COLUMBIA, S.C. — The executive director of advocacy and education group SC Equality has resigned. Christine Johnson, a former Utah lawmaker who joined the group two years ago, will leave the organization effective in October.
Johnson’s departure comes as SC Equality also unveils its new SC Equality PAC, or “political action committee.” SC Equality Board Chair Jeff Ayers said the new PAC will “rally support for fair-minded candidates who support LGBT equality.”
“It will give our community a voice in the political and legislative process of this state and has the potential to change the political landscape of South Carolina,” Ayers said in an emailed message to supporters and members.
Ayers also thanked Johnson and her work with the organization.
Christine Johnson has been an asset to South Carolina Equality as an advocate for equal rights that we, as SC LGBT citizens, deserve and must consistently demand,” Ayers wrote. “Her tireless and tremendous work over the past two years has helped us to achieve many goals. While Chris will be missed, her inspiring spirit and accomplishments will be carried on. Our accomplishments, as a group, serve as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and how much harder we must work for success. On behalf of the SC Equality Board of Directors, I offer a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Chris.”
Johnson came to the group a short time after former executive director C. Ray Drew stepped down in February 2010. Since then, the group has successfully secured anti-discrimination protections for public LGBT workers Richland County and the City of Columbia. The group was also instrumental in passing public accommodations protections in Richland County and Folly Beach. Recently, the group was able to launch the country’s second pro-LGBT, state-issued license plate.
A South Carolina native, Johnson told supporters via an email today that returning to her homestate brought both challenges and “amazing opportunities.” She also the organization’s visibility had grown.
“The future for SC Equality is bright and full of possibility,” Johnson wrote. “The SC Equality board is the heart and soul of our organization and has already begun the task of find the next executive director to take us to the next level. Someday, with everyone contributing a little time, energy and resources, South Carolina will become a state where equal truly means everyone. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of that fight in South Carolina.”
A kickoff for the SC Equality PAC will be held this Friday, Aug. 24, Noon, at the South Carolina State House, 1100 Gervais St., in Columbia. For more information, visit scequality.org.