**Originally published on NCTE’s Official Website** By: Joanna Cifredo
It’s always a good day when we have the opportunity to partner with allied organizations on shared goals to improve the lives of our communities. Recently I had the chance to partner to lobby alongside our good friends at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). LULAC has long been a strong voice for LGBTQ people. So when I was invited to join their annual lobby day I jumped at the opportunity.
Of the many meetings participants had with Members of Congress and their staff during the lobby day, I was able to participate in five—with Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Congresswomen Grace Meng of New York and Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, as well as with a member of California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez’s office, and a member of Resident Commissioner to Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi’s office.
Among pieces of legislation we advocated for were the Equality Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that would extend equal protections to LGBTQ people throughout the US. We continued to push for the Student Non-Discrimination Act also known as SNDA, and we urged the members to advance a solution to the financial crisis facing Puerto Rico.
Another focus of our conversation was the Sentencing Reform Act in the House—a bi-partisan piece of legislation that would serve to reduce mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenses—which is being considered at the same time as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act before the Senate. This piece of legislation would significantly reduce our prison population overtime and has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ people of color, so it is of particular interest, not just to us, but our partners at LULAC who advocate on issues impacting those in the Latinx community.
In fact, just last month NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling published an op-edin The Hill with the Executive Director’s the National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on why criminal justice reform is so important to the LGBTQ community particularly LGBTQ people of color.
It is always an honor to collaborate with our colleagues like LULAC around shared goals to improve the lives of trans people. To take action and support these efforts, please contact your House Representatives and urge them to support the Sentencing Reform Act and contact your Senators to call on them to bring support and bring the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act to a vote.