LGBT Chamber Rescinds CoreCivic Membership

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Nashville’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted last night to rescind the membership of CoreCivic and refund the company’s $300 membership fee.

The decision came after an outreach meeting for the board to hear concerns from the community about the initial decision to allow CoreCivic to join the chamber.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in that discussion. We appreciate your input and all perspectives on the issues at stake,” the board said in a press release.

The release went on to state, “CoreCivic is a large corporation based in Middle Tennessee with a large number of LGBT employees around the country. CoreCivic reached out to us to help them provide more resources to their LGBT employees and to broaden diversity with their suppliers. In order to work with CoreCivic on those initiatives, the Nashville LGBT Chamber board accepted their application and fees for corporate membership. That membership did not imply a tacit endorsement on how they handle all LGBT issues or condone all of their business practices.

The voices at our meeting last night were very clear. Their membership was too much for many in our LGBT community. We heard those concerns and last night our board voted to remove CoreCivic as a member and return their $300 membership fee. While CoreCivic will not be a member of our organization, the reasons we originally accepted their application to join are still true. Every industry has members of the LGBT community who are employees. It’s part of our mission to advocate for them and educate employers on how to support the needs of our community. To both support those employees and to fulfill our mission, we have extended an offer to work with CoreCivic on those initiatives but not as a member.”

The full statement from the Chamber’s board of director’s is below.

Statement on Core Civic Membership

 

October 9, 2019

Open & Equal. That’s what we want for Nashville and for Tennessee. The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce has a clear mission: We advocate and educate to promote equity and diversity in business and society. We believe in the power that businesses have to promote equality.

Last night, we held an outreach meeting to listen to concerns from the community about our decision to let CoreCivic join our organization. Thank you to everyone who participated in that discussion. We appreciate your input and all perspectives on the issues at stake.

CoreCivic is a large corporation based in Middle Tennessee with a large number of LGBT employees around the country. CoreCivic reached out to us to help them provide more resources to their LGBT employees and to broaden diversity with their suppliers. In order to work with CoreCivic on those initiatives, the Nashville LGBT Chamber board accepted their application and fees for corporate membership. That membership did not imply a tacit endorsement on how they handle all LGBT issues or condone all of their business practices.

The voices at our meeting last night were very clear. Their membership was too much for many in our LGBT community. We heard those concerns and last night our board voted to remove CoreCivic as a member and return their $300 membership fee. While CoreCivic will not be a member of our organization, the reasons we originally accepted their application to join are still true. Every industry has members of the LGBT community who are employees. It’s part of our mission to advocate for them and educate employers on how to support the needs of our community. To both support those employees and to fulfill our mission, we have extended an offer to work with CoreCivic on those initiatives but not as a member.

Over the past 20 years, it has been the work of our founders, directors, staff, members and community partners to make significant strides in Nashville’s LGBT business community. We have a history of working with companies who previously were against the LGBT community. They reached out to us with a desire to open up a dialogue and look into ways we could help them understand the issues that LGBT individuals face and how they could be part of the change. We did not slam the door on these companies or individuals. Instead, we welcomed them to the table for discussions on how they can rectify relations with our community. In many cases, these scenarios have helped these companies amend their standards to become more inclusive and become major allies when it comes to helping us in our pledge to better the lives of all LGBT persons.

We do not take our mission lightly. We value feedback from our members and the community. We believe in the collective power of our LGBT and Ally business community and will continue to support all businesses that pledge to keep Nashville Open & Equal.

Sincerely,
Board of Directors
Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce