Today, we are sending a similar letter and the same report to the leadership of the Mississippi legislature, and the committees responsible for considering HB1523. Although we fully recognize that receipt of a research report is unlikely to sway the legislators, we wish to contribute what we can (research and evidence) to the conversation and to stand in solidarity with those in Mississippi protesting this new discriminatory legislation.
The full text of our letter is as follows:
I am writing to you today as a researcher, and concerned individual, and private citizen. I also write on behalf of the Research Initiative on Social Justice and Equity (RISE), of which I am one of the directors. RISE is a nation-wide network, originally begun in Mississippi, of faculty, researchers, staff, and students committed to research on issues of equity and inclusion. A number of our associates and fellows are currently in Mississippi, and our work remains closely connected to the South and to Mississippi.
I am writing to you in the wake of the recent passage of HB1523. About a year ago, we prepared a carefully written research report on the prevalence of LGBTQ bias and discrimination, and the outcomes of nondiscrimination policy. We originally prepared this report, which was written to be short and easy-to-read, and has been reviewed by several prominent national scholars, at the request of community partners in Mississippi. At the time, they were advocating for nondiscrimination policy at the local level. This report, however, seems quite appropriate to inform the current discussion of state-wide discrimination and nondiscrimination.
I hope you will take the time to read the enclosed report, which highlights the real, day-to-day damage that the LGBTQ citizens of Mississippi face because of noninclusive and unequitable policy decisions, and the ways in which research demonstrates that moves toward inclusive policies, including nondiscrimination ordinances, are good for economic growth, good for health, good for business, and good for the citizens you serve.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss this issue or our report in further detail.
Kamden K. Strunk, Ph.D.
Read the full report that was delivered below: