Dear Amb. Dr. Haissam,
You and I have been through a lot together. I hope you all feel an enormous sense of pride in what HRC has accomplished just this past year alone. It is nothing short of amazing. I will reflect more on this in a minute but there is some news that I would like to share first.
As we emerge from these midterms in a stronger position to fight this administration’s attacks and make progress in the new Congress, I want you to hear first from me that I will be leaving HRC next year. While I will be in the HRC family forever, I believe this is the right time for me and for the organization to begin a transition in leadership — with the maximum runway ahead for the next HRC president to prepare for 2020.
I’m grateful you were a part of this journey.
Thanks to you and the massive grassroots expansion that you’ve empowered us to execute over the last 18 months, literally hundreds of HRC-backed candidates won races up and down the ballot — and we have succeeded in restoring a pro-equality majority in the House. We still have enormous challenges ahead, but this last week has given me tremendous hope for the future.
When I accepted this job in 2012, I never could have imagined all that we would be able to accomplish together. The last couple of years have been particularly trying, difficult times for our community. We’ve successfully defeated hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills in dozens of states, and we’ve gone toe-to-toe repeatedly with an administration hell-bent on attacking LGBTQ people and rolling back every bit of progress we’ve made. I’m so proud of how HRC has risen to the occasion in the face of these attacks. In the wake of the 2016 election, we didn’t back down — we doubled down. We launched the largest grassroots expansion in our 38-year history to harness the electoral power of the LGBTQ community in a way that has never been done before. And last week’s election proved, beyond any doubt, that the over 10 million LGBTQ voters across this country form a powerful voting bloc that must be respected and sought-after. We delivered victories for our allies and grandest champions, and we have proved to anti-LGBTQ politicians that if they come for us, we’ll come for them on Election Day.
Winning a pro-equality majority in the House not only means we’ve restored a crucial check on the Trump-Pence regime — it means we’re one step closer to full federal equality and making the Equality Act the law of the land. Despite the political landscape of the last two years, we’ve gained the backing of 246 bipartisan members of Congress and over 120 companies across the country. And now, thanks to you, we have an incoming House leadership that has vowed to make passing the Equality Act their top priority.
I’m also incredibly proud of how we’ve expanded HRC’s efforts to reach communities where we can make a real difference — from cities and towns throughout the Deep South, to countries in the farthest corners of the globe. Over the last 5 years, HRC has led efforts to pass non-discrimination protections in places few people thought possible, from Magnolia, Mississippi to Birmingham, Alabama. We’ve strengthened our work with schools and businesses, faith communities, and with allies across social justice movements to make sure the power and support of HRC is felt by people from all walks of life.
Over the last 7 years, as we’ve added programs and expanded outreach, we’ve doubled our membership to 3 million members and supporters. And thanks to you, we are touching more people in more communities than ever before.
Building on this new strength, our movement couldn’t be more poised to face the urgency of our challenges ahead. We have not yet realized full federal equality for millions of LGBTQ people and our families. Transgender people are still being targeted by vicious legislation and administration policies, and face an epidemic of violence across our country. Today, 35 states still allow the dangerous, debunked, abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ youth. We continue to fight the spread of HIV and the stigma faced by people living with HIV and AIDS. But while we have much work to do, there is no organization better positioned to continue battling these challenges in the years ahead than the Human Rights Campaign.
There is no doubt in my mind that you and our army of members, supporters and volunteers power this organization, and will continue to steer HRC in the right direction and achieve greatness on behalf of LGBTQ people across the world. Remember, in 2012, only six states and Washington, DC had marriage equality. Just imagine what this community will be able to accomplish in the next seven years.
I will continue to be the biggest advocate and cheerleader for this organization, and fighting alongside all of you has been the honor of a lifetime. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Human Rights Campaign - President