You’ve seen the yellow equal signs on blue backgrounds, or pink on red more recently. They popped up on Facebook pages and flags across the country. They symbolize support of marriage equality in the United States and around the world. The Human Rights Campaign was responsible for those flags. HRC chose the equals sign as their logo in 1995, and the symbol has now gone viral.
In 2013, Facebook and Twitter asked supporters to change their profile photos to show their support of marriage equality. It worked. Celebrities such as George Takei, Beyonce, Martha Stewart and others helped draw attention to the movement. Millions of people shared the logo. The HRC has also received support from celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Stanley Tucci, Anne Hathaway, Pink and Lady Gaga.
The Human Rights Campaign, which formed in 1980, has been working for equal rights for the LGBTQ community ever since. They do this through advocacy, mobilization of grassroots initiatives in diverse communities, targeting the election process to bring fair-minded individuals into office and education for the public about LGBT issues.
When they started out as the Human Rights Campaign Fund, their goal primarily dealt with raising money to support pro-fairness congressional candidates. However, they rebranded in 1995 and announced to everyone that, “We’re so much more than a fund,” according to then-Executive Director Elizabeth Birch.
The HRC has diversified and now has three related foundations. The first is for their organization, or the one in charge of outreach, education and advocacy. The second one is for the people, and the third is for their part in the LGBT community.
The HRC Foundation has many branches that all come together to make a whole. Some of these components include the Coming Out Project, Family Project, Diversity Program, Religion and Faith Program, Youth and Campus Outreach Program, Workplace Project and Historically Black Universities and Campus Outreach Program.
The group has had many exciting victories since their inception. Two came through their endorsement of presidential candidate Bill Clinton, in 1992, and Barack Obama in 2008. They helped to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment to outlaw gay marriage in 2004 and 2006. In 2009, after 11 years of advocacy work, Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd. Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. They helped repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and ended the ban on people with HIV entering the country. These are just some of the many achievements of the HRC.
Wouldn’t you want them on your side?