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HR 5 Equality Act, BLM and discrimination in business.

Why would a small business fly a Pride Flag?

Do you feel it is important to treat all people like people? As a business owner this comes up more than I expected over the last decade. So when one of my friends that runs a barber shop asked about HR 5: Equality Act, I had to have a deeper discussion. Representative John Lewis spoke about the importance of the Equality Act passing. 

As a small business, we decided a long time ago to promote and support equality. It's our job to insure, not to judge. It's an very old school mentality that was reinforced by my first District Manager. If someone walks through my door as long as they are not abusive, disruptive or spreading illness then they are welcome. Our office literally assists just about everyone because we do business and are open to the public. We have no problem flying a pride flag, or a Black Lives Matters poster or a Latinx banner. We are part of a larger community.

Discrimination is an issue and it is creating social change in America. Black Lives Matter may be the largest movement in U.S. history. The military is talking progressive steps to combat racism inside it's ranks and in American Society. Latinx activists are leading marches for farm-worker rights. Even the Supreme Court had to confirm that the Trump Administration was not allowed to discriminate based on gender identity and sexual orientation this June. Quite clearly a majority of Americans  want to treat each other with dignity and respect. You can strengthen your businesses by promoting equality.

When you care about people, your family, your neighbors then equality is an issue. Some have suggested that because COVID-19 impacted people of color at a higher rate explains the Federal Government's poor response. Racism has reached a systemic point that AI software developed a bias to reduce healthcare for black people. Police violence is more than a George Floyd death. Police brutality is an prejudice issue when a black person is three times more likely to be killed by the police than a white person. The simplest of police work, the traffic stop seems to be biased when 20 million traffic stops were looked at by Stanford. The Senior Leadership of the Army addressed the nation with a town hall on July 22 because it needed to address questions related to racial, gender and other social injustices following tragedies such as the murders of George Floyd and Specialist Vanessa Guillen. Even Defense Secretary Mattis understood the importance of allowing transgender individuals serve in the military with out discrimination.

Note: Navy Veteran Christopher David, had his hand broken by federal officers in Portland at the Black Lives Protests after asking them whether their actions violated the Constitution. After his hand was broken, the Wall of Veterans came out to continued support for Black Lives Matter. It shows that more Veterans are taking a progressive position to help improve the nation after service.

What HR 5 does is it would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bigots don't like that they can be told that they can not discriminate against race, color, religion or national origin. This would add protections so they couldn't continue rotten behavior against people. This is the third time that this bill has gone through the house, largely supported by Democrats. It is important to note that 8 Republicans voted in favor.

It's not a real surprise that HR 5: Equality act would be under attack because of feelings against the Affordable Care Act's Section 1557. The current administration revised it so that it no longer protected discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation (later lost in court). Discrimination in healthcare does occur and it is what Section 1557 was attempting to prevent.  There is not much worse than an EMS refusing to help someone die because of their prejudice or a transgender immigrant dying in ICE custody after being beaten and deprived of medical attention. It is surprising that only the Democrats take a strong stand on protecting civil and human rights.  While the Republicans are forced to look at history instead of current events.

Listen to our Podcast Suzilla for more about equality.

Sometimes a top down approach is what is needed. There is inconsistent federal court decisions and a patchwork of state laws. Notwithstanding this broad consensus, 28 states offer no sexual orientation or gender identity protections; of the 22 states that do protect LGB employees, two exclude transgender employees from protection. We gain everything by treating people like people. It is why it is important to pass legislation like HR 5 Equality Act. Equality is good business that creates stronger communities.
US Commission on Civil Rights est. by Civil Rights Act 1957


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