Equality Ordinance 6093 What you can do?

image1

Background

The State of Alaska DOES NOT protect the rights of its LGBTQ residents. In addition, The city of Fairbanks does not currently have an ordinance protecting its residents from discrimination, this includes on the basis of, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, and ability. This ordinance would offer protection from discrimination of protected classes of people in the areas of housing, employment, and services. It will offer protection for LGBTQ residents were there currently are none. In addition, it will offer a way for other forms of discrimination already protected on the state level a local avenue for recourse. 

How to Help

- Testify in person at City Council meetings 

- Email the City Council and Mayor 

- Have your business/employer sign on to a letter of support 

- Write a Letter to the Editor 

Testify in Person

Stay positive. Tell your story. Tell the city council how this resolution will help you, your family, your business, the community at large. This is a time where the LGBTQ+ community especially needs allies to stand up for equality. It is simply not safe for many LGBTQ+ community members to speak on this issue. They have asked for allies to help by coming forward to express their support for 6093. 


February 25th 

Try to arrive by 5:00pm to sign up  to testify on agenda item 6093. The council will take public testimony from 5:30-7:30pm. You will have three minutes to address the council, so prepare and practice reading your testimony before you arrive. More information on how to testify follows. 

Email the City Council and the Mayor

Email your letters of support to both the Council and the Mayor. 

council@fairbanks.us and jmatherly@fairbanks.us 

Business/Employer Letter of Support

Sign on as a business owner or ask your employer to sign on to our letter of support for the Ordinance. Business support of this Ordinance is critical. Email fairbanks.equality@gmail.com or rose.ohara-jolley@ppvnh.org to sign on. You can view the letter and those that have signed so far by using the button below. 

Business/Employer Letter of Support

Write a Letter to the Editor

One effective tactic when writing an LTE is to share a story or your unique point of view. If you would like support or more information email fairbanks.equality@gmail.com. Letters should be submitted directly to the Daily News-Miner at letters@newsminer.com, and please copy the Mayor and City Council in the email. 

Talking points and background overview

Our state already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, and marital status in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodation, and financing practices. However, these crucial protections do not extend to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. In a national survey, 44% of LGBTQ respondents reported facing discrimination at work. An overwhelming 97% of transgender people report having been harassed on the job, and 26% have been fired because of their gender identity. 


Each of us should be free to build loving adult relationships and to create families without discrimination based on our own personal, private lives. But everyday Alaskans across the state live in fear of being fired, denied housing, public service or educational opportunities because they are gay or transgender. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

LGBTQ Employees: On the Job

- Our “Golden Heart” city values the uniqueness of everyone. Fairbanks’ support of our LGBTQ 

neighbors is not new. As a matter of fact, the Fairbanks City Council passed a resolution in 2015 supporting State House Bill 42, which would have extended protections to residents based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression 

- The proposed Fairbanks ordinance is based on the Juneau ordinance. There have been no lawsuits due to the Juneau ordinance 

- A religious exemption is not needed in this ordinance. The Fairbanks Diversity Council agrees that a religious exemption is not needed. (Thank you, Diversity Council!) 

- In Fairbanks, there is no law that prevents a person from being fired from their job, being denied housing, or being denied service at a business for being LGBTQ. 

- Sexual orientation and gender identity have no relationship to workplace performance. Hardworking Alaskans shouldn’t be fired because of who they love or how they express their gender identity. 

- Because of discrimination, and fear of discrimination, many LGBTQ employees hide their identities, are paid less and have fewer employment opportunities than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. This prejudice puts LGBTQ people at increased risk for poor physical and mental health. Equality is Everyone’s Concern: It’s Time! 

- Access to stable and secure housing is essential for successful and healthy families, but LGBTQ people often experience housing discrimination, and are denied the security of one of life’s most basic necessities. 

- Businesses that support anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ people recognize that having a corporate culture that embraces diversity improves worker productivity and helps recruit the best talent. 

- Like everyone else, LGBTQ Alaskans just want to contribute to the economic health of our state, earn a living, and be able to provide for their families. It’s time to protect all Alaskans! 

Crafting your testimony

State your first and last name, and where you live (or say your address is on record with the clerk). Thank the council for the opportunity to speak, read your prepared testimony (including a clear statement that you support the ordinance), and thank the council for their time. 


*** Important Note *** Testifying at the City Council Meeting is public record and is also recorded. You may be quoted in the paper, or people may engage with your social media after hearing your name when you testify. Testify only if you are comfortable with making your story public. For improved privacy, switch all of your social media to private, and do not engage on social media with unknown persons or groups. 

Helpful Hints for Giving Public Testimony

● Write down what you want to say and practice saying it within a 2 minute limit. Brevity is appreciated. 

Remember, when giving public testimony you are not expected to be an ‘expert’ on the resolution, the legal system or the legislative process. You are sharing your perspective as a citizen and as a constituent. 

● It is better to keep your testimony succinct and focused on the particular point(s) you want the committee members to consider. 

● If you are asked a question by a committee member, protocol dictates you answer: “Through the chair,” if you know the answer, then go ahead and answer. 

● If you do not know the answer, do not try and answer on the fly or just say something! Rather, if you do not know the answer, say “I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question.” If you can find out the information you can say you’ll find out and get back to them. If you say you will find out and get back to them, it is essential that you do so. 

● It is helpful to remain polite. Sometimes it is tempting to let your temper show, but almost never useful and sometimes gives reason for your comments to be disregarded. 

● If there are several people testifying and the points you want to make have already been said by more than two or three speakers, the committee will appreciate you saving time by saying you agree with the previous comments and would like to add (whichever point hasn’t been mentioned) or you agree with the previous comments so won’t take up more of the committee’s time. 

● You can always submit written comments to the committee 

● Sometimes, not everyone has time to testify. Signing in and showing up still make a difference. 

Sample Testimony

“Hello my name is Joshua Rose, I live in Fairbanks and my address is on record with the clerk. I would like to thank the council for the opportunity to voice my support for Ordinance 6093. Alaska is my home, and I have dedicated my time to helping to make it a better place. I worked as an educator of young children with special needs for over 13 years. I currently work teaching teachers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. And although I do not worry about my job at UAF, I have had to hide who I am from employers in the past out of fear. Fear of being fired, fear of being targeted in a small community, and fear of losing a place to live. It is unacceptable that I could be denied employment, housing or other services in the place that I call home because of my gender identity or who I love. The cities of Anchorage, Juneau, and Sitka have all passed legislation protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination, that means over 340,000 Alaskans, almost half the states population are already protected. It is time that we add Fairbanks to that list. I urge the council to vote in favor of this ordinance and to resoundingly state that we are in fact the golden heart city, and all persons are equal regardless of who they are and how they choose to live. Thank you for your time.”