Pictured: Florida Blue Executive Darnell Smith headlines Jacksonville Coalition for Equality press conference highlighting business support for LGBT protections.
Yesterday was a pivotal moment in the work to secure non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community in Jacksonville, Florida. In anticipation of a third and final “Community Conversation,” hosted by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality held a press conference highlighting the considerable business support for LGBT non-discrimination.
The press conference, which Haskell Construction CEO Steve Halverson hosted in downtown Jacksonville, featured North Florida’s leading voices in business.
Participants in Tuesday’s press conference included Audrey Moran, Chair-Elect of JaxChamber and Senior Vice President at Baptist Health; Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman of Acosta; Darnell Smith, North Florida Region President of Florida Blue; David Miller, Co-founder and CEO of Brightway Insurance; and Michael Miller, Co-founder and CMO of Brightway Insurance.
Speakers highlighted the importance of inclusion and diversity to the economic growth of Jacksonville and emphasized that many of Jacksonville’s largest employers, including CSX, Baptist Health, Florida Blue, Brightway Insurance and University of North Florida, are supportive of an expanded ordinance. Leadership from the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality released a signed statement of support highlighting over 200 small businesses in Jacksonville that support expanding Jacksonville’s HRO to include the LGBT community.
The press conference was held hours before newly elected Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s third of three “Community Conversations”, this one themed Understanding the Law and Its Effects on Business. Over 500 people attended the last of the town hall style discussions, including nearly 300 members of HRC, Equality Florida and the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.
Jacksonville is the second-largest city in the United States without a local law explicitly protecting LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination. HRC, Equality Florida and JASMYN are founding partners of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.
For more information about the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, visit the website at www.jaxequality.org.