December 16, 2022- Grand Rapids Municipal Equality Index Score Upgraded
This past summer, The Surfus Foundation launched its Grand 100 Campaign in an effort to make Grand Rapids the 5th city in Michigan to have a perfect 100 score on the Municipal Equality Index. We have since been working with the city in partnership to advance key policy priority areas for the LGBTQ+ community. We are focused on work for 2023 to:
Ban Conversion Therapy at the local and state level
Implement Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits for city workers
Advocate for a City Contractor Nondiscrimination Policy update to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination from city partners.
These areas will continue the work of the Grand 100 Campaign to bring us to our goals. We are pleased to celebrate the first increase in the Grand Rapids MEI score in over 3 years. Grand Rapids increased from 92 to 94. Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits could bring us to our 100 score goal. Still, the 100 score is largely a floor or base level of where we want to be on LGBTQ+ inclusivity. We want to work to make Grand Rapidians thrive at every level of economic development and human rights.
July 21, 2022- Grand Rapids City Manager’s Office Update
Dr. Surfus received a call at The Surfus Foundation from the City Manager’s office of the City of Grand Rapids. We will be working with the department that focuses on Diversity and Inclusion for the City of Grand Rapids implement the goals of The Surfus Foundation’s Grand 100 campaign.
July 12, 2022- Surfus Foundation President Dr. Chris Surfus addresses Grand Rapids City Commission.
July 6, 2022 Update
We are taking this important step to make Grand Rapids the 5th city in the State of Michigan to have a 100 score on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Currently, Grand Rapids has a 92 out of 100.
The Surfus Foundation has identified four key focus areas for improvement in its Grand 100 campaign. First, it is essential that the City of Grand Rapids press the State of Michigan to adopt LGBTQ+ inclusive policy. Second, the City of Grand Rapids itself must adopt Transgender-Inclusive Employee Benefits. Third, the Mayor and the City Manager of Grand Rapids need to make public statements condemning Conversion Therapy and press for the State of Michigan to ban such a harmful practice. Finally, the City of Grand Rapids needs to adopt a series of services that connect the nonprofit organizations that provide similar services with the city government services for the LGBTQ+ community. These services include youth (including anti-bullying policies), homeless, transgender, older adults, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
While a combination of the above will get us to 100 on the MEI, it is also important to note that the Public Accommodations component of the MEI are worth 3 points in our journey from 92 to 100. These points can be earned by providing gender-neutral or all gender restrooms in all of the city buildings. Dr. Surfus notes that this progress has been made at City Hall, and that this is perhaps the most involved of the proposed changes. Thus, the four above key focus areas were selected as the easiest path to 100.
Pride Month Update
Grand Rapids, today we celebrate Pride. Tomorrow, we get to work.
The Surfus Foundation will be asking the City of Grand Rapids to adopt LGBTQ+ protections that will make Grand Rapids the 5th Michigan city (after Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, and Ferndale) to achieve a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.
The Surfus Foundation will specifically ask the City of Grand Rapids to adopt the following changes to policy:
Adopt Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits for City of Grand Rapids employees.
Protect youth from harmful Conversion Therapy.
Issue a Proclamation condemning the practice of conversion therapy
Develop policies that are against the use of conversion therapy
Issue a Proclamation urging State of Michigan legislative policy changes to protect the LGBTQ+ community.
Create a network of LGBTQ+ services for youth, those experiencing homelessness, older adults, those living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community that links government resources with nonprofit sector resources.
The Surfus Foundation will be asking Kent County, MI Board of Commissioners to adopt a county-wide Nondiscrimination Policy to protect the LGBTQ+ community in housing, employment, and public accommodations. This includes amending the Human Resources policies of Kent County to protect the LGBTQ+ community.