FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Distinguished, Committed New Board Members Join Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Mitchell Gold, Along with Current Board Members as Faith in America Launches New Project to Save American LGBTQ Children and Youth
Hickory, NC -- Faith in America (FIA) today announces new board members, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and showcases the entire board of distinguished, dedicated and visionary members.
FIA, co-founded in 2006 by board co-chair, Mitchell Gold, and former Methodist minister Jimmy Creech, is a non-profit dedicated to educate the public about ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. FIA seeks to change hearts and minds of religious communities on the nature of sexual orientation and gender identity, removing it permanently from “the sin list.”
“As Faith in America launches our most significant project to date, Save yOur Kids (SYK), I am profoundly honored and delighted to share the news of Kris and Sandy joining our board,” says Mitchell Gold. “After several meetings with these two significant voices in modern marriage equality, Sandy and Kris both decided to be on our Board. It is the first time we’ve had a couple! The leadership we have amassed on this board is substantial. These are people who have been changing hearts and minds for a long time. And, now, through Faith in America, we will all be changing lives together…and forever.”
Our board is made up of people who have played pivotal roles in advancing marriage equality for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. History will record their sacrifices and accomplishments. Founding FIA board member Shannon Minter argued and won the first case before the California Supreme Court and later represented married same-sex couples from Tennessee in Obergefell v. Hodges. Kris and Sandy accepted putting themselves on the line and paved the way for marriage equality through their leadership in the landmark Supreme Court Case Hollingsworth v. Perry, leading to the defeat of California’s Prop 8 and ultimately making marriage equality the law of the land. Roberta Kaplan, one of America’s 100 most influential attorneys, successfully argued on behalf of Edie Windsor at the Supreme Court overturning DOMA and, last year, successfully challenged Mississippi’s HB1523, which would have permitted the misuse of religion to justify discrimination against LGBT people and women.
It is both symbolic and energizing to have such leading marriage equality icons joining the FIA board because they have come to recognize that full legal and spiritual equality is still a distance to go, and the primary hurdle is people using their religious teachings to marginalize and discriminate against LGBTQ people. Especially vulnerable and innocent children and youth.
The Save yOur Kids project is the most assertive project by FIA to date. SYK will bring to light the public health crisis facing America’s LGBTQ children and youth community.
In the United States, the rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGBTQ youth than that of straight youth, and 4-6 times more likely to succeed. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives. 1-in-4 have tried. LGBTQ youth from condemning religious families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBTQ peers from affirming families. Approximately 520,000 (40% of all) homeless children are LGBTQ.
SYK will work toward informing media and all Americans about LGBTQ children and youth. And, bringing change in the religious community working with medical professionals, clergy, and dedicated leaders who are already opening doors and addressing specific issues within the religious community and inside religious colleges and universities. Real statistics, medical evidence, and facts will be used.
“The religious community in our nation should not be a vestige of a hate and anger that defines children and youth in ways that bring them such mental and personal anguish. And, we believe many in the religious community don’t want that, either,” added Robert Hoffman, FIA Board Co-Chair. “So, with Sandy, Kris and our entire board along with FIA’s unique mission addressing religious communities we are ready to move forward with Save yOur Kids.”
The Faith in America Board of Directors:
Kris Perry and Sandy Stier: Paved the way for marriage equality through leadership in the landmark Supreme Court Case Hollingsworth v. Perry, leading to the defeat of California’s Prop 8 and ultimately making marriage equality the law of the land. Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. FIA’s first board couple.
Roberta Kaplan: Litigation partner at Paul, Weiss LLP. One of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers” in the United States. Represented Edith Windsor in landmark civil rights case leading to Supreme Court mandating marriage equality nationwide two years later.
Chely Wright: Country Singing sensation, author and activist, mother of gorgeous twin boys, married to Lauren Blitzer.
Sherri Jaquays: Co-Founder of Lauren Jaquays LGBTQ Youth Alliance, formerly High Country (NC) LGBTQ Youth Alliance; successfully assisted in placing GSA in ‘conservative’ country schools.
Shannon Price Minter: Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights. Argued successfully before California Supreme Court for same sex couples. A transgender man, he is recognized as a leading expert of transgender legal issues.
Howard Vine: Former Partner, Public Policy and Law, Dickstein Shapiro, LLP. Founding member of FIA BOD; Howard’s partner is well known talk show host, Randi Rhodes.
Bob Williams: Co-founder, President of Design, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Served on Equality NC BOD, Chair of Hickory Museum of Art, and other non-profits.
Robert Hoffman: Co-Chair and Interim CEO for Faith in America. A former Fortune 500 Apparel Executive, Robert now works professionally as Managing Partner of Piedmont Counseling and Development Group and teaches undergraduate psychology at Lenoir Rhyne University.
Phil Wells (Council): Former BOD member of Equality NC and BOG HRC. Prior to joining Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams as Corp. Counsel, he practiced at NC law firm Williams Mulllen and was Corp Counsel for Compass Group.
Mitchell Gold: In addition to running one of America's most prestigious home furnishings manufacturing and retail businesses, Mitchell is co-founder of Faith in America.
More in-depth board bios: http://www.faithinamerica.org/about-us/
Faith in America website: http://www.faithinamerica.org/
Faith in America on Twitter: @faithinamerica
Faith in America on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithinamerica/
Save yOur Kids website: www.saveyourkids.info