Campaign for Southern Equality director releases account of White House visit

Statement from the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality:

Last Friday, [CSE Staffer Lindsey Simerly] and I were at the White House talking about you.

It was a day I’ll always remember. And it also motivated me to work even harder as we build this new Southern equality movement together.

As we met with White House staffers, Lindsey and I shared your stories, explained the strategy and moral urgency driving the WE DO Campaign, and stressed that federal action is necessary to ensure full equality for LGBT people in all 50 states. Later in the day, we had the opportunity to hear President Obama speak about LGBT rights. Shaking his hand, I had a chance to get in another mention of LGBT rights in the South and the need for further federal action in the next four years.

It’s good to pause and absorb a moment like this. But we’re in a marathon here. Our work is far from done. We are currently planning Stage 4 of the WE DO Campaign and pulling it off will take all of us. Getting to the goal of full federal equality will require each of us stepping up in ways we never have before – perhaps even ways we never imagined we could.

Today, though, I mostly want to say thank you. Thank you for trusting us to do this work and to share your stories with our country and our President’s staff. Thank you for digging deep to ensure that we met our $10,000 matching gift and then raised another $10,445 from 156 donors in a national fundraising competition last week. Most of the donations we receive are at the grassroots level, meaning we’re building a strong and broad foundation for CSE’s work. Every dollar we receive goes right to our work – the WE DO Campaign, free Community Law Workshops, and Support and Crisis Response Services.

We are real people, living real lives, telling a real story – about love, courage and equality. I am filled with hope and determination about what we can do together in the years to come.

Thank you for all that you do,

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Executive Director


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