A New Chapter

December 3, 2012 By John O'Connor

john o'connor, eqca executive directorIt is with tremendous enthusiasm that I begin my tenure as the new executive director of Equality California today! This organization has a legacy that is nothing short of extraordinary and I consider it an enormous honor to be leading EQCA forward.

For over a decade, EQCA has worked tirelessly to make California a state with some of the most comprehensive legal protections in the nation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Building on EQCA’s legacy of accomplishment, I intend to move the organization forward as the statewide voice on LGBT equality.

While we’ve achieved much already, there is still so much more at stake. We must protect our achievements by continuing to build our political power. Advocacy on healthcare disparities and a strong voice in the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act is critical. Youth, transgender people and seniors continue to experience harsh discrimination and we must work for equality on their behalf. And we must continue to ensure that the laws we pass are fully implemented and enforced.

Outside the arena of legislation, we must continue to win people’s hearts and minds in communities throughout the entire state. We can legislate until we are blue in the face, but until people truly embrace us in all our diversity, we will not achieve full equality. So, together, we will continue this work, because we stand for full equality and nothing less. 

This has been a year of great challenges and great successes for EQCA. The amazing, dedicated staff here has continued its work with excellent results. In 2012, Equality California:

  • Sponsored seven pieces of legislation to protect LGBT people, including an audit of safe schools laws. All seven pieces were passed and signed by the Governor;
  • Endorsed and helped to elect over 50 pro-equality legislators based on our criteria of a 100% pro-equality platform;
  • Conducted vigorous outreach to voters and the public through our field operations in San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles and The Breakthrough Conversation project, effectively reaching into communities throughout the state with information on the Fair Education Act, marriage equality and promoting action on legislation.
  • Finally, in the midst of all our current work, the fate of Hollingsworth v. Perry, better known as the Prop 8 case, remains unresolved as we continue to wait for news from the Supreme Court. Of course, we are watching the situation very closely and will immediately send out news to all of you the moment we receive word.

Thank you so much for your support of EQCA. I look forward to accomplishing great things together.

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