26Feb2015

“Dignidad y Trabajo” Campaign Expands to Fight Workplace Discrimination in Central Florida

Miami-based campaign raising awareness and support for equal treatment and protection against discrimination for LGBT workers in Hispanic communities expands to Hillsborough and Orange Counties; New campaign website, www.dignidadytrabajo.com, launched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2015
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737
media@aclufl.org

MIAMI – Today, “Dignidad y Trabajo” (Dignity and Work), a campaign to raise awareness about the need for providing equal treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the workplace in Florida’s Hispanic community, publicly expanded across to Central Florida.

The campaign, led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida in collaboration with SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization, has brought together a diverse coalition of individuals from across the state, including faith and business people, to explain why ending discrimination and providing equal treatment for workers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) is so important. The campaign was originally launched in Miami in March of 2014.

“People across our state agree that workers should be judged at work based on their ability to do a job, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” stated ACLU of Florida Mid-Florida Regional Organizer Paola Calvo Florido, who is leading the project’s outreach in the Central Florida region. “What many people don’t know is that people can be fired just for being LGBT in many of our communities. Through the ‘Dignidad y Trabajo’ campaign, we will demonstrate to community leaders in Hillsborough and Orange counties that providing equal treatment represents a commitment to the values of hard work and fairness that our communities hold dear.”

One of the community leaders supporting the campaign is Salvador Montalvo, a business entrepreneur in the culinary industry from Tampa. He explains why he supports the campaign: “I don’t think that not treating people fairly is solely an injustice, but it’s also bad for business. When a person feels that they should hide who they truly are just to keep from being fired, it means not bringing their whole, authentic self to the workplace. This builds negativity that could affect the work environment, and stretched across all workplaces, would also have a huge effect on the local and state economy as well.”

As part of the expansion of the campaign, a new website in English and Spanish has been launched at www.dignidadytrabajo.com. The website features a gallery of supporters and participants of the campaign, solutions, and opportunities for new supporters to participate.

The impact of workplace discrimination on LGBT workers is significant: married or partnered LGBT individuals raising children are twice as likely to have household incomes near the poverty line compared to married or partnered non-LGBT parents. Furthermore, transgender people are nearly four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 per year than the population as a whole. The challenges increase for LGBT workers of color, who have higher rates of unemployment compared to non-LGBT people of color. Unemployment rates for transgender people of color have reached as high as four times the national unemployment rate.

In conjunction with the launch of the expanded campaign, the ACLU of Florida has also released a video (in Spanish with English subtitles) featuring Marta Pedrosa, a telephone engineer from Miami who explains the impact anti-LGBT discrimination has had on her life. “For me, my dignity is everything,” says Pedrosa in the video. “The only thing that a person can bring with them when they die is their name and their dignity. Everyone has the right to be happy in this world. Everyone has the right to live like they are allowed to do what they want, and as we say, with lots of dignity.”

More information on the campaign is available at www.dignidadytrabajo.com

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