On Wednesday evening, September 29th, we drove to the Columbus Museum of Art where we represented Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC at an Equality Ohio event that celebrated the contributions of allies and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community over the past year(s).
As we read on its website, allies are “those outside the LGBTQ+ community who support, defend, sustain, partner with, and champion the work of Equality Ohio, are a cherished part of our community” whereas advocates are LGBTQ+ community members deserving of recognition because their work “is bolder, more courageous, and more game-changing than ever before” so it is “a privilege to honor and celebrate both communities!”
Among those honored at this time was Ms. Tessa Xuan, the daughter of parents who immigrated to the United States from China, and is now the statewide co-Director of OPAWL, which is a grassroots member-led community that organizes for social justice and elevates the voices, visibility, and progressive leadership of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and nonbinary people in Ohio.”
Unfortunately, Ms. Xuan wasn’t present (i.e. as was the case with most of the honorees) but a clip of her accepting her award was screened in which she talked about how learning about her family/cultural history has figured prominently in making life choices like her involvement with OPAWL which has been most rewarding.
In her remarks, Ms. Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio, noted that seven localities had passed non-discriminatory measures in the midst of the pandemic; the Ohio Fairness Act has been re-introduced in both houses of the Ohio Legislature and has received more bi-partisan support than ever before; and Equality Ohio’s legal clinic has helped “hundreds of LGBTQ+ Ohioans successfully navigate systems and agencies that simply weren’t designed to support LGBTQ+ families.”
On this matter, we conversed with an Equality Ohio attorney who told us that sometimes the foreign-born seek help on issues pertaining to housing, family law, and record-sealing and during the resolution of these cases, problems that they may have pertaining to their immigration status often come to the surface and are discussed.
This gathering was attended by Equality Ohio supporters from all over the state, so we got to say hello to quite a few people that we had not seen in quite a while that we have mentioned in this blog before like Ms. Mary Zaller, Mr. Jim Obergefell, Ms. Kate Kennedy, Ms. Karen Slaven, Mr. John Farina and Ohio State Representative Kent Smith (District 8-Democrat) who was there with his assistant, Ms. Bettina Hahn-Lawson.
It was also quite nice when Ms. Siobhan Boyd-Nelson, Equality Ohio’s Director of Development and External Relations, told us that she was very grateful for the support that Ms. Margaret W. Wong has given to the LGBTQ+ community.