In January, The Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Carolinas Gala Committee announced that Clay Aiken would join actress Meredith Baxter as a guest speaker at the 15th Annual HRC Carolinas Gala on February 27th, at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The Human Rights Campaign represents over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. It is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. The dream of HRC is an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
Founded in 1980, The Human Rights Campaign had the goal of raising money for congressional candidates who supported fairness. But, as the years passed, the organization became a resilient force in the overall movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights. They worked hard to achieve fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Steve Endean founded the Human Rights Campaign Fund in 1980. As an advocate for equality, Steve wanted to raise money for pro-fairness congressional candidates and to counter anti-gay tactics being pushed by conservative extremists.
The following is the Mission Statement of the HRC that is posted on their website.
“The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT organizations.”
Besides raising funds and helping to influence government, The HRC has three important components of their program. First is their Focus on Diversity. The HRC wants to make sure that diversity is a natural part of their culture, not just a set of numbers. They also want to be one of the most successful organizations in the country at uniting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and straight supporters with people of all races and backgrounds to ensure equality for all.
The second segment of their program is educational outreach. The Human Rights Campaign believes that all Americans should have the opportunity to care for their families, earn a living, serve their country and live open, honest and safe lives at home, at work and in their community. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation supports and protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their families in education, healthcare, corporate, public and private organizations across the country.
Finally, the HRC is active in Media Research. According to their website, they are a leader as a resource on LGBT issues.
“ For decades, HRC has been a go-to resource on LGBT issues for TV news, magazines, newspapers and radio shows. HRC spokespeople have appeared on every major TV network, as well as cable news channels including CNN and Fox News. They have been quoted everywhere from The New York Times and Fortune magazine to small-town papers across the country. HRC also works closely with the LGBT media and with non-traditional press outlets, including blogs and other online media.
The Human Rights Campaign has participated extensively in public policy discussions and debates on America’s airwaves. HRC is often called upon by the media to frame issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and to comment on the news of the day. Whether it’s explaining the importance of marriage equality or guiding writers and producers through the complicated questions surrounding workplace fairness for LGBT employees, HRC is always ready and willing to serve as an expert witness on the topics that affect LGBT and straight-supportive Americans.”
For more information about the Human Rights Campaign, visit their website here.
Today, Matt Ehlers, from the News and Observer in Raleigh reported about Clay and his speech for February 27th. After interviewing Clay earlier in the week, Matt said that the audience would not see Clay pounding his fist or screaming for the right to marry.
Clay said in the interview:
“There are people who are loud and make noise, and there are people who are deliberate and slow and steady. Right now, at this point in my life, I feel like a slow and steady person.”
Clay told Matt that HRC provided a speechwriter to help with his speech, but Clay sent him away and wrote his own speech. Clay felt that he did not want to bash people, but instead, wanted to be hopeful.
Hopefully there will be a transcript of Clay Aiken’s speech from Saturday night. I feel confident that it will be articulate, heartfelt and well-researched.