Sarah Scanlon, regional field director with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) national office recently visited Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville, in a three-day visit to Tennessee.
The visit inaugurated Scanlon’s on-the-ground efforts to assist the GLBT communities in our areas by real, person-to-person contact for information and support.
Scanlon is assigned to the Southern states, Ohio, and the Pacific Northwest. Born in Louisiana and raised in Arkansas, she comes to this position with a wealth of experience born of her family’s interest in politics and her involvement at an early age. Her 27-year stay in Arkansas also gave her the opportunity to work for Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial campaigns.
Her assignment to the Pacific Northwest seems a bit odd at first blush, but is explained by her move to Seattle in the 1980s where she was active in Queer National and Act Up.
Scanlon’s background includes running several successful political campaigns as she put her efforts behind progressive candidates at a time when conservatives were being overwhelmingly elected. She has also worked as a union lobbyist, lending her voice to the Service Employees International Union.
In Chattanooga on Friday, July 14, Scanlon accompanied her partner, Barbara L’Eplattenier, who was receiving the Book of the Year award by the Writing Program Administrators (WPA) in recognition of her editing skills. WPA is a national association of college and university faculty with professional interests in directing writing programs.
Scanlon’s next stop was Knoxville on Saturday, June 15. Her Knoxville visit included an audience with more than a dozen local activists including representatives of PFLAG, MCC-K, the Lesbian Business Alliance, the Knox Area LGBT Business Directory, Human Rights Meetup Group, the Greater Knoxville LGBTQ Leadership Council, “Out & About Newspaper’s” East Bureau, Knoxville’s transgender community, Lesbian Social Group, Gyrl Groove, Gay Men’s Discussion Group, Tennessee Equality Project, and other interested community members. Discussion and food were in plentiful supply as the group addressed issues including hate crimes, HRC national goals, transgender issues, the upcoming anti-marriage equality ballot initiative, GLBT community interface with various religious groups, the importance of voter registration, and other topics.
Scanlon then went to Nashville on Sunday where she spent time conferring with HRC Nashville Governing Committee members as well as TEP leaders.