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Post-9/11 Vets Urge Support of Houston Equal Rights Ordinance on Nov. 3

Proposition 1 protects vets and service members from discrimination

NEW YORK (November 2, 2015) — Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s most diverse and rapidly growing veterans organization in the country, today announced its support for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance “Proposition 1,” which will be on the ballot tomorrow for local voters. IAVA is the latest in a growing list of organizations and businesses to endorse the ordinance, joining the NAACP Houston Branch, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Area Urban League and others.

“IAVA does not just support our veterans, we empower them. Houston veterans deserve and fought for the protections found in the Equal Rights Ordinance, and that’s why we’re proud to support Proposition 1 on Nov. 3,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “Many people are surprised to learn that Houston does not have a local law to protect servicemen, women and veterans from discrimination. That means those who served our country — or are currently serving — can be denied employment, public services and even housing based upon their occupation or veteran status. That is wrong, and that’s why we at IAVA are encouraging Houstonians to stand with our veterans and vote ‘YES’ on Proposition 1 tomorrow.”

While federal protections currently exist for veterans and those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, the cost for filing a federal discrimination case is out of reach for many Houstonians. Earlier this month, Houston Unites began airing an ad explaining why a vote for Proposition 1 is a vote for veterans. In it, Noel Freeman, a retired senior Airman in the United States Air Force, tells his story of being denied a job simply because he served his nation.

“After I got out of the Air Force, I went through three interviews for a job, but a manager told me that he was against all military force, and wouldn’t hire me because I was a veteran,” Freedman states. “There was no local protection. My only choice was to make a federal case out of it. I was unemployed. Where am I going to find the money to hire a lawyer? Veterans need Houstonians to stand up for them by voting ‘YES’ on Proposition 1.”

Last week, IAVA released its updated Policy Agenda – an 11-point comprehensive blueprint for how all levels of government, the private sector, nonprofits and communities can support our nation’s veterans. The agenda calls for improvements to the way federal, state and local governments can improve outreach and support of its veteran residents. For more information, visit iava.org/campaigns.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.