Forum For Equality Initiatives:
- Employment Equality
- Safe Schools
- Hate Crimes
1. Employment Equality
Forum For Equality works on employment non-discrimination efforts throughout Louisiana by engaging in public education and advocacy on the local and state level. We have been successful in expanding local protections for public employees in New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, and Lafayette. Statewide public employment non-discrimination laws are a legislative priority of FFE and we have gained support from allied organization such as the AFL-CIO.
We also work with corporations and governmental entities to discuss employment equality, discrimination and harassment in the workplace by providing trainings and educational seminars. We have presented to many leading Louisiana companies such as Entergy and Imperial Trading as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation New Orleans Division and National Labor Relations Board.
2. Safe Schools
Forum For Equality believes that our youth are the most important part of our future, and that it is essential to support and protect them from the harmful effects of physical, emotional and verbal bullying. Regrettably, Louisiana law does not enumerate or detail a standard anti-bullying policy that schools must adopt. The lack of these compulsory policies allows for students to be victimized and targeted unfairly within our school systems. School should be a safe and welcoming environment where young people grow academically, emotionally and physically, yet bullying is commonly and sadly ignored. The current policy weakens our students’ ability to learn and thrive in a competitive, technologically advancing society.
We are continuously working to improve and protect the well-being of all young people, especially LGBT youth, in Louisiana by advocating for changes in the current anti-bullying laws to enumerate and detail a policy that encompasses our expectation for safe schools. We are apart of the Stop Bullying Louisiana Coalition and advocating for our Safe School Initiatives. This is a coalition of individuals and organizations across Louisiana and represents the wide array of concerned citizens; this includes educators, school board members, parents, administrators, faith leaders, elected officials, school counselors, students, social workers and disability, health, women, civic and LGBT organizations.
3. Hate Crimes
Forum For Equality was instrumental in passing the Hate Crimes Bill in 1998 and has continued to be active by educating the public, law enforcement and community leaders on violence towards the LGBT population. Most recently we have partnered with the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Attorney’s office and local LGBT organizations to have public forums in Shreveport and Baton Rouge that focused on state and federal Hate Crimes laws. Forum For Equality also worked with the Department of Justice on the 2010 NOPD investigation, specifically on harassment and discrimination towards the transgender community.
Forum For Equality has been a fierce advocate of protecting LGBT families. FFE believes that supporting families is critical to the success and safety of the LGBT community. In 1993, FFE lead the fight in creating a domestic partnership registry in the City of New Orleans; and then succeeded in expanding insurance benefits to cover same-sex partners of city employees in 1997. From 2003 to 2009, FFE worked closely with Lambda Legal and the City of New Orleans in protecting these rights from legal challenges to the city’s policies.
Additionally, FFE works to advance adoption policies in the best interest of children, both legislatively and judicially. Our effort is to expand the current laws to allow two same-sex parents and partners to adopt children in the state of Louisiana. Unfortunately, Louisiana’s adoption laws currently hurt many children by allowing only one of the adults parenting a child to become the legal adoptive parent. This policy undermines a child’s financial, legal, and emotional security. We seek to redress these miscarriages of justice.