OpenAZ Blog

Maricopa County Sheriff and Police and Fire Chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson sign the UNITY Pledge in support of equality for all Arizonans

Maricopa County Sheriff and Police and Fire Chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson sign the UNITY Pledge in support of equality for all Arizonans

 (Arizona) - The police and fire chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson and the Maricopa County Sheriff have all signed the UNITY Pledge, a public declaration of support for equal treatment in employment, housing and businesses open to the public for all Arizonans, including gay and transgender people.  Phoenix Police Chief Jerri Williams, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz, Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone join over 2,600 businesses and organizations including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Professional Firefighters of Arizona, PetSmart, Intel, Go Daddy, PayPal, Fry’s Food Stores and others in support of a fully inclusive Arizona. 

“Fair and impartial policing is an easily understandable philosophy.  Everyone is equal under the law.  As proud as I am about signing this initiative, I look forward to the day when initiatives such as these are no longer necessary because we recognize the value in total equality,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir added, “We have a duty to protect all citizens equally on the same terms.  Who you are or who you love doesn’t matter – nor should it matter to us.  The only thing that matters is ensuring the safety of each and every citizen of Tempe.”


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Being the parent of a Transgender Child on Transgender Day of Remembrance

As parents of transgender young people, the "Transgender Day of Remembrance" is always a moving, but also frightening, event that hits way too close to home.  It honors the transgender people who have been victims of senseless violence - who were killed simply because of who they are.  And while this event is important for honoring those we lost and raising awareness - wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to do this every year?  If we didn't have to worry about the safety of our children who are just trying to live happy and authentic lives like everybody else?  But the statistics about transgender Americans aren't giving us much hope. A recent survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality showed that 46% of transgender people had been verbally harassed, with nearly one in ten being physically attacked in the past year. Almost a third were fired, denied a promotion, or mistreated by coworkers. Unemployment rates were three times higher than the U.S. population. And, more than 25% were living in poverty. Even more unsettling, in their lifetime, nearly one third of respondents had experienced homelessness, close to half had been sexually assaulted, and 40% had attempted suicide. Part of the reason the transgender community is more vulnerable than the general population is because in many places - including Arizona - they don't have equal protections under the law so they have no recourse for when they are targeted simply for being transgender.  When we imagine a future for our children, we want them to be able to live, work, and participate in community life wherever they choose, without restrictions. It’s every parent’s dream to see their kids grow up to be healthy and happy adults, and we know that Arizona has some work to do before we stop worrying about the future of our transgender kids.  Let's turn this Day of Remembrance into action.  If you, like us, wish we did not have to have remembrance events at all, we encourage you to write to our Governor and our Legislature and ask them to update our laws so that transgender Arizonans have the same protections as everyone else.


Rev. Tamira Burns 
Marie Green 
Robert and Ruffin Chevaleau 
Melinda Koenig, Psy.D. and Steven Koenig, M.D. 
Dennis and Janine Skinner
Cherise and Arick Basques 
Jose and Lizette Trujillo 
Christiane Nieuwsma 
Duane Nieuwsma 
Chelsa and Andrew Morrison 
Amanda Westphal 
Katie Fizz 
Shawn and Angie Waite 


MillerCoors Signs UNITY Pledge

MillerCoorsUPSigning-27.jpgMillerCoors Signs Unity Pledge

UNITY Pledge supports equality in the workplace, housing and public accommodations for all Arizonans

ONE Community is proud to announce that MillerCoors signed the UNITY Pledge during halftime at the June 16th Phoenix Mercury “Pride Night” game.  The UNITY Pledge is the largest equality pledge in the nation and is a public declaration of support for fully inclusive non-discrimination policies in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations for all Arizonans, including gay and transgender people.  MillerCoors will join over 10,000 individuals and 2,300 businesses and organizations including The Phoenix Mercury, The Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Diamondbacks, GoDaddy, Yelp, Fry’s Food Stores, PetSmart, and Coca-Cola in supporting a fully inclusive Arizona.  

Currently, five municipalities have ordinances that ban discrimination; however, Arizona has no statewide laws that protect gay and transgender individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, or discriminated against in housing and public accommodations.

