Discrimination mars recent Pride Weekend event

To the Editor:

On Saturday, June 23, Cleveland celebrated Pride Weekend. This event is held each June in celebration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 which is often revered as the beginning of the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement. Amongst the celebration and awareness-raising was an unfortunate event which speaks directly to why such events are still necessary and full equality has not yet arrived.

The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland was abandoned by their float driver the morning of the Parade when he learned he was participating in the Cleveland Pride Parade, forcing the organization to scramble on the day of a large-scale public event. The driver was employed to make a delivery yet his biased judgments prevented him from delivering the service for which he contracted. In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable. How can we move forward as a society when behavior such as this is permitted?

As we have all learned in the recent past, teens that are not prepared for such poison all too often commit suicide because they see no acceptance in their community or hope for change.

It’s time for our community to send the message to these young people that there is hope and they are loved and accepted through action rather than words alone.

Unfortunately there is often no legal recourse for such discrimination and often no protections are extended to other marginalized groups. We need to take action to end discrimination and protect those who are currently unprotected by our laws and government. There are no legal remedies to this behavior, but there is YOU.

Equality can only be reached if we as a community hold ourselves and each other accountable for actions such as these. Equality can and will only happen when we, as a community, start asking what the company who employed this driver is doing about such discrimination. Equality can and will happen when we, as a community, begin contracting and spending our money solely with businesses who support diversity and inclusion.

We ask the question, what have you done to show acceptance and respect to those who may be different from you?  How have you helped our community fight such bias? We ask you to think about this and talk about this with your families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. 

We each deserve respect.

Peggy Zone Fisher
President & CEO
The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 10:11 AM, 07.06.2012