Today, on this 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, we stop to recognize the transgender individuals who have fallen victim to transphobic hate violence in the past year and years past.
To continue losing these members of our family to senseless, bigoted violence is a national tragedy. While we continue to make progress on the civil rights and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming individual—such as the Massachusetts’ legislature recent passage of a transgender civil rights bill—we must call attention to the severe, devastating inequalities facing transgender and gender non-conforming Americans across what should be the land of the free. In New York State, we have yet to follow the 16 states which have gone before us in passing a gender expression non-discrimination bill. In our state, we still have New Yorkers who are denied the status of protected class, and discriminated against in housing, employment and credit among other areas. These inequalities, that transgender and other gender non-conforming people are not treated and protected equally under the law, must and will be addressed, so that we may all do everything we can to stop the loss of any transgender person to hate violence again.
“As Stonewall Democrats, we remain committed to working tirelessly to achieve the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in NYS and, ultimately, an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) at the federal level,” said Bryan Ball, SDWNY president. “The loss of our people, the members of our LGBTQ family, who we remember on this 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, can never be amended. In the face of such unspeakable violent tragedy, it is often difficult to find positive action we must take. But we must honor the memory of these individuals, and work to achieve full transgender and gender expression civil rights, so that we may do all we can to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.”
We invite you to join the WNY LGBTQ community on Monday night, November 21, for our Transgender Day of Remembrance Service. The service will be held in Buffalo, at Buffalo United Artists, 119 Chippewa, beginning at 7PM.
Please note that this month our membership meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, November 29th at 7PM, to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday the week prior.
Our agenda will include reviewing the election, planning for next year and planning for our annual winter fundraiser/holiday party. We hope to see you there! Agenda available below. As always, please feel free to email if you would like to see anything included on the agenda prior to the meeting.
| November 2011 Meeting Agenda |
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|File Type: || pdf|
Dear Stonewall Democrat or Ally,
I know you don’t need to be reminded, yet again, that this coming Tuesday, Novemeber 8 is the General Election in New York State. Every year, it seems, brings an election more important, more urgent than the last. And that is why I must stress that there is so much again on the line this year, for the future of equality in Western New York.
At the top of our ticket, we could not have two stronger allies positioned to lead Erie County into a better, more equal future. This year, our election could not more perfectly illustrate why we are Democrats, why we work of the people and for the people’s rights. On November 8, we will elect Mark Poloncarz as our County Executive, and end County Executive Chris Collins’ anti-LGBTQ term in office. Chris Collins has failed our cities, our towns, our villages and our county on so many issues such as health care, funding for our thriving artistic economy and the working class. But when Collins was faced with the opportunity to sign into policy an LGBTQ-inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity policy for the county—championed by Legislator Maria Whyte with bi-partisan support from the legislature—Chris Collins failed our community and families, and refused to sign the policy for the resolution included gender identity as a protected status. Thankfully, Mark Poloncarz is running to correct that inequality in the County Executive’s office. A longtime, staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights from marriage equality to gender expression non-discrimination, Mark Poloncarz knows how to stand up for all us and our families in WNY, and treat each resident, constituent and worker with the dignity and resecpt every individual is entitled.
Alongside Mark Poloncarz, this year we have Legislator Maria Whyte running for County Clerk. Throughout her tenure in the legislature Maria Whyte has done many amazing things. Always a voice for the voiceless and those in need, Maria Whyte has been one of the most true, fiercest and pro-active champions the LGBTQ community has in government. When Maria Whyte realized Erie County didn’t have an EEO policy for all people, she decided to do something about. When the County Executive attempted—and in some instances succeeded—in cutting vital funding and services to health care and the arts and culturals—Maria Whyte was there to stand for what is right. When I first met Maria, at a Stonewall Democrats meeting as a candidate running the first time for the legislature, I was stunned by her passion, sense of commitment and inherint knowledge of what is right. And from that moment on, Maria Whyte has made good on that promise. Always, Maria Whyte has been what the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York are all about: advancing the rights, well-being and human dignity of all people. And as our next County Clerk, Maria Whyte will take that accomplishment to the administration of county services, and continue the great work Congresswoman Kathy Hochul started in making the Clerk’s Office a better place for all residents of Erie County.
And how important this election is doesn’t stop in Erie County. In Jamestown, we will reelect City Council President Greg Rabb, the only openly gay elected official in WNY. In the City of Buffalo, we will reelect our champions on the Common Council, Councilmembers David Rivera and Michael LoCurto. And for the Erie County Legislature, our allies and friends will be reelected and elected with Legislator Lynn Marinelli, Jeremy Zellner and Joe Mascia. Each of these candidates is why the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York exist. With each of their elections, we will move one step closer to equal employment protections, gender expression non-discrimination, complete marriage equality and the entirety of LGBTQ civil rights. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the work you all do to make Stonewall Democrats what we are today. For each of you who’ve helped us lobby an official or candidate, gather letters, phonebank, canvass or supported our work in some way—I thank you. Because of you, we exist to endorse the best candidates for the LGBTQ community, work to elect them and pass the legislation which will make it better for our community in WNY and beyond. I thank you, and I look forward to the victories we will have with your work, your help and your vote on November 8.
All the best,
SDWNY proudly announces our endorsement of Jeremy Zellner for the Erie County Legislature’s Fourth Disctirct. For years, Jeremy Zellner has worked hand in hand with the Stonewall Democrats as Executive Director of the Erie County Democratic Party, and has done much, along with Chariman Len Lenihan, to include LGBTQ persons and issues in the Democratic Party of Erie County.
A staunch supporter of progressive issues of equal rights, Jeremy Zellner has what it takes to win a seat currently held by an incumbent Republican, Kevin Hardwicke, who has been essential to County Executive Collins’ destructive agenda for Erie County. When elected to the Legislature, Jeremy Zellner wil continue to be one of our strongest allies in the passage of a LGBTQ-inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity Policy for the county, and on all issues of civil rights.
“If you have attended a Stonewall Democrats meeting, lobbied with us or worked a pro-equality campaign with us, you know Jeremy Zellner,” said SDWNY president Bryan Ball. “His work with us on behalf of the Democratic Party has been so welcomed, needed and helpful. It’s a tremendous thing to see an ally such as Jeremy take the step to run for office, and run so strongly. Jeremy Zellner will be a full-time legislator for his constituents, and work his hardest and in the best interests of every woman, man and child of the fourth district.”
SDWNY annouces our endorsement of community activist Joe Mascia. An elected Comissioner on the Board of the Municipal Housing Authority for the city, Joe Mascia has long been a friend to progressive politics. An ally SDWNY member, Joe Mascia has supported and worked alongside the Stonewall Democrats, for years, on campaigns for good, progressive, pro-equality Democrats.
The race for the Erie County Legislature’s new, reapportioned and downdized District 1 is an interesting election. SDWNY interviewed all three candidates running (as Democrats, although there is only one endorsed Democratic candidate), including Legislature Chariwoman Barbara Miller-Williams and the Democratic candidate Tim Hogues. While all three candidates supported some issues important to the LGBTQ community such as employment non-discrimination and anti-bullying efforts for our children, only Joe Mascia is publicly supporting each and every one of the rights and issues important to the LGBTQ community.
SDWNY strongly encourages a vote for Joe Mascia, our friend and all who will work with us and for us once elected to the Erie County Legislature.