Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Jeff and I are heading up to see our families and spend some much needed time resting.  Open For Service will return to work on Monday. So this week’s blog is about being thankful.  I have a million reasons to be thankful – 2015 has been such a ride and without your help, support, and love – we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Something that sticks out in my mind that I am thankful for – Hoosiers.  Bear with me on this.

So if you recall back in the first part of 2015, the media had started a buzz about #RFRA and Indiana’s impending legislation that authorized businesses to turn someone away.  Indiana isn’t exactly known for its progressive stance on social issues.  Conventions threated to leave, businesses would move out, people wanted to boycott, etc. – but that wasn’t enough to stop it.  It wasn’t exactly a huge surprise that this was going to happen in our state, and I think that some of our legislators felt it would be a quick process.

Well . . . it wasn’t.  Some pretty damn amazing people stood up and said that we were not going to tolerate it.  We worked 20 hours days, for weeks trying to start a conversation and ignite a movement that would actually tell the nation that Indiana is a welcoming state.  In fact, we are still at it.  We could have accepted the “fix”, we could have let it just pass . . but we didn’t. Fast forward a few months, and we are all working together to continue this conversation and represent what we think is best for our State.  This why I am feeling thankful today – the willingness of so many people to organize and help support each other.  So what is going on here?  Let me explain:

Open For Service – We’re building a community.  Using technology, stickers, and caffeine – we are building out a system that counteracts the negative effects on the economy due to the perception of sanctioned discrimination.  The system also creates a new resource that protects people in areas that may not be covered by anti-discrimination policies.  We want to show you where you can shop, be employed, worship, eat, stay, and live without fear.  It’s a huge undertaking, but we’ll get there.  I am thankful for all of our partners, our volunteers, and our community for continuing to make a difference.

Freedom Indiana – I’m so thankful for what Chris, Katie, Jennifer and their team are doing to bring a face to this discussion.  Their natural ability to get people to become engaged and connect with each other is amazing.  They have been such a resource for Open, and continue to help motivate us to keep going when it gets daunting.  Thank you for all that you do.

Indy Chamber – We’re thankful for their continued support of Open For Service and the work they are doing to lobby and coordinate efforts support all and uncover of the realities of discrimination in Indiana, plus the potential issues that could arise if there isn’t protections in place.  Our partnership has helped to mold and plan how our mission can work and we look forward to providing support to other chambers across the nation. Thank you Matt, Mark, and Michael for continuing to make LGBT support a priority for the Chamber

Indiana Competes – You may haven’t heard about them just yet, but you will.  Indiana Competes is focusing on advocacy on behalf of the Hoosier business community to update civil rights laws to protect the LGBT community from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation.  They are connecting with organizations across the state to educate on the negative effects to our economy if we do not pass civil right protections.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with Peter on this several times and he’s insanely talented.  They’ll be doing some great things for our state during the legislative session and we look forward to the progress they make. 

These people are working tirelessly to change things in Indiana, and I am thankful for them and all they do.  Have a great holiday and we’ll see you Monday.

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