Happy Friday! It’s Pride Week in Augusta!
This is one of my favorite downtown festivals, just behind Arts in the Heart and Westobou. If you’ve never been to Augusta Pride, I highly recommend it, as it’s one of the nicest groups of folks you’ll be around all month, guaranteed. The downside, of course, is that it’s late June in the South, so make sure you’ve got your sunscreen to reapply often and drink plenty of water if you go.
Just in time for the Pride festivities of this weekend, the Augusta Commission voted 8-0 to add protections for LGBTQ municipal employees at its meeting on Tuesday night. Specifically, the expansion of discrimination protections now extends to “include acts of gender stereotyping and to prohibit discrimination based on gender, gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation.”
Equality Augusta has been lobbying for two years for this policy change. They began working on the issue in 2016 as a way to raise Augusta’s Municipal Equality Index, which a ranks cities based on their protections for LGBTQ communities. (The city received 14 out of a possible 100 points last year.) Next, the group plans to turn its focus to the school board to work toward its adoption of an anti-bullying policy that includes protections for LGBTQ students.