North Carolina College Agrees To Stop Patronizing Chick-fil-A -
Students at numerous universities are petitioning their administrations to end their contracts with Chick-fil-A because the company uses its profits to support anti-gay hate groups and ex-gay ministries. In many cases, this would involves evicting the fast food chain from its current place as an on-campus vendor, a significant endeavor. At Davidson College in North Carolina, however, it was a question of whether the college’s Union Board would continue to patronize Chick-fil-A and serve its food at its monthly “After Midnight” events on campus. In response to petition signatures from almost 500 students (over 25 percent of the entire student body), the Union Board said that it will find alternatives to Chick-fil-A until the full board can convene and make a permanent decision.
Federally Funded Group Must Stop Discriminating Against Female Veterans
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a sex discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor today against the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) for failing to provide female veterans with the same job training classes male veterans receive through the organization’s federally funded programs.
The complaint, filed on behalf of U.S. Army veteran Emily Bagby and other female veterans, describes how female veterans are excluded from job training and educational programs provided to male veterans such as truck driving, training for “green” jobs and culinary arts. Instead, female veterans are offered classes such as knitting, art therapy, yoga, meditation, how to de-clutter your room, self-esteem and Bible study.
“Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry’s discriminatory policy is insulting and demeaning to all female veterans,” said Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “These women served their country, just like male veterans, and are entitled to the same dignity and respect. The classes offered to the female veterans seem like they are designed to help them become better housewives, not become independent like the job training offered to the men.”
By failing to provide the same services to these veterans, the organization is discriminating on the basis of sex, violating the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of the Workforce Investment Act administered by the Department of Labor. The SPLC’s complaint asks the department to end this discrimination by compelling the organization to overhaul its policies. It also urges the department to monitor the ministry’s programs to ensure it no longer discriminates against female veterans.
During a March 14 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the ABCCM’s executive director, the Rev. Scott Rogers, said that his organization helped place more than 300 veterans into the workforce last year.
At the same hearing, he noted that male veterans are provided 24 different job training programs at their Veterans Restoration Quarters while female veterans are offered 16 different “personal skill-building” programs at the Steadfast House, the organization’s housing facility for female veterans.
Bagby lived at the Steadfast House from July 2011 to February 2012 after she found herself homeless during a period of unemployment. She hoped that ABCCM would help prepare her to re-enter the civilian workforce, but she and the other female veterans were not provided the opportunity to participate in the job-training programs offered to men at the restoration quarters. She also did not receive any meaningful assistance with obtaining social services, applying to school or obtaining employment or permanent housing. Bagby left Steadfast without the skills needed for future employment and self-sufficiency.
“I am asking that female veterans have the same opportunities to better themselves as the men,” she said. “Women had to fight for equality in the military. We shouldn’t have to fight for it as civilians.”
By denying women access to the job training and educational programming opportunities, ABCCM is exacerbating existing barriers for female veterans. Female veterans are already four times more likely than their civilian counterparts to experience homelessness. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, this is occurring because female veterans are unable to achieve access into the labor market. Female veterans often experience a lack of job training and skills assessments, and difficulty transferring the skills obtained while in the military to the civilian economy.
ABCCM is composed of approximately 300 churches in Asheville and Buncombe County, N.C. It provides services to veterans, the homeless and families in poverty. The organization received funding from the Department of Labor’s Veterans Workforce Investment Program and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for its job-training programs and services for veterans. ABCCM recently received $200,000 from the Department of Labor to help re-integrate homeless veterans into the civilian workforce through job training and other services in 2012.
ABCCM also receives federal aid through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Grant and Per Diem Program. This money provides supportive housing and services to homeless veterans. With four such programs, which encompass 158 beds for homeless men and women, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry is the third-largest contractor of Grant and Per Diem Program services in the country.
Other attorneys on the case include Eden Heilman, senior staff attorney at the SPLC’s Louisiana office, and Meghann K. Burke of the law firm of Cogburn & Brazil, P.A., in Asheville, N.C.
A copy of the complaint can be viewed at www.splcenter.org.
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Photo of Emily Bagby. Photo by Adam Taylor.
Letter from Mayor O’Boston to Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A. Favorite part: [While you’re backing out of things Mr. Cathy…] “I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston.”
Muppets take a stand against anti-gay Chick-fil-A.
@ReeseNews Takes on the #NCGA -
Like how Dominos tracks your pizza? Now you can curb your hunger for #NCGA bills w/ @ReeseNews’ The Roll Call bit.ly/Pm3OqJ #ncpol
N.C. Democratic Party Platform Calls for Repeal of Amendment One -
‘We applaud the North Carolina Democratic Party’s call to repeal the divisive and discriminatory Amendment One, as well as its pledge to oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nevertheless, we encourage the Democratic Party to extend this consideration to gender identity and expression in an effort to protect North Carolinians like Janice Covington as well as a growing population of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender North Carolinians living and working in every corner of the state.” - Stuart Campbell, Equality NC
Join @RacetotheBallot as we return to Bakersville for the upcoming @EqualityNC Town Hall meeting with the @MitchellCoGSA!
Another #NC Citizen RACES TO THE BALLOT! // North Carolina Activist Plans 80-Mile Walk To Protest #Amendment1 -
This weekend, Randy Gillis will leave his home in Sophia, North Carolina to walk about 80 miles to the Raleigh State House. He intends to deliver a handwritten letter to state Sen. Peter S. Brunstetter (R) protesting the discriminatory effects of Amendment One, which banned same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Brunstetter was one of the measure’s key architects, and his wife experienced a media backlash when she claimed he was trying to protect the “Caucasian” race. On his journey, Gillis is hoping to meet with other North Carolinians, collect their stories, and serve as their letter-carrier as well.
Favorite sign from #ncprotest: ”Where in the Bible does it say, ‘thou shalt be a jerk.’ Thought so.” #equalityaction