An Honor to Lead

It is with the greatest honor that I submitted my resignation as the co-director of the Human Rights Campaign at Arizona State University earlier this week.
Having been a member of the executive board for nearly the entirety of my college career, it had been a true pleasure putting together rallies, speaking events, flag displays, and reaching out to students on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign at one of the nation’s largest universities. This work I did hear showed me that progressive’s can and will win if we continue to battle with our heart and our head. I learned in 2006 that nothing is ever impossible, as Arizona became the first and only state ever to defeat a gay marriage ban.
Looking back on the legacy I leave behind, I am without a doubt proud of the achievements this organization has accomplished.
In 2007, I stood before the Residential Hall Association proposing a bill to demand that all RHA members undergo training in how to properly respond to conflict within the dorms, particularly conflict relating to GLBT issues. This legislation wasn’t something easy to pass. Not only did it have a long history of being passed and not implemented, there were other barriers in the way. However, after hearing a story of a transgender individual who committed suicide and fellow students and roommates were unsure of where to go for answers and support, I knew this legislation had to pass. And I was successful in meeting with the RHA director and gaining enough votes to ensure that ASU was no longer the only PAC-10 school not to have something like this in place. It made our university dorms a safe-haven for GLBT students.
This would have never been possible without the support of the Human Rights Campaign.
As a student organization, HRC at ASU was able to canvass and phone booth and work tirelessly in helping to defeat a so-called “Marriage Amendment,” in 2006. This was novel. No state before or after us has achieved such a victory. That same strong, committed work ethic was brought to force again in 2008. And while we didn’t have the money to defeat that, we made a noble and sound effort and I am proud to say we tried.
During my tenure with HRC at ASU we have pressured Congress to pass pro-equality legislation and demand that they repeal anti-equality legislation. Together, we have signed petition after petition to pass the very things that this community has fought for, for so long. Together, we have marched the streets of Phoenix, visited the Capital, and worked determinedly for our rights.
From voter outreach campaigns to getting a fair and pro-equality Congressman into a position to truly represent the people of ASU, we have worked together to accomplish things we never thought were possible.
It has been an honor to lead that charge.
This resignation is not a resignation to the work and activism I have done. With God as my witness, I will never give up the fight for equality until every GLBT teen feels safe in their schools and in their homes. I will not stop until we have a full inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and full repeal to the divisive and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. This is my promise as an advocate to a community that has accepted and has loved me since I came out to my father in high school.
This resignation is nothing more than a passing of the torch, enabling a fully qualified, strong-minded, compassionate individual to take the lead. Stephanie Mahan has been my co-director and my friend long before she had a title. She has led this charge fully and faithfully, and cares about this community more than I have seen in GLBT activists three times her age. And she isn’t alone. Instead, she accompanied by a determined group of executive board members, who one day will also replace her.
I would not resign from this organization if I did not trust that these very people are the ones who need to lead this fight onward.
This resignation also signifies something remarkable. That the HRC College brand does and can work when the right members are found, and trained to build a network of volunteers to fight for the very things we need. We can, as I have, build an army of volunteer’s right from a college campus and be ready to use them in the tough campaigns we have ahead.
It has truly been an honor. I will never forget the work we have done. And I look forward to seeing this student organization continue to grow, prosper and make Arizona State University, and beyond, a better place for all GLBT students, staff and visitors.
Thank you for the privilege of representing this organization in this capacity.

One comment

  1. Thank you, Ray, for all of your hard work and leadership at HRC@ACU. We're excited that you're going to continue your involvement on the Steering Committee! See you soon…

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