South Carolina Equality Coalition (SCEC) publicly kicked off our Fairness
for All Families campaign with a press conference in Columbia on June
5. The press conference, though, was just the public announcement. As
you know, we kicked off this campaign over a year ago and we’ve
been going strong ever since.
We hired our campaign manager, Asha Leong, in April and we’ll soon
be hiring field organizers and other staff, as well as opening a campaign
office in Columbia (and we hope regional offices around the state). Our
wonderful executive director, Michael Drennan, has transitioned to a half-time
position, managing the day-to-day work of the organization as we focus
all of our energies and fundraising on the amendment campaign.
In May, Asha kicked off her own work with a tour of the state. We’ve
also held Campaign Action Team meetings in communities across the state.
If you missed the Action Team meeting in your area and would like to get
involved, or if you want to help us organize an Action Team in your area,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move forward, the campaign has three major areas: field, fundraising
We are putting together a giant field campaign. We have already made extraordinary
outreach at public festivals, from the State Fair in Columbia to the Cooper
River Bridge Run in Charleston to the Gallivants Ferry Stump Meeting. Working
with our member organizations SCGLPM and AFFA, we’ve already begun
door-to-door canvassing in Columbia and Charleston.
We know from the experiences of other campaigns that neighborhood canvassing
is the most effective strategy for changing hearts and minds, so with our
new field organizers and the local Action Teams, we will expand this work
across the state in the coming months.
Of course, we can’t do this work without money, so we are continuing
serious fundraising. You can visit www.scequality.org to find out how you
can help us with a donation.
So far, we’ve held house parties all around the state showing oureducational
video in homes, bars, community meetings, and raising awareness and funds
for the campaign. If you would like to host a house party in your area,
send an email to email@example.com.
We’ve also worked to empower the many groups in this state already
doing the groundwork of community organization and education. Thanks to
the extraordinary generosity of our past chair Linda Ketner and her partner
Beth Huntley, SCEC’s matching grant campaign last summer contributed
to the invaluable work of the Business Guild, PFLAG and other member organizations.
We’re doing it again this summer, with our Building Local Capacity
campaign, which runs through July 31. Through this matching grant campaign,
every dollar you give to SCEC or one of our participating member organizations
The final element of our campaign is media. We’ve run radio ads for
rural outreach in the Pee Dee and coastal regions. And we’ll soon
be running print ads in the Upstate.
Much of our focus is on earned media — that is, stories we create
or provide to the local media. If you live in Columbia, you might have
seen the moving interview on ABC with a local lesbian couple in response
to the Palmetto Family Council’s press conference.
about her breast cancer diagnosis, and both she and Roz talked about their
fears about holding their family together and what the amendment means
to them. We need more human stories like that. These stories make a difference.
At our own press conference we had about 30 allies gathered on the steps
with us, and five extraordinary speakers: three straight ministers from
the Clergy Action Network, as well as Asha Leong and the president of the
SC Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement, Kate Goodrich.
If you saw the television coverage, you saw our campaign: lesbian and gay
and straight and transgender folks, white and black and people of color,
clergy and progressive activists and Log Cabin Republicans, domestic violence
advocates, uncles with their nieces and nephews, grandmothers and grandchildren,
families of all shapes and sizes.
When I wake up on election day, Nov. 7, I want to know that we as a community
are stronger, that we know each other and our allies better, and that we
are organized and mobilized, prepared to take on any challenge that comes
our way in the future.