few sanctuaries for gay political debate such as the local lesbian bar Charlene’s, run by the activist Charlene Schneider.
By 1988, the 15th anniversary of the fire, the UpStairs Lounge narrative comprised little more than a call for better fire codes and indoor sprinklers. UpStairs Lounge survivor Stewart Butler summed it up: “A tragedy that, as far as I know, no good came of.”
Finally, in 1991, at Stewart Butler and Charlene Schneider’s nudging, the UpStairs Lounge story became aligned with the crusade of liberated gays and lesbians seeking equal rights in Louisiana. The halls of power responded with intermittent progress. The New Orleans City Council, horrified by the story but not yet ready to take its look in the mirror, enacted an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and public accommodations that Dec. 12 — more than 18 years after the fire.
“I believe the fire was the catalyst for the anger to bring us all to the table,” Schneider told The Times-Picayune, a tacit rebuke to Esteve’s strategy of silent accommodation. Even Esteve seemed to change his stance with time, granting a full interview with the first UpStairs Lounge scholar Johnny Townsend sometime around 1989.
Most of the figures in this historic tale are now deceased. What’s left is an enduring story that refused to go gently. The story now echoes around the world — a musical about the UpStairs Lounge fire recently played in Tokyo, translating the gay underworld of the 1973 French Quarter for Japanese audiences.
When I finished my presentation to the City Council last June, I looked up to see the seven council members in tears. Unanimously, they approved a resolution acknowledging the historic failures of city leaders in the wake of the UpStairs Lounge fire.
Council members personally apologized to UpStairs Lounge families and survivors seated in the chamber in a symbolic act that, though it could not bring back those who died, still mattered greatly to those whose pain had been denied, leaving them to grieve alone. At long last, official silence and indifference gave way to heartfelt words of healing.
The way Americans remember the past is an active, ongoing process. Our collective memory is malleable, but it matters because it speaks volumes about our maturity as a people, how we acknowledge the past’s influence in our lives, and how it shapes the examples we set for our youth. Do we grapple with difficult truths, or do we duck accountability by defaulting to nostalgia and bluster? Or worse, do we simply ignore the past until it fades into a black hole of ignorance and indifference?
I believe that a factual retelling of the UpStairs Lounge tragedy — and how, 50 years onward, it became known internationally — resonates beyond our current divides. It reminds queer and non-queer Americans that ignoring the past holds back the present, and that silence is no cure for what ails a participatory nation.
Silence isolates. Silence gaslights and shrouds. It preserves the power structures that scapegoat the disempowered.
Solidarity, on the other hand, unites. Solidarity illuminates a path forward together. Above all, solidarity transforms the downtrodden into a resounding chorus of citizens — in the spirit of voices who once gathered ‘round a white baby grand piano and sang, joyfully and loudly, “United We Stand.”
Robert W. Fieseler is a New Orleans-based journalist and the author of “Tinderbox: the Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.”
New Supreme Court term includes critical LGBTQ case with ‘terrifying’ consequences
Business owner seeks to decline services for same-sex weddings
The U.S. Supreme Court, after a decision overturning Roe v. Wade that still leaves many reeling, is starting a new term with justices slated to revisit the issue of LGBTQ rights.
In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court will return to the issue of whether or not providers of custom-made goods can refuse service to LGBTQ customers on First Amendment grounds. In this case, the business owner is Lorie Smith, a website designer in Colorado who wants to opt out of providing her graphic design services for same-sex weddings despite the civil rights law in her state.
Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade, “it’s not too much to say an immeasurably huge amount is at stake” for LGBTQ people depending on the outcome of the case.
“This contrived idea that making custom goods, or offering a custom service, somehow tacitly conveys an endorsement of the person — if that were to be accepted, that would be a profound change in the law,” Pizer said. “And the stakes are very high because there are no practical, obvious, principled ways to limit that kind of an exception, and if the law isn’t clear in this regard, then the people who are at risk of experiencing discrimination have no security, no effective protection by having a non-discrimination laws, because at any moment, as one makes their way through the commercial marketplace, you don’t know whether a particular business person is going to refuse to serve you.”
The upcoming arguments and decision in the 303 Creative case mark a return to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court, which had no lawsuit to directly address the issue in its previous term, although many argued the Dobbs decision put LGBTQ rights in peril and threatened access to abortion for LGBTQ people.
And yet, the 303 Creative case is similar to other cases the Supreme Court has previously heard on the providers of services seeking the right to deny services based on First Amendment grounds, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In both of those cases, however, the court issued narrow rulings on the facts of litigation, declining to issue sweeping rulings either upholding non-discrimination principles or First Amendment exemptions.
Pizer, who signed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs in opposition to 303 Creative, said the case is “similar in the goals” of the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation on the basis they both seek exemptions to the same non-discrimination law that governs their business, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, and seek “to further the social and political argument that they should be free to refuse same-sex couples or LGBTQ people in particular.”
“So there’s the legal goal, and it connects to the social and political goals and in that sense, it’s the same as Masterpiece,” Pizer said. “And so there are multiple problems with it again, as a legal matter, but also as a social matter, because as with the religion argument, it flows from the idea that having something to do with us is endorsing us.”
