“We are angry, but we are not afraid. And we shall not be silent. We call on all LGBTQ+ people and our families, friends, and other allies to stand up and oppose this shameful law. And we call on you all to lead with love. We call on Speaker Gunn and state legislators, and Governor Bryant, to repeal this hateful law, and thereby restore the honor of this great state,” said Nathan Martin, Board President of The Spectrum Center in Hattiesburg, in response to HB1523 “Religious Freedom that was passed earlier this month. (Full text here.)
The Spectrum Center board met Tuesday to discuss the new law and its organizational response. The group’s mission is to foster a supportive, educated and active community that is open, safe and inclusive to people of all sexualities and gender identities. The Center is a resource and advocate for full inclusion and empowerment of those affected by prejudice and discrimination. TSC defends human and civil rights secured by law for members of the LGBTQ+ community and work towards an open, accepting and diverse Mississippi.
On April 21 between 5:30 – 9 p.m. The Spectrum Center will host its first open house. The Board is working to build stronger resource lists through the creation of our Pine Belt Pink Pages, a compilation of LGBTQ+ Ally businesses in the Pine Belt area, and partnering with local open and affirming churches and other non-profit organizations including Human Rights Campaign Mississippi, Campaign for Southern Equality and the ACLU.
Plans are in the works for several events including: the inaugural Equal Footing Fun Run Fundraiser; a partnership with DIME Entertainment Magazine; voter registration days; and a carpool to Jackson for the HRC Mississippi Rally to Repeal HB 1523 on May 1.
The Second Annual Hattiesburg Unified Southern Fried Pride weekend is scheduled for October 7 to 9, including a Pride Day celebration in Town Square Park and foot march in Downtown Hattiesburg. For more information, contact TSC at TheSpectrumCenter@gmail.com or 601.460.1597.