2/23/11

Maryland Students Today and 55 years ago: Still fighting for Public Accommodations



Fifty five years ago then a college student Dr. Helena Hicks, pictured right, participated in the first ever lunch counter sit in at Reeds, a Maryland department store, protesting black peoples denial of equal access to public accommodations.

Transgender people are still fighting for that same right today. Incredibly, the foe promoting our second class citizenship is "Equality Maryland" a federation member!

On this podcast of The Marc Steiner Show Hicks talks about why Maryland students 55 years ago committed this civil disobedience and why the preservation of this memory is so important.



Hicks recalls “We could go in Read’s and buy a pack of cigarettes or a pack of gum, but you’re hungry and you can’t sit down. It might be cold, it might be raining, it might be snowing and you can’t sit down and drink a hot cup of coffee or cocoa or tea or anything,”

As we all know these courageous acts of defiance ignited the conscious of people of good faith of all colors and eventually resulted in the civil rights act of 1964

Helena Hicks wants to keep developers from tearing down the building that Reeds was housed in so to preserve our memory of this struggle that allowed almost every minority to live as first class citizens.


Today Maryland students are still engaged in the battle for public accommodations. They are asking their state legislators to remember the lessons learned decades ago with blood:
"The 'Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act' bill being introduced into the Maryland house of delegates this session has a serious issue. An issue so big that, if passed, could put full trans equality in the state out of reach for *years*."

"The bill lacks public accommodations protections while providing housing, employment, and credit protections. What this means in practical terms is that trans people can still get thrown out of restaurants, domestic violence shelters, forced off of buses, really most anything."

"Imagine the civil rights act of 1964 without protections in restaurants, bathrooms, buses, etc."

"And if the bill DOES pass without public accommodations, then that protection will be nearly impossible to get because any attempt to bring it to the floor will be met with 'Bathroom bill' and basically get laughed out of committee."
Lessons forgotten! Has Morgan Meneses-Sheets forgotten the value of human dignity?


In a recent conversation with Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland
she incredulously harrumphed when I asked her what reality would be like now if public accommodations had not been included in the civil rights acts.

Yet amazingly she is persisting in promoting Maryland HB235 a transgender "equality" bill without public accommodations.

HB235 is resurrecting the concept of humanity that those who voted against that legislation in 1964 believed in. They believed that people of color, as transphobes do today, could work for them and support their business but that they could not share in their public spaces.


Maryland students understand, why can't Morgan Meneses-Sheets?