FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2014
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Director of Constituent Services & Special Projects
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Liaison
Office of Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll, City of Salem
City of Salem Achieves Perfect Score on the Human Rights Campaign’s
2014 Municipal Equality Index for LGBT-inclusive laws, policies and services
Salem, MA – On the eve of the 3rd Annual North Shore Pride Parade & Festival, Mayor Kim Driscoll announced today that the City of Salem has achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for the LGBT-inclusivity of the City’s laws, policies and services.
Mayor Driscoll plans to make the formal announcement on stage at the North Shore Pride Festival tomorrow afternoon at Salem Common following the conclusion of the Pride Parade.
“Standing on the forefront of equality, Salem understands that the LGBT community strengthens our City’s fabric and I am thrilled that our efforts towards LGBT-inclusivity have been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign,” said Mayor Driscoll. “While famous for a tragic episode of discrimination and persecution in 1692, Salem now places tremendous value on ensuring equal protection under the law for all, no matter who you are, where you are from, or who you are perceived to be. We welcome all people who visit, live, study, and work in our community, and it is heartwarming to see that Salem is now becoming more renown for our advancement of human rights and social justice.”
In scoring 100% on the 2014 MEI, Salem follows Boston and Cambridge which were the only Massachusetts municipalities, among 25 nationally, to achieve a perfect score on the 2013 MEI last year. Unlike most municipalities included in the MEI which are chosen specifically by HRC for evaluation, the City of Salem voluntarily self-submitted its assessment and requested an evaluation from HRC.
“The MEI not only serves as an evaluation of municipal LGBT-inclusivity, it also provides local advocates with a guide to proactively further LGBT equality in their cities and towns,” said Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel for State and Municipal Advocacy at the Human Rights Campaign. “Using the MEI criteria as a benchmark, Salem made impressive strides in achieving greater LGBT-inclusivity over the past year and the whole community should be proud of the standard Salem has set for other municipalities across Massachusetts and the United States.”
With the support of Mayor Driscoll last year, the Salem No Place for Hate Committee – Salem’s diversity committee – conducted a preliminary MEI assessment and identified areas where Salem could improve upon its LGBT-inclusivity. This prompted Mayor Driscoll and Police Chief Paul Tucker to designate the City’s first LGBT Community Liaisons in both the Mayor’s Office (Kristian Hoysradt) and Police Department (Lt. Conrad Prosniewski) last June, to provide direct points of contact for LGBT residents and visitors.
More recently, Salem made headlines with the successful No Place for Hate Committee-led passage of a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance through the Salem City Council, unanimously, which Mayor Driscoll supported and signed into law on March 3. In doing so, Salem became only the fifth community in Massachusetts and the first on the North Shore to extend protections against discrimination for the transgender community in public accommodations. Since then, the City of Somerville and the Town of Brookline have followed suit, with various other municipalities across the Commonwealth preparing to do the same.
“The mission of the Salem No Place for Hate Committee is to promote the acceptance of diversity and combat discrimination through educational and public awareness initiatives throughout the Salem community,” said Co-Chair Scott Weisberg. “The MEI presented us with a perfect opportunity for the Committee to identify what the City was lacking and how we could better ourselves with regard to LGBT-inclusivity. This recognition by HRC is the direct result of the strong leadership of Mayor Driscoll, Chief Tucker, the City Council and many, many organizations and individuals who contributed to these efforts over the past year. Our perfect score on the MEI is a wonderful declaration that the City of Salem, Massachusetts is in fact, no place for hate.”
The LGBT community has thrived under Mayor Driscoll’s leadership in Salem while the City has worked to support, promote, and enact LGBT equality over the course of her Administration:
- Nov 2006: Established Salem’s first diversity committee through the Salem No Place for Hate Committee
- July 2010: Welcomed the first North Shore Elder Services-sponsored ‘Over the Rainbow Coalition’ outing for LGBT seniors and allies at Salem Willows. The Coalition now meets for monthly dinners at the House of the Seven Gables in Salem
- Dec 2011: Became first Salem Mayor to recognize World AIDS Day every December by mayoral proclamation
- June 2012: Became first Salem Mayor to raise pride flags above Salem City Hall and Riley Plaza in recognition of LGBT Pride Month
- June 2012: Recognized local LGBT activist and drag queen Gary “Gigi” Gill as the official “Queen” of Salem with mayoral citation for his work on behalf of the LGBT community
- June 2012: Became first Salem Mayor to declare “North Shore Pride Day” by mayoral proclamation while the City Council passed the first resolution in support of North Shore Pride
- June 2012: Welcomed, marched in, and attended the first North Shore Pride & Festival in Salem
- Jan 2013: Submitted letter of support for the International Imperial Court’s nationwide campaign to lobby the U.S. Postal Service for a commemorative stamp honoring honor LGBT civil rights leader Harvey Milk
- March 2013: Raised the pride flag above Salem City Hall and changed her Facebook avatar to the HRC red and pink equality logo in solidarity with the LGBT community as the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases were heard before the U.S. Supreme Court
- April 2013: Signed on to the national “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” coalition in support of marriage equality
- June 2013: Became the first Salem Mayor to host an official LGBT Pride Flag Raising Ceremony to kick-off LGBT pride month at Riley Plaza
- June 2013: With the Salem Police Chief, designated the first LGBT Community Liaisons in both the Mayor’s Office and Salem Police Department
- Sept 2013: Recognized the North Shore Alliance for LGBT Youth (nAGLY) with mayoral citation at their annual Gala for their support of Salem and the North Shore’s LGBT youth
- Oct 2013: Mayor’s Office LGBT Liaison Kristian Hoysradt recognized as one of “Salem’s Magic Makers” by Boston Spirit magazine
- Oct 2013: Recognized drag performer, recording artist and LGBT activist Sharon Needles and LGBT promotional events group Go Out Loud at their ‘Scream Out Loud’ Halloween event with mayoral citation for their work on behalf of the LGBT community
- Nov 2013: Became first Salem Mayor to attend the Human Rights Campaign New England Dinner & Gala
- Jan 2014: Recipient of the first annual Community Leadership Award by the Tiffany Club of New England at their First Event Transgender Conference for the Mayor’s LGBT advocacy
- March 2014: Salem City Council unanimously passed and Mayor Driscoll signed Salem’s non-discrimination ordinance, making Salem only the fifth community in Massachusetts to extend protections against discrimination to the transgender community in accommodations
- April 2014: Featured as prominent LGBT-ally in Boston Spirit magazine
- June 2014: Unveiled the U.S. Postal Service’s commemorative Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at the Salem Post Office where it will permanently hang in honor of the Milk’s legacy and the LGBT community
- June 2014: Submitted letter of support for the International Imperial Court’s nationwide campaign to lobby the U.S. Postal Service for a commemorative stamp honoring LGBT civil rights leader Bayard Rustin
- June 2014: City of Salem achieved a perfect score on HRC’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index for LGBT-inclusive laws, policies and services