Created by ONE Community, a member based coalition of LGBT and allied individuals and businesses; the UNITY Pledge is a public declaration to support and advance workplace equality and non-discrimination policies in housing and public accommodations for LGBT individuals and their allies in Arizona.

“We can’t think of a better way to welcome MillerCoors into the UNITY Pledge family than during Pride Night with our partners at the Phoenix Mercury,” said Angela Hughey, President and Co-Founder of ONE Community.  “You can’t go wrong with good beer, good basketball, and equality for all,” concluded Hughey.



trans_3.jpgIn honor of Father's Day, our Transgender and Millennial Outreach Coordinator, Ashton Skinner and his dad Dennis sat down with the Arizona Storytellers project to share their journey story of acceptance and unconditional love and support.

Take a listen to Ashton and Dennis's amazing story here.  Happy Father's Day!

                                           Photo courtesy of the Arizona Republic

Mercury Players sign the UNITY Pledge

MercuryUPSigning-14-2.jpgThis week, in celebration of PRIDE Month, Phoenix Mercury, players including Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Danielle Robinson and staff including Penny Taylor, Vincent Kozar and Ann Meyers Drysdale took the UNITYPledge supporting diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans.

Check out the video interview with Danielle Robinson and Penny Taylor about why it was important to the Mercury to lead the conversation about inclusion here.


Why Equal Protections Matter

Chef_Silvana.jpgI am proud to join the ONE Community Foundation as they launch a public awareness billboard campaign to educate Arizonans about the fact that it is still not illegal to fire someone, deny them housing, or refuse them service simply for being gay or transgender. 

That’s right, in 2017 you can still face discrimination in our state simply because of who you are or who you love.  Our state’s current non-discrimination laws protect Arizonans based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, and age, but not sexual orientation or gender identity.  This gap leaves a significant portion of our population vulnerable and without legal recourse when discrimination does occur.  

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Four Peaks Brewing Co. Becomes First Arizona Brewery to Sign UNITY Pledge in Support of Equality

Four Peaks Brewing Co. Signs Unity PledgeTEMPE, Ariz. (February 1, 2017) - Tempe-based brewery Four Peaks Brewing Co. signed the UNITY Pledge in support of fully inclusive non-discrimination policies in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations for all Arizonans, including individuals who are gay or transgender. The first Arizona brewery to sign the pledge, Four Peaks joins over 2,100 businesses and organizations including GoDaddy, Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, Yelp, Uber, Professional Firefighters of Arizona, PetSmart, and Coca-Cola in supporting a fully inclusive Arizona.
To celebrate diversity and equality for all Arizonans, Four Peaks and ONE Community welcomed the community into Four Peaks’ 8th Street Brewery to witness the pledge signing followed by speeches from Four Peaks co-founder Jim Scussel, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell,  and ONE Community president Angela Hughey. Local dignitaries, including former Tempe Mayor Neil Guiliano, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville, Tempe City Councilman Randy Keating, Tempe City Councilwoman Lauren Kuby, and Tempe Vice-Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage, also attended the event to show their support as the three leaders discussed the importance of workplace equality and their commitment to ensuring all people feel welcome throughout the state. Guests enjoyed food, raffles, and happy hour specials, with a portion of the proceeds from beer purchases donated to the ONE Community Foundation.

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Perkins Coie Stands with Phoenix’s LGBT Community Through UNITY Pledge

Perkins Coie Logo

Perkins Coie is proud to announce that the firm has endorsed and signed ONE Community’s UNITY Pledge to support the advancement of LGBT equality in Arizona and nationwide.

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#StrongerTogetherAZ Peace Vigil

#StrongerTogetherAZ Safety Pin Nation

The #StrongerTogetherAZ Peace Vigil is a peaceful vigil that is the kick-off event for Safety Pin Nation™ Movement in Arizona. The event will take place on the east side of Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, AZ ((1202 N. 3rd St.) near the Phoenix Center for the Arts) on January 20th from 7pm to 9pm. 

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Thank you to all who served

As a veteran, on this day set aside to honor those who served, I am deeply humbled and thankful for all those who served before me, alongside me, and after me.  Your service to this country is a debt we can never repay. But this year is also different, especially for transgender veterans like myself.  Because this year, thanks to new policies in the military that allow transgender individuals to serve openly, we are truly celebrating all veterans for the first time.

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