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Letter to the Editor

Re: North Carolina’s LGBT law

I’m reaching out for some advice and to see if maybe anyone might want to get involved.

Ever since North Carolina passed their House Bill 2 aka “the potty bill,” I’ve had reservations about specifying architectural materials or furniture originating in North Carolina. House Bill 2 not only rolled back protections passed by the city of Charlotte to extend civil rights to LGBT citizens, but went further to nullify previously existing civil rights for all LGBT people throughout the state.

Many of my clients have corporate or institutional policies that prohibit discrimination of any type and require respect for all people. A sentiment echoed by Drake Design Associates’ own policies. Many of our industry peers & associates are members of the LGBT community. Yet a lot of our contract furniture and architectural finish materials are made in North Carolina, a state that now has a policy of discrimination as a result of House Bill 2.

So, here lies the difficulty with specifying and purchasing products from North Carolina.

To be fair I don’t want to paint all North Carolina-based manufacturers and suppliers with the same broad brush that would lump them in with their own state legislatures’ institutionalizing blatant discrimination. By way of example, Brian Moynihan the CEO of Bank of America headquartered in North Carolina, has been leading the fight to repeal House Bill 2. As a public company with a market cap of $235.5 billion, Bank of America is not intimidated from speaking out against discrimination and for basic civil rights.

Conversely, when asking a North Carolina furniture manufacturer last week for their policy regarding House Bill 2 prior to specification, a reply was sent back from the CEO that as a public company they can’t make political statements. He went further to state that as a company they do not discriminate and sup-port personal “choice.” The CEO, through his local rep, also offered to discuss the concern over House Bill 2 by phone.

By way of this letter, is anyone willing to join me in this phone conversation to respectfully discuss our concern with House Bill 2 and why it’s so important that all members of our design community, from manufacturer to specifier, stand