One difference: the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation stemmed from an act of refusal of service after owner, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple for their upcoming wedding. No act of discrimination in the past, however, is present in the 303 Creative case. The owner seeks to put on her website a disclaimer she won’t provide services for same-sex weddings, signaling an intent to discriminate against same-sex couples rather than having done so.
As such, expect issues of standing — whether or not either party is personally aggrieved and able bring to a lawsuit — to be hashed out in arguments as well as whether the litigation is ripe for review as justices consider the case. It’s not hard to see U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sought to lead the court to reach less sweeping decisions (sometimes successfully, and sometimes in the Dobbs case not successfully) to push for a decision along these lines.
Another key difference: The 303 Creative case hinges on the argument of freedom of speech as opposed to the two-fold argument of freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise in the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation. Although 303 Creative requested in its petition to the Supreme Court review of both issues of speech and religion, justices elected only to take up the issue of free speech in granting a writ of certiorari (or agreement to take up a case). Justices also declined to accept another question in the petition request of review of the 1990 precedent in Smith v. Employment Division, which concluded states can enforce neutral generally applicable laws on citizens with religious objections without violating the First Amendment.
Representing 303 Creative in the lawsuit is Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has sought to undermine civil rights laws for LGBTQ people with litigation seeking exemptions based on the First Amendment, such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
Kristen Waggoner, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a Sept. 12 legal brief signed by her and other attorneys that a decision in favor of 303 Creative boils down to a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.
“Colorado and the United States still contend that CADA only regulates sales transactions,” the brief says. “But their cases do not apply because they involve non-expressive activities: selling BBQ, firing employees, restricting school attendance, limiting club memberships, and providing room access. Colorado’s own cases agree that the government may not use public-accommodation laws to affect a commercial actor’s speech.”
Pizer, however, pushed back strongly on the idea a decision in favor of 303 Creative would be as focused as Alliance Defending Freedom purports it would be, arguing it could open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“One way to put it is art tends to be in the eye of the beholder,” Pizer said. “Is something of a craft, or is it art? I feel like I’m channeling Lily Tomlin. Remember ‘soup and art’? We have had an understanding that whether something is beautiful or not is not the determining factor about whether something is protected as artistic expression. There’s a legal test that recognizes if this is speech, whose speech is it, whose message is it? Would anyone who was hearing the speech or seeing the message understand it to be the message of the customer or of the merchants or craftsmen or business person?”
Despite the implications in the case for LGBTQ rights, 303 Creative may have supporters among LGBTQ people who consider themselves proponents of free speech.
One joint friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, written by Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who’s written in favor of LGBTQ rights, and Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues the case is an opportunity to affirm the First Amendment applies to goods and services that are uniquely expressive.
“Distinguishing expressive from non-expressive products in some contexts might be hard, but the Tenth Circuit agreed that Smith’s product does not present a hard case,” the brief says. “Yet that court (and Colorado) declined to recognize any exemption for products constituting speech. The Tenth Circuit has effectively recognized a state interest in subjecting the creation of speech itself to antidiscrimination laws.”
Oral arguments in the case aren’t yet set, but may be announced soon. Set to defend the state of Colorado and enforcement of its non-discrimination law in the case is Colorado Solicitor General Eric Reuel Olson. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would grant the request to the U.S. solicitor general to present arguments before the justices on behalf of the Biden administration.
With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has recently scrapped the super-precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, supporters of LGBTQ rights may think the outcome of the case is all but lost, especially amid widespread fears same-sex marriage would be next on the chopping block. After the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 303 Creative in the lawsuit, the simple action by the Supreme Court to grant review in the lawsuit suggests they are primed to issue a reversal and rule in favor of the company.
Pizer, acknowledging the call to action issued by LGBTQ groups in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, conceded the current Supreme Court issuing the ruling in this case is “a terrifying prospect,” but cautioned the issue isn’t so much the makeup of the court but whether or not justices will continue down the path of abolishing case law.
“I think the question that we’re facing with respect to all of the cases or at least many of the cases that are in front of the court right now, is whether this court is going to continue on this radical sort of wrecking ball to the edifice of settled law and seemingly a goal of setting up whole new structures of what our basic legal principles are going to be. Are we going to have another term of that?” Pizer said. “And if so, that’s terrifying.”
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman, named president of Human Rights Campaign
Progressive activist a veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman and veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, is to become the next president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group announced on Tuesday.
Robinson is set to become the ninth president of the Human Rights Campaign after having served as executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and more than 12 years of experience as a leader in the progressive movement. She’ll be the first Black, queer woman to serve in that role.
“I’m honored and ready to lead HRC — and our more than three million member-advocates — as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people,” Robinson said. “This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people. We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.”
The next Human Rights Campaign president is named as Democrats are performing well in polls in the mid-term elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving an opening for the LGBTQ group to play a key role amid fears LGBTQ rights are next on the chopping block.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy,” Robinson said. “We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions — and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward.”
The Human Rights Campaign announces its next president after a nearly year-long search process after the board of directors terminated its former president Alphonso David when he was ensnared in the sexual misconduct scandal that led former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. David has denied wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the LGBTQ group alleging racial discrimination.
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