Fight OUT Loud

Fight OUT Loud is a United States 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2007 to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and their allies to fight discrimination and hate.[1][2] Fight OUT Loud was founded by Waymon Hudson and Anthony Niedwiecki as a result of a 2007 incident where an employee at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport played an anti-gay death threat over the intercom quoting a Bible verse from Leviticus reading "men that lie with men as with women should be put to death."[3] The couple complained the but no action was taken until they alerted local and national media outlets.[4] According to Hudson, the incident became an international news story.[4] According to the group they had over 5000 members in less than four months of doing their free online action alerts.[2]

Their first cause after the airport incident was supporting two 14-year-old lesbians in Portland, Oregon who were verbally abused by the bus driver as he was kicking them off the bus for kissing.[3] The group worked with the teens and their mothers, the Portland transit department issued an apology in response to the concerns.[3]

In 2007 Fight OUT Loud became a leader in the effort to address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Mayor Jim Naugle's comments about the gay community.[5][6][7][unreliable source?] Comments Naugle made about alleged use of a planned $250,000 robotic toilet in Fort Lauderdale's beach to prevent sexual encounters between men caused protests from the local community.[8] In a press release and in public rallies they tied his official public statements to violent anti-gay incidents.[9][10] The protests and campaign led to Naugle's removal from Broward County's Tourism Board, and the proposed toilet was eliminated from the budget.[5][11]

In 2008 the group announce the first four members of their newly formed national board of advisors including: Chip Arndt (Activist and winner of The Amazing Race - season 4); Matt Foreman (Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force); David Mixner (political strategist, civil rights activist and public affairs advisor); and Pam Spaulding (Editor and publisher of Pam's House Blend).[12]

The organization also works to raise awareness around hate crimes as in the cases of E.O. Green School shooting of Lawrence King.[13] The group also advocates for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).[14]

In 2010 Hudson and Niedwiecki moved to Chicago and continue to coordinate the group's work from there online.[1][15]

In 2011 the organization was the beneficiary of "Rock Out Loud," a music concert and anti hate crimes rally at Nova Southeastern University.[16]

Anthony Niedwiecki

Anthony Niedwiecki, (born March 18, 1967) is an American politician, who was elected to the city commission of Oakland Park, Florida in March 2009. As the city's top vote-getter for any position in the 2009 election, he automatically assumed the office of vice-mayor in 2010 and would have become mayor in 2011,[17] but resigned effective June 1, 2010 to take a position in Chicago.[18]

A law professor and administrator at Broward County's Shepard Broad law school, Niedwiecki and his husband Waymon Hudson were co-founders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lobby group Fight OUT Loud,[19] and led an activist campaign against former Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle after Naugle made a number of anti-gay statements.[20] The couple also lobbied the Florida State Senate to overturn the state's ban on gay adoption, after taking in a foster child who had been abandoned as "unadoptable" by the state because of the child's HIV status.[21] The couple wed in California in before Proposition 8 passed in June 2008[22] and remain legally married as one of 18,000 couples still wed after the anti-gay marriage proposition passed.[23]

During his first year in office, Vice-Mayor Niedwiecki pushed for expanded protections for transgender residents and workers by adding "gender identity and expression" to the city's non-discrimination policies and vendor contracts.[24] Niedwiecki also directed the city to review all of its policies and ordinances to be sure that the language included and recognized LGBT families and relationships as well. Oakland Park, Florida also celebrated gay pride in the city for the first time with a proclamation celebrating the contributions of the LGBT community.

Under Niedwiecki's leadership, Oakland Park became one of a handful of cities around the country that passed a resolution against the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military that asked President Barack Obama and the United States Congress to move swiftly to overturn the ban. He eventually used his position on the County's Human Right's Board to get the County to pass a resolution as well.[25]

All of these actions have paved the way for Oakland Park to become one of the leading cities in promoting equal rights in South Florida and in the country. That leadership was rewarded by Pridefest South Florida,[26] the largest Pride Event in the state, which moved from its longtime home in Fort Lauderdale to relocate to downtown Oakland Park in 2010. The event was a success, bringing in thousands of dollars that go back to the local LGBT community in the form of grants and community support.

Niedwiecki received the Trailblazer Award from American Veterans for Equal Rights for helping pass a resolution in Oakland Park and Broward County asking Congress and President Obama to overturn the anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Niedwiecki also received the "Public Official Star of the Year" Award for his public service from the South Florida Gay and Lesbian Community Center/Pride Center at Equality Park in 2010. Niedwiecki also serves on the Broward County Human Rights Board and Broward County Resource Recovery Board.

His campaign was endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the Metro Broward Professional Firefighters Union, Equality Florida, the Broward County AFL-CIO and the American Black Caucus.

In the summer of 2010, Niedwiecki left Florida to accept a job at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois as a law professor and Director of The John Marshall Law School's Lawyering Skills Program.[18][27]

References

External links

  • Organization website
  • Founder's blog
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