Founded in 1980 by a group of civic and religious leaders concerned about the rising tide of intolerance sweeping our nation, People For the American Way seeks to counter the forces of social discord and fragmentation with an affirmation of "the American Way." By this we mean respect for diversity; freedom of thought, expression, and religion; equal justice; and a sense of community. In keeping with this mission, People For the American Way has long vigorously opposed discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS. In addition, we are a primary source of information on the anti-gay agenda of the Religious Right, providing thorough research and hard-hitting advocacy in response to the Right's assault on sexuality education and AIDS awareness. When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched their Prevention Marketing Initiative, we worked closely with CDC staff and other participants, predicting the likely response from the Right to the advertising campaign, and then disseminating the details of that response by way of newsclips, transcripts of right-wing radio programs, copies of newsletters and direct mail from national Religious Right groups.
People For the American Way is currently the only organization that produces an annual report and monthly updates on anti-gay public policy activity at the national, state and local levels across the country. In Hostile Climate, we report on ballot referenda, legislative initiatives, court cases and even attempts to censor art and literature with gay themes. Hostile Climate serves as a valuable resource to those involved in battles against discrimination affecting the lives of lesbians and gay men.
For 13 years, People For the American Way has produced Attacks on the Freedom to Learn, an annual report of challenges to educational materials and programs in public schools. In preparing the report, we work closely with parents and educators. In recent years, right wing censors have targeted HIV/AIDS education, characterizing these programs as recruiting tools for the gay community, and fighting to remove them from the public school curriculum. In those states in which HIV/AIDS education is mandated by law, the Right's efforts focus on "cleansing" the program of any mention of homosexuality. People For the American Way has been there to document these censorship attempts, provide material and organizing assistance to those in local communities working to keep HIV/AIDS education in the curriculum, and to alert the public to the attacks on these lifesaving programs.
In Congress, the the People For the American Way Action Fund has fought to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, (ENDA), prohibiting employment discrimination against gay men and lesbians. And, in several states, the Action Fund has worked to defeat anti-gay ballot initiatives. For example, in January 1995, the Action Fund helped prevent passage of a ballot initiative that would have repealed local civil rights protections for gay men and lesbians in West Palm Beach, Florida. And, in Tampa, the Action Fund helped the "No on One Campaign" in its successful legal challenge, blocking a similar initiative from the ballot.
People For the American Way is 300,000 members strong with a national staff in Washington of 75, and regional offices in New York, California, Texas, Colorado, Georgia and Florida.
People For the American Way
2000 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036