HOPE Fund Provides New Grant to Equality Michigan

BY BTL STAFF

DETROIT - Equality Michigan is proud to announce the award of a new grant from the HOPE Fund of the Community Foundation of southeast Michigan to invest in the diversity and strength of the movement for LGBT equality in the state. The additional funding will enable EQMI to educate, engage, and mobilize the groundswell of support among key communities who share a commitment to equality under the law.

"Now more than ever, people everywhere are expressing the need to reaffirm our shared values of diversity and inclusion and to see those values reflected in our public life," said Stephanie White, executive director of EQMI. "This support from the HOPE Fund will allow us to commit time and expertise towards supporting this community engagement that it deserves."

The new funding makes it possible for the organization to add another staff person to shepherd the project, among others. Beginning with three key constituencies of transgender people, people of color, and businesses in southeast Michigan, EQMI will launch focused efforts to identify leaders and strengthen their engagement with one another and with this work. Over the next year, the fight for LGBT rights will benefit from the infusion of stronger and more diverse voices who can resist any potential repeal of current rights and propel the fight for equality forward.

"When we fail to protect or advance our rights, it's often because our movement is fractured and when the full spectrum of our community is at the table, we win," White continued. "We've chosen to focus our initial work on these three constituencies, because we know that each one is essential to advancing LGBT equality in Michigan. Business leaders are increasingly leading the call for legislative action on nondiscrimination protections, while those of us who are transgender and/or people of color are all too often left out of these conversations, despite the fact that these are the very members of our community who are disproportionately impacted by anti-LGBT bias and discrimination in our state."

The HOPE Fund Grant was one of three new foundation investments in EQMI last year, fueling the expanded community outreach, policy engagement, and greater capacity for victim services.

Equality Michigan and Equality Michigan Action Network is a statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization working for Michigan's LGBT communities. For more information, visit 19641 W. Seven Mile Road in Detroit or www.equalitymi.org.
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