Equality Michigan

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Equality Michigan
alt = Equality Michigan logo
Type 501c3
Tax ID No. 38-2556668
Founded 1991
Location Detroit, Michigan
Area served Michigan
Mission Equality Michigan works to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Revenue $695,922 (2010)[1]
Employees 5
Formerly called Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality
Website www.equalitymi.org
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Equality Michigan is an American civil rights, advocacy and anti-violence organization serving Michigan's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Equality Michigan serves Michigan's LGBT community through victims services, lobbying on behalf of the LGBT community, public education on LGBT issues, and organizing Michigan's largest LGBT events such as Motor City Pride.

History[edit]

Equality Michigan[edit]

Founded in 1991 as the Triangle Foundation, the organization was merged with Michigan Equality to create Equality Michigan in 2010.[2]

Triangle Foundation[edit]

The Triangle Foundation was formed in 1991 to help victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination. Jeffrey Montgomery became the first Executive Director of the Triangle Foundation after he experienced this need firsthand: his partner was murdered in the city of Detroit and police there refused to investigate the crime.

Photo of Jeffrey Montgomery provided by Equality Michigan
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Final logo used by Triangle Foundation

From 1991 to the mid 2000s Mr. Montgomery was active in the Michigan LGBT community, appearing in newspapers, visiting victims in the hospital, and aiding victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes while raising public awareness of the effects of anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination.

Triangle later added a policy department in order to advocate for pro-equality legislative and policy changes and to counter anti-equality initiatives in the state legislature, in state agencies, and in the governor’s office. Triangle’s first Director of Policy, Sean Kosofsky, became an active activist and lobbyist in Michigan’s capital.

The organization took on issues ranging from the establishment of statewide anti-bullying legislation to the campaign to add protections for LGBT individuals to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits bias-based discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Triangle also became involved in Michigan’s larger progressive movement, engaging in issues ranging from the campaign for a living wage to the legalization of medical marijuana.

In addition to its work on statewide policy and direct victim assistance, Triangle was also active on the national scene. It was a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), which collects statistics on anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination from the state agencies that directly help victims with these issues. NCAVP was founded due to the lack of comprehensive information on anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination at the national level. By self-compiling the data, the organization attempted to prove to the wider community that hate crimes are a real and constant threat to LGBT people.

Triangle continued to grow, adding events like Motor City Pride, the Michigan Lesbian & Gay ComedyFest and programming for LGBT youth.[3]

Michigan Equality[edit]

Final logo used by Michigan Equality

Michigan Equality was formed in 1999 by members of the LGBT communities who saw the need for a bi-partisan organization to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Michigan Equality was founded in Lansing in order to have immediate and direct access to both legislators and the governor’s office.

Michigan Equality helped lead successful human rights ballot initiatives in Kalamazoo, Traverse City, Huntington Woods, and Ypsilanti. The organization’s Political Action Committee took an active role in supporting pro-equality candidates for governor and state legislative offices, and the organization was able to attract people from both major political parties as staff and board members alike.[3]

Victim Services Program[edit]

Equality Michigan's Victim Services Program documents and addresses the pervasive problem of violence committed against the actual or perceived LGBT and HIV-affected communities. Victim Services offers free and confidential support to victims of bias crimes, domestic violence, pick-up crimes, police misconduct, HIV-related violence, rape, and sexual assault. In addition, Equality Michigan provides accompaniments and advocacy for clients with the police, the courts, medical, and social service agencies. The organization works to get legal services offered at a reduced fee for low-income clients and help clients tell their story in order to raise awareness about the incidents that occurred to them. Data collected through this program is published annually through the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs[4] - which Triangle Foundation co-founded.[5]

Policy Program[edit]

Equality Michigan's director of policy, Emily Dievendorf, speaking during Michigan Pride 2012 in Lansing, Michigan

Equality Michigan works to enact policy and legislative changes in Michigan to promote equality for LGBT people in such areas as housing and employment, prevent hate crimes, and to stop anti-LGBT legislation and similar measures from being introduced.

Field Organizing Program[edit]

Equality Michigan's Field Organizing program promotes outreach efforts throughout Michigan and supports activists working for LGBT related policy change. This program also engages in passage of local city ordinances related to LGBT rights, such as local ordinances discouraging discrimination in housing and public services.

Community Events[edit]

Equality Michigan's community events are intended to bring together and build the Michigan LGBT community.

Motor City Pride[edit]

An annual Pride street festival held in Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan the second Saturday and Sunday of every June to celebrate the LGBT community. Previously held in Ferndale, Michigan, the festival moved to Detroit in 2011.[6] It is the largest LGBT event held in Michigan. The event showcases both local and national performers including Nickki Stevens, The Fundamentals, and Eric Lehr.

Michigan LGBT ComedyFest[edit]

Performance on 4 June during Motor City Pride 2011 held at Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan

ComedyFest is an annual comedy festival featuring national comedians held in Dearborn, Michigan for the LGBT community.[7]

Equality Michigan Annual State Equality Celebration[edit]

Equality Michigan's Annual State Equality Celebration is a formal event for members of Michigan's LGBT community to reflect on the previous year. The event features keynote speakers and the presentation of Catalyst Awards recognizing individuals and organizations for excellence in service to Michigan's LGBT community. The event is attended by several community leaders and elected officials.[8]

Education and Outreach[edit]

File:Anti-bullying rally in Lansing - October 2011 - 02.jpg
LGBT youth speaking to reporters during an October 2011 anti-bullying rally in Lansing, Michigan

Equality Michigan provides diversity trainings on social and political LGBT issues. This program also educates politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and law enforcement professionals about issues related to the LGBT community.

Funding / Support[edit]

Equality Michigan offers multiple ways to give, including planned giving, event sponsorship, and secure online donations.

Volunteers are also utilized in the implementation of many programs.

Corporate and Foundation Funding[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Equality Michigan's GuideStar report
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External links[edit]

See also[edit]

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