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For Third Year in a Row, City of Milwaukee Celebrates 100 Percent Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index Score

December 9, 2020

MILWAUKEE—Mayor Tom Barrett joined the City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, and representatives from the Human Rights Campaign, Fair Wisconsin, FORGE and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center to announce today that the City of Milwaukee received yet another perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipality Equality Index. Only 94 out of a total of 506 cities rated received perfect scores.

“Our perfect score demonstrates that the City of Milwaukee values everyone who lives, works and visits here; We are an inclusive and welcoming city for all,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “I want to issue a friendly challenge to other cities like Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Kenosha and Racine to join Milwaukee and Madison in scoring 100. Let’s show everyone not only how inclusive Milwaukee is, but how welcoming, open and fair the whole State of Wisconsin is.”

The Human Rights Campaign is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization. The national 2020 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) report is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusiveness in municipal law and policy. 

“Milwaukee has stood up for its LGBTQ residents and municipal workers and has been in the vanguard on efforts to protect and embrace LGBTQ people,” said Tony Snell, Chair of the City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission. He thanked Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Johnson and members, City department leaders and LGBTQ+ affirming organizations for their tireless efforts. “There is no doubt we are rolling up our sleeves, getting to work on the tough challenges and centering equity and inclusion in our City programs and projects. As underscored in the Mayor’s directive and new Office of Equity and Inclusion, I’m excited about our future and the ERC’s role and partnership.”

The City’s Equal Rights Commission works to promote racial, social and economic equity to the residents of Milwaukee. Currently, the Equal Rights Commission is working with the Common Council, City departments and local community groups to create procedures to bring gender inclusive restrooms to City buildings.

“I can tell you that Mayor Barrett’s priority around his LGBTQ+ constituents is real. I’ve seen it firsthand just in my first few months here on the Common Council,” said Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa. “We made sure we passed a minority impact statement resolution that included all people of color, women and people with disabilities, and the Mayor and I made sure that also LGBTQ+ folks were recognized and a part of that legislation that will certainly support minorities across the board.”

The City of Milwaukee takes many actions to champion LGBTQ rights, including adding enforcement mechanisms to the City’s Equal Rights Ordinance, banning conversion therapy, appointing liaisons in the Mayor’s Office and at the Milwaukee Police Department and providing trans-inclusive healthcare benefits.

“We continue to see local government take the actions to protect the LGBTQ community that our State governments are unwilling to do. This year, a record-breaking 94 cities earned a 100, which is the highest score. This is up from 88 cities last year,” said Wendy Strout, Wisconsin State Director of the Human Rights Campaign. “Milwaukee continues to be a leader on LGBTQ protection, and we are proud of Milwaukee’s third year of reaching the highest score of 100.”

Receiving a perfect score highlights the historic progress being made in the City of Milwaukee as it relates to LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and city leadership’s public position on equality.

“As a City and community committed to its LGBTQ+ residents, we have no choice but to continue to act each and every day to make this City not only livable, but truly equitable,” said Shelley Gregory, Strategic Project Coordinator. “Our community has suffered unprecedented attacks in the past few years that include withdrawal of protections for long‐recognized civil and human rights, and our existences have become fodder for impetuous assaults from every corner. While we celebrate Milwaukee’s accomplishments today, let us simultaneously set our sights on making our community one in which no one’s work is done until each of us is respected, safe, and fundamentally free to be.”

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ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN:

By inspiring and engaging individuals and communities, the Human Rights Campaign strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

The Human Rights Campaign has been leading the fight for LGBTQ+ equality for 40 years. However, despite the progress, our most marginalized are still suffering from violence, discrimination, and fear. HRC works to ensure that all LGBTQ people, and particularly those who are trans, people of color, and HIV+, are treated as full and equal citizens within our movement, across our country, and around the world. For more information, please visit hrc.org.

 

ABOUT THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE EQUAL RIGHTS COMMISSION:

The City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission is made up of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor who work to Promote and protect equality, equity, and human rights through education, enforcement, and community engagement. 

Under Chapter 109 of the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances, the ERC is responsible for monitoring the employment, contracting and program activities of the city; preparing timely report to the Mayor and Common Council on efforts to promote equal rights and opportunities; promoting positive community relations; and eliminating discrimination and inequities in city government and the city as a whole. These responsibilities fall within two primary categories: internal (city government) and external (the community). To learn more about the ERC, visit milwaukee.gov/ERC

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