OPEN Among Other Minority Organizations Signs Amicus Brief (7.3.19)
"The U.S. Supreme Court has designated Oct. 8 as the date when it will hear arguments on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination, setting up a showdown for when LGBT rights in all areas of life will hang in the balance." - Washington Blade
"OPEN is proud to have signed on to an amicus brief to express our opinion to the United States Supreme Court on these cases. We believe that all individuals, not only locally but across the nation, deserve legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.
While Wisconsin's lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities have had legal protections under Wisconsin since 1982, our trans family has not been afforded these same protections under Wisconsin statute. It is our hope that all communities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella will be extended these protections nationally, and that we are all able to live our lives out and proud confidently." - Justin Williams, OPEN Board President
OPEN Board Changes After Terms (5.10.19)
Long term Board Member and Treasurer Alan McAfee has stepped down due to a promotion and other commitments. Board Member Chad Harnack was voted in as the treasurer. Denny Rosenthal stepped down and was replaced with Marshall Behringer as Membership Chair. Long term board secretary Bailey Lyons stepped down after her term and was replaced with Membership Committee Member Ilsa May.
OPEN Board Changes After Terms (3.15.19)
Board Presidents Brandon Rounds and Scott Zurfluh step down after 2 years of being co-presidents. Incoming president will be Justin Williams. Justin has many years of experience working with non-profits and sitting on other boards. Justin has been with the organization since 2012. He is very excited about the direction OPEN is headed in working with other minority organizations in Madison. Internal Committee Chair Kevin Polinsky is replaced with incoming Membership chair Denny Rosenthal.
For Immediate Release: 8/14/2018
Contact: Brandon Rounds email@example.com
Out Professional Engagement Network’s (OPEN) response to OutReach
LGBT Community Center’s Decision on Pride Parade
Madison— 8/14/2018 — We at the Out Professional Engagement Network (OPEN) believe it is important to respond to OutReach's decision to withdraw applications by local law enforcement to march in the Pride Parade. This decision has sparked a tremendous emotional reaction. Rather than fracture and divide our community, we hope to issue the challenge to rise to the occasion and begin the process of healing and reconciliation between the LGBTQ community and officers. As an organization, we have a responsibility to bring together representatives from throughout our communities with diverse perspectives to have a challenging yet meaningful dialogue to move us from a state of reaction to being proactive in making change.
We know that the LGBTQ community, especially our members who are queer and/or transgender people of color (QTPOC), are suffering harm and pain, and that their concerns have not been well-heard and addressed in the mainstream. Our goal as an advocacy organization is to break the cycle of marginalizing voices in our community. More importantly, when police misconduct occurs, it disproportionately targets the most marginalized people in our community. Given that reality, it is understandable that QTPOC and other members of our community are often fearful of law enforcement. When officers wear their official uniforms, that reaction is particularly powerful — even if the officers happen to be members of the LGBTQ and/or QTPOC communities. This problem is not just about the Pride Parade. It is about the relationship between law enforcement and our community.
We want to thank local law enforcement for their statements of acceptance regarding the parade decision and about their desire to further discussions in our community about the deeper issues involved. We are grateful for the support that our community receives from our law enforcement agencies, and we know that we can build more connections with them through these efforts.
As we mentioned at the Madison Police Department listening session on August 13th, OPEN feels it is imperative to bring all interested parties together to address this larger issue going forward, not just to reach a properly-informed consensus on how to handle law enforcement’s participation in the Pride Parade, but to find ongoing and substantive ways of building trust and better relationships between our communities and the police. With that goal in mind, OPEN will be facilitating community-based strategy sessions and similar forums to engage in deeper discussions to build these much-needed connections. We are asking EVERYONE to participate in this. We need you. ALL of you. This work cannot happen in the few days we have left before the Parade. It has been said, “Change moves at the speed of trust.” We are committed to the long-term work ahead of us.
Over the past several years, our Pride Parade has become a source of joy, love, and kinship. As such, we feel withdrawing support from OutReach or the Pride Parade is unproductive in furthering the goal of improving the relationship between our community and police officers. Our community deserves the joy of Pride, and the work that needs to be done will last long beyond this upcoming Pride Parade.
We need longer tables, not higher fences. We’re ready to get to work.
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