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ABB Attorneys: Dilini Lankachandra, Carl S. Charles, And Jared Make
ABB Attorneys: Dilini Lankachandra, Carl S. Charles, and Jared Make

Celebrating Victories, Energizing for the Road Ahead: Equality Federation Leadership Conference 2018

A Better Balance was thrilled to attend the Equality Federation’s annual Leadership Conference last week where state and national LGBTQ leaders met to celebrate policy wins across the country, strategize about upcoming challenges, and simply enjoy the company of fellow LGBTQ and social justice advocates in one of the greatest cities in the world: New Orleans!

One of the many high points at the conference was hearing about the incredible cross-movement work happening at the local level, even in the face of state interference. LGBTQ advocates in Pennsylvania, for example, are standing strong with their allies against a bill that would roll back Philadelphia’s paid sick leave law and prohibit any local labor laws. This despite efforts by the state legislature to silo movements by inaccurately claiming that the bill would not actually affect nondiscrimination ordinances.  Solidarity across movements for justice reflects an understanding not only that economic justice is an LGBTQ issue, but that efforts to diminish a community’s power to protect its residents—against inequitable business practices, discrimination, deportation, and more—affect all movements.

To help state advocates facing similar roadblocks to local progress and LGBTQ equality, A Better Balance—along with Katie Belanger from the Local Solutions Support Center, Chris Sanders from the Tennessee Equality Project, and Franco Ripple with the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions—presented a workshop on how to communicate about state and federal efforts to block local policymaking.

ABB also had the chance to celebrate another important policy win with our friends at the Equality Federation: namely, the growing number of paid leave laws that allow workers to take time off to care for their chosen family. There is an increasing understanding that paid leave policies work best when they are inclusive and reflect the realities of modern families. Entitling workers to use time off to care for their loved ones—even when they may not share a biological or legal relationship—is an important step in making paid leave work for everyone, including LGBTQ communities.

As easy as it is to feel distressed by efforts at the federal level—and in many states—to undermine LGBTQ rights, the Equality Federation’s Leadership Conference was an opportunity to celebrate the many victories our partners across the country have won and reaffirm our support for all of their upcoming work. A Better Balance remains committed to protecting local democracy, affirming the value of chosen family, and improving the lives of workers across the country with our state and national partners.