As the head of Freedom to Work, Tico Almeida is at the forefront of the campaign to get Congress to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity on the national level. Almeida has been working on ENDA since he served as lead counsel for the House of Representative’s Committee on Education and Labor from 2007 to 2010, and had a hand in drafting many portions of the bill. In 2011, he launched Freedom to Work as a national organization solely focused on ending anti-LGBT bias in the workplace.
And America is on his side: A 2011 poll showed that 73% of voters support protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination, far more than endorse marriage equality. Even the GOP is on board, with 66% percent of Republicans supporting ENDA’s basic tenets. Major corporations have also endorsed the measure, including Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Nike and General Mills.
On the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington—which was originally envisioned as The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—NewNowNext sat down with Almeida to talk about the need for ENDA, what it means for the community and the link between workers’ rights and civil rights. Check it out above.