On Thursday, August 23, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh will show his support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by participating as a striker in the statewide Hungry4Equality campaign. Pugh will serve his shift living on display in the windows of Affirmations, in downtown Ferndale, where he will go without food for 24 hours.
“As an openly gay public figure in one of the US’s more conservative cities, I cannot say enough about the importance of being visible and speaking up about LGBT rights,” said Council President Pugh. “To move the City of Detroit and the state of Michigan forward, we need to change some of the antiquated laws we have that treat LGBT people as second class citizens.”
Pugh will be the 25th striker since the start of the 100-day campaign, which began on July 30. The Hungry4Equality campaign is an effort coordinated by Michigan’s LGBT Community Center Network (CCN), a group comprised of every LGBT community center throughout the state. In Michigan, it is still legal to be fired if you are gay or transgender, or perceived to be so. Additionally, LGBT couples cannot get married or jointly adopt, cannot receive partner benefits if they are a public employee, and can be denied public housing and accommodations.
Since receiving global attention following its launch, strikers worldwide have made their own personal commitments to participate in Michigan’s fight for equality. Supporters from London, England, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Bangkok, Thailand are a few that have agreed to conduct 24-hour strikes in their locations.
“To see people from around the world making their own personal commitments to strike for the inequalities we face specifically in Michigan, is humbling”, said Dave Garcia, Executive Director of Affirmations. “Unfortunately, it is also a reminder of how behind Michigan is compared to most of the county and much of the world when it comes to equality for all people”.
The Hungry4Equality campaign targets key Michiganders most responsible for creating Michigan’s anti-equality environment by naming them to the campaign’s Equality Rights Hall of Shame. These individuals include Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills; Attorney General, Bill Schutte; David Agema of Grandville; Janice Daniels, Mayor of Troy; the conservative majority of the Michigan Supreme Court; and Gary Glenn, President of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association. The American Family Association is currently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The public can view and chat with Pugh and other strikers 24 hours a day, through live video stream here. The strike will continue until the general election, in November. Those interested in participating in the strike can sign up here.
In addition to striking, supporters can also participate in statewide phone banking and neighborhood canvassing at Affirmations’ Pride Action Night every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm-8pm. For more information or questions please call (248) 398-7105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affirmations is metro Detroit’s community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. Open since 1989 and located in Ferndale, a suburb of Detroit, Affirmations provides a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and cultures can find support and unconditional acceptance and where they can learn, grow, socialize, and have fun.