Friends, Family & Learning Partners...My Family Really Needs a Favor
By Paul Bloomberg, CEO of The Core Collaborative
I am writing this post with a very heavy heart, but I am filled with hope and am feeling energized because of the high quality relationships my husband Tony and I have cultivated personally and professionally over the course of our lives. We realized that our professional learning network, The Core Collaborative, supports over 3,000 schools globally that are filled with humans who are experts in unconditional love. For this reason, we are humbly asking for a favor.
Discriminatory Legislation is Sweeping Across America
California just banned all state-funded travel to Ohio as a show of support for LGBTQ+ citizens. Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, signed a state budget that included language allowing health care workers, hospitals, and health insurance companies to refuse to provide or pay for medical services on the basis of moral, ethical, or religious objection. This new action means that Ohio has enshrined the discrimination of LGBTQ+ into law; it is now legal to openly discriminate against American citizens in the the state of Ohio. This law literally threatens the medical well-being of more than 380,000 LGBTQ+ people in Ohio, one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations anywhere in the country.
Despite increasing awareness of and respect for the inherent dignity of our LGBTQ+ community, there has been a recent dangerous wave of discriminatory new legislation signed into law in states across the country that directly works to roll back hard-won anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community. Unequal treatment under the law can prevent LGBTQ+ Americans from being able to fully participate in American life. The Equality Maps, from Movement Advancement Project, give details on LBGTQ+ discriminatory practices in each state.
Our Personal Impact
Tony and I can speak to this problem personally. Over the course of our lives we have been bullied, physically hurt, and verbally and emotionally abused. We experienced these forms of hate daily when we were growing up. We both experienced this kind of hate in our churches, in the Boy Scouts, during our undergraduate studies, and while working towards advanced degrees. We both felt like our country was finally moving in a positive direction, but over the past five years, I have been turned down for jobs in some districts because I am an openly gay man. Recently, our company was denied a district contract because The Core Collaborative is a gay-owned company. Some leaders in the district were concerned that Tony and I would convert their students to being gay.
One Solution We Can All Agree On
Tony and I truly believe that we (whoever is reading this) can actually agree about our shared moral purpose because we are all members of our human family. We honor the dignity inherent in ourselves and in each other because we are grounded and connected through our “shared” humanity - our human family. Dignity is the recognition that human beings possess a special value intrinsic to their humanity and, as such, are worthy of respect simply because they are human beings. Tony and I believe deeply in our shared humanity and truly believe that the majority of Americans believe in the concept of dignity and the moral imperative that is needed to honor our own and each other’s dignity.
Our Dignity Awakening
Tony and I both learned about the concept and concrete actions of “honoring our collective dignity” when we “came out of the closet” during the AIDS epidemic. During the early 80s, and to this day, humans with HIV-AIDS were not treated with dignity. HIV stigma is rooted in a fear of HIV. Many of our ideas about HIV come from the HIV images that first appeared in the early 1980s. The lack of information and awareness combined with outdated beliefs lead people to fear getting HIV and to fear people living with HIV. Additionally, many people think of HIV as a disease that only certain groups get. Humans living with HIV are still labeled, otherized, and live in fear of being “found out.” Many receive inadequate or no healthcare as a result of fear. Tony and I both remember how fearful people were of our friends living with HIV-AIDS; people wouldn’t even hold their hands.
Five years ago, the concept and actions of “honoring dignity” were amplified and woven into our lives once again. Our friends authored and published a groundbreaking new book through Mimi & Todd Press, Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity. Prior to the book’s publication, we learned about their inspiration, the work of Dr. Donna Hicks, from Harvard University. She has dedicated her research, writing, and life’s work to dignity restoration.
Transforming Feelings to Collective Action
I wish I could say that Tony and I were shocked when our contract was rejected because the school district was afraid we would try to convert their children. We both felt angry, otherized, devalued, hurt, disappointed and sad. After talking to our friends and family, we came up with an idea that would turn our feelings of despair into positive collective action, to regain the civil rights that all humans need to lead productive, prosperous lives. We determined an actionable strategy to, “make some noise and get into good trouble, necessary trouble” by organizing our friends, family and learning network to bring awareness, support and collective action to the Equality Act.
The Equality Act would add new comprehensive and explicit protections to federal civil rights law for many communities that reside in the United States: women, people of color, immigrants, people of faith, and LGBTQ+ people. The Equality Act would update existing civil rights law by:
Filling critical gaps in non-discrimination protections in public places.
Protecting against sex discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs.
Adding explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
Congress has the opportunity to recommit our country and elected officials in securing fairness and equality for all by passing the Equality Act. The following resources from the Movement Advancement Group will support you and your network to bring awareness and deepen your understanding of the problem state by state and, more importantly, provide you and your network with concrete actions to solve the problem collectively.
Transforming Love for Our Human Family to Action
Let’s do everything in our personal power to honor the dignity of our shared humanity by bringing awareness and active support to the Equality Act. If we work together, we can make a positive IMPACT for the present and future generations of Americans, immigrants and for people seeking refuge.
We are humbly asking you to transform your love for humanity, a friend, a family member, a work colleague, democracy and/or civil rights into collective action. We rarely ask for favors, but our human family needs your help by actively supporting the Equality Act, The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act.
Track the H.R. 5: Equality Act
Although there are 224 cosponsors of the bill and it passed the House on February 25, 2021, we only have a 3% chance of it being enacted according to Skopos Labs. You can track the progress of the Equality Act as it progresses through the House and Senate from GovTrack. The House already passed the bill. You can call or write your senators from this webpage and Tweet or share on Facebook. We need you to ACT as soon as possible.
Seven Ways to Take Collective Action
Share this post with all your friends, colleagues and PLN on social media and email, to bring awareness to the Equality Act
Write a blog or create a vlog about why you support the Equality Act. Describe concrete actions for honoring the dignity of all humans including yourself. Please send your work to our Director of Mimi & Todd Press, Kristin Laing.
This link is from Keshet, a Jewish organization devoted to envisioning a world in which all LGBTQ+ Jews and their families can live with full equality, justice, and dignity. It provides an easy method to contact your senators.
Here is a link for Spanish resources to actively support the Equality Act from the MAP Project.
Talk to your family and friends about your personal reasons for supporting the Equality Act. Share this blog with them.
With love, dignity and respect,
Dr. Paul Bloomberg
CEO, Author & Co-Founder
Core Collaborative Learning
Husband, Parent, Son, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, and Friend
CFO, Designer and Co-Founder
Core Collaborative Learning
Husband, Parent, Son, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, and Friend
Let’s truly live up to our country’s name, “The UNITED States of America.”