Mayor Stoney Announces the City of Richmond has the Highest Municipal Equality Index Score in Virginia
Mayor Stoney is proud to announce that the City of Richmond received the highest Municipal Equality Index scorecard in the Commonwealth of Virginia as determined by the Human Rights Campaign. Out of the 11 municipalities scored in Virginia, Richmond received a 94. Out of the 506 municipalities scored in 2018, the City of Richmond experienced the most significant score increase nationwide.
Richmond was named a “MEI All-Star” and spotlighted as a “city boldly leading the way to equality” in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 MEI report.
“I am thrilled that Richmond has taken so many positive steps to protect and support our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have always said that no matter the color of your skin, the neighborhood you live in, or who you love, that you are welcome in the City of Richmond – and Richmond’s 2018 MEI scorecard echoes that message.”
Each year the Human Rights Campaign rates cities across the United States based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. This process is called their Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scorecard where cities are scored from 0-100 on items such as non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, inclusive workplaces, and LGBTQ liaisons in the city’s executive office, to name a few.
In 2017, Richmond received a 42 on the MEI scorecard. By working with City Council to establish a Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws, designating a policy advisor to serve as the Mayor’s LGBTQ liaison, and offering transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, Richmond was able to increase its score by 52 points since 2017.
Richmond’s score increase is celebrated by state groups such as Equality Virginia, a non-profit that advocates for equality for LGBTQ Virginians, and Virginia Pride, an organization that provides support and resources for the LGBTQ community.
“The work for full lived equality begins in our local communities,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Equality Virginia applauds the efforts of Mayor Stoney and the Richmond City Council towards creating a city where gay and transgender people can live, work, and play free from discrimination. To see Richmond’s MEI score double in one year shows just how seriously Mayor Stoney values creating an inclusive city.”
“The work that Mayor Stoney’s Administration has done to make Richmond a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ community members to live, work, and visit is incredible,” said James Millner, President of Virginia Pride. “Mayor Stoney campaigned on making Richmond a more inclusive city that celebrates its diversity and he has kept his promise.”
“I am delighted that Richmond is able to progress at this level,” said Mayor Stoney. “However, we would not have been able to make it this far without the help of officials, such as Councilmembers Parker Agelasto and Ellen Robertson, who were key in moving Richmond’s Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws forward in the city council.”
Fortune 500 companies look to the Human Rights Campaign report as a guide to where they may relocate as they need cities that reflects their values.
Local organizations have also demonstrated support of Richmond’s efforts to protect the LGBTQ community.
“Richmond is leading the way on a national level,” said Bill Harrison, Executive Director of Diversity Richmond, an organization dedicated to being a voice and resource for LGBTQ Richmonders. “Mayor Stoney is building bridges to make Richmond a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous city.”
“We are grateful for Mayor Stoney’s leadership to make Richmond a more inclusive place,” said Katherine O’Donnell, Richmond Region Tourism Executive Vice President. “Celebrating diversity and equality is important for Richmonders, as well as visitors. With tourism in our region continuing to grow, the Human Rights Campaign’s latest index score is a reminder to LGBTQ+ travelers that Richmond is welcoming, friendly and open to all.”
Mayor Stoney said that the news should be celebrated by the entire city.
“We have come a long way over the past two years, and will continue our great work to make Richmond more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.”