News • February 4, 2021

State of Equality: February 2021 Newsletter

A Message From Kendra

As we move into a new year and a new presidential administration, we're all still holding the weight of the past four years on our shoulders. So many folks in our communities did not survive the presidency of Donald Trump, and thousands of vulnerable Americans are still dying every day from the COVID-19 pandemic. We're not out of the woods yet -- and we have a long way to go.

As our nation begins to rebuild and tries to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, Equality NC will be here for you every step of the way. Please, stay tuned to our website, social media channels and emails for updates on the fight for our communities and the ways you can plug in during the weeks and months ahead. We will get through this together -- and we're here if you need us.

This February, Equality NC is celebrating #BlackFutureMonth, a month-long celebration of Blackness and Black Americans who are collectively transforming the future of American life. This week, we kicked things off with the incomparable Stacey Abrams. Head here to learn more!

We've seen incredible progress across North Carolina over the past month, with six different municipalities passing LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. We're so proud of Hillsborough, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro and Orange County. Want your town, city or county to be next? Head to to make your voice heard!

Meet the 2021-2021 Rural Youth Empowerment (RYE) Fellowship Class

The Rural Youth Empowerment (RYE) Fellowship is a year-long mentorship and training program for LGBTQ young people in rural areas of North Carolina. The program supports RYE Fellows in successfully executing a social justice project serving rural communities while developing leadership skills.

Devin Green, he/him

Devin is a transmasculine junior at UNC-Pembroke where he is a political science major (pre-law concentration) and a member of the Honors College. Devin's project is dedicated to making the overall campus environment at UNC-Pembroke more inclusive by bridging the gap between campus administration and LGBTQ students.

Beck Martens, they/them

Beck is a social worker and co-chair of the board of Youth Outright. Their project "Unraveled" will be an anti-racist educational programming for LGBTQIA+ youth in Western North Carolina that focuses on how racism and the ideology of white supremacy is the root of all oppression in the US and is pervasive within LGBTQIA+ culture.

Cassius Guthrie, he/him

Cassius is a Neurobiology student at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. His project focuses on building a more inclusive and accessible sexual education to supplement the current curriculum. This will be done by creating YouTube videos that center subjects that are often left out of the sexual education curriculum to give youth a better understanding of sex, identity, and the intersections of the two.

Faith Leader Sign-On Letter

Are you an LGBTQ-affirming faith leader? Do you believe that LGBTQ folks deserve to live life free from discrimination? We'd like to encourage you to add your name to this sign on letter voicing your support for state and federal nondiscrimination protections to shield LGBTQ North Carolinians from discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, health care, education, credit, insurance, jury service, and more.

Friendly Caller Program

Are you an LGBTQ young person or older adult who is interested in forging intergenerational connections and community? We'd like to invite you to join our Friendly LGBTQ Caller Program, created by former RYE Fellow Gray Rogers. The commitment is low and results will bring you connection in new, transformative ways. Head here for more info.

We'll miss you, Ames!

Our beloved Policy Director Ames Simmons will leave Equality North Carolina at the end of this month to join the National Center for Transgender Equality. His contributions to our organization over the past four years have been unparalleled, and we will be forever grateful for his service. Good luck, Ames!

Know someone who would be a good fit for this role? Head here for more info.

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