LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A new statewide civil rights advocacy organization in Nevada has been launched to promote full, lived equality for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Silver State Equality is a Nevada-based organization affiliated with and supported by Equality California and Equality California Institute, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.
Led by State Director André C. Wade, who previously served as executive director of the LGBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada, Silver State Equality is committed to fighting for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice by helping to elect pro-equality candidates; passing pro-equality legislation in Carson City and Washington, DC; advancing LGBTQ civil rights and social justice in the courtroom; and reducing disparities in LGBTQ health and well-being through education and advocacy programs.
During the 2019 Nevada legislative session, Silver State Equality worked behind the scenes in Carson City to help pass Senate Bill 97, landmark legislation to ban the so-called “gay and trans panic defense,” in which someone who attacks an LGBTQ person could argue that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity provoked them to commit the crime. This bipartisan legislation was sponsored by the Nevada Youth Legislature and modeled after similar legislation passed in California and six other states in recent years. Silver State Equality also helped to pass Senate Bill 284, sponsored by Senator David Parks, which created an Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization, charged with evaluating and researching how Nevada’s statutes and regulations on the criminalization of HIV transmission can be updated and modernized.
“Our goal is to make Nevada an even more equitable and inclusive place to live. A lot of progress has been made over the years to protect LGBTQ Nevadans from discrimination, but we have much more work to do to achieve full, lived equality,” said State Director André Wade. “We want Nevada to lead the rest of the country as we build a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. And with the 2020 election — perhaps the most consequential in our lifetime — right around the corner, we’re ready to get to work.”
The organization’s board of advisors includes Nevada State Senator David Parks (D-Las Vegas); Nevada State Senator Melanie Scheible, Esq. (D-Las Vegas), Consumer Advocate Attorney at Legal Aid of Southern Nevada; Nevada State Senator Dallas Harris, Esq. (D-Las Vegas), administrative attorney for Clark County; Shaun Swanger, Sr. Vice President of attractions, retail and leasing for Caesars Entertainment; Ed Chansky, Esq., shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Las Vegas; Ruben Murillo, Jr., retired special education teacher and former president of the Nevada State Education Association; Amy Hill, Reno- based senior director of public affairs and government relations at Walmart; Rachel Anderson, Esq., general counsel for the office of the Nevada Attorney General and professor of law at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law; Ann McGinley, Esq., William S. Boyd professor of law at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law; and Jonathan Lee, Esq., Richard Harris Law Firm in Las Vegas.
“Together with the team at Silver State Equality, we are making Nevada a better place to live for everyone,” said Nevada State Senator David Parks. “In the late 1980s, more than 50 laws were enacted across the country to criminalize and prosecute people living with HIV, something Nevada simply cannot tolerate or accept in 2019. I am extremely pleased with the passage of SB 284 and look forward to continuing to work with Silver State Equality, as well as healthcare professionals and public health officials to create policies and laws more supportive of those with HIV and update archaic statutes, regulations and policies that remain in place.”
Silver State Equality will close out its inaugural year with the 2019 Nevada Equality Awards on Nov. 6 at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The LINQ Promenade in Las Vegas. Honorees and special guests will be announced in the coming weeks. For information visit SilverStateEquality.org.
As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, Silver State Equality brings the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in Nevada and throughout the U.S. Silver State Equality strives to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. Silver State Equality is a Nevada-based program affiliated with and supported by Equality California and Equality California Institute, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. More information at SilverStateEquality.org.