Birmingham is the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, and our City should be a national leader in ensuring that every citizen -- no matter their race, sexual orientation, religion, or gender identification -- sees City Hall as an ally.
The current Administration had the opportunity to move Birmingham forward with a Human Rights Ordinance in 2013 that would have established non-discrimination protections for all Birmingham residents, but instead, they initiated a “daylong dialogue” on inclusion and human rights. Birmingham needs more than conversations – they need leadership and action from the Mayor’s office in protecting our most vulnerable residents
The next Administration must act on behalf of all Birmingham residents, and as Mayor, I would commit to a four-part inclusion agenda that would ensure that every Birmingham resident has a voice in City Hall and is protected against discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing.
Initiate a Review of the City Human Rights Ordinance that Cleared the City Council in 2013. Within the first 100 days, I would engage Birmingham’s civil rights and LGBT advocacy community to review the Human Rights Ordinance that was considered in 2013 and issue a report making recommendations to the City Law Department on any improvements that could be made to the Human Rights Ordinance that was approved by the City Council in 2013 and issue a final version to the City Council for their consideration and approval.
Secure Passage of the City Human Rights Ordinance. Work with the incoming City Council and the Birmingham civil rights and LGBT community to secure passage of a revised Human Rights Ordinance that would establish basic non-discrimination protections in employment, public accommodations, and housing and create the first Birmingham Human Rights Commission.
Appoint a LGBT Liaison within the Office of the Mayor. Whether it be participatory budgeting or neighborhoods playing a more active role in deciding what capital projects will locate in their neighborhoods, my Administration will ensure that every segment of Birmingham has a voice in City Hall – including LGBT Birmingham residents. A number of cities like Atlanta, New Orleans and Memphis have appointed LGBT liaisons that are responsible for ensuring that City policies and services fairly consider LGBT residents and that serve as a single point of contact for LGBT organizations and constituents to bring LGBT-related issues to the City’s attention. If elected, I would hire an LGBT Liaison to serve on my executive staff within the first 100 days.
Establish the Birmingham Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Ordinance would establish the Birmingham Human Rights Commission that would be charged with investigating complaints of violations of the Human Rights Ordinance and enforcing the Ordinance’s non-discrimination protections. The Commission will include both advocates as well as attorneys with experience in housing and employment discrimination law. A revised Human Rights Ordinance would include the creation of the Birmingham Human Rights Commission comprised of a broad cross-section of Birmingham residents including representatives from advocacy groups like the Metro Birmingham Chapter of the NAACP, Birmingham’s Human Rights Task Force, and legal organizations like the Birmingham Bar Association and the Magic City Bar Association.