The Opening of the Beaches festival in Jacksonville was a big success! The annual festival celebrates the opening of the summer season for Jacksonville Beach businesses and landmarks. The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality used this as an opportunity to celebrate the HRO and spread the message of nondiscrimination.
The blazing heat and scorching sun didn’t stop our crew from collecting 172 new pledges to pass an all-inclusive ordinance for the city.
We set up our tent at Bo’s Coral Reef Restaurant, just a short walk away from the beautiful Jacksonville Pier. The bar flooded with customers wearing our bright orange JCE stickers, which they received after signing the pledge. Among the crowd of spirited young beach-goers, we encountered many friendly faces that had already signed with us at the OneSpark event.
Out of the many events we’ve participated in this year, we experienced the highest volume of opposition in Jacksonville Beach. Outside of the walls of the LGBT establishment we used as our headquarters for the event, the crowd became much less supportive.The majority of people that we approached along the parade sidelines had a rebuttal for the HRO and the necessity for nondiscrimination policy in the city. However, this resistance couldn’t stop the volunteers that walked along the mile-long festival boundaries to educate those who had not yet heard of the HRO and the discrimination that still thrives in Jacksonville.
With the help of Karl Bach of the HRC, we were able to recruit a handful of volunteers for phone banks and many of our important events leading up to the vital city-council election.
May 19th is election day in Jacksonville, the mayoral and city council members that are elected will have direct influence over the fate of the HRO. We are setting the groundwork to educate our supporters, making sure that we can get the LGBT friendly candidates elected.
This is a major month in Jacksonville, many more updates to come!