CEO of Florida-based LGBTQ advocacy group speaks against hate in St. Pete

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Nadine Smith at St. Petersburg History Museum // Credit: Chris Young 6/7/23

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Co-founder of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, spoke to a civic group in downtown St Petersburg on Wednesday.  The advocate and Florida native stressed the importance of taking action amidst Florida’s crackdown on LGBTQ rights.

About 20 years ago, Nadine Smith gave a speech in front of an audience of the civic group Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. Back then, she was fighting for marriage equality.

Now, she speaks to a crowd at the St. Petersburg Museum of History with a different message, but similar sentiment.

“It’s good to be back, the world has changed quite a bit since then.”

Smith was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People last year for her work with Equality Florida. Despite her advocacy achievements, she made it clear that the work is not over.

“We are fighting to preserve things that did not exist when I was growing up. We’re fighting to preserve the things we had to fight for before. So what that tells us is we know how to fight for them and win.”

Throughout her speech, she gave personal experiences of her time fighting for justice. She told allies how they can support LGBTQ progress in Florida, and gave her take on Florida’s anti-gay legislation, and the response it’s seen from businesses.

“Businesses have been a little timid in the face of DeSantis. They’ve seen what he’s done to Disney, they are fearful of his pettiness, but this is the moment where standing up matters”

She encouraged listeners to continue to fight for justice.

“Talk to your legislators and make sure they have a sense of accountability, because when they’re in Tallahassee the only person they felt accountable to is Ron Desantis”

You can learn how to get involved at Equality Florida’s website, eqfl.org.

 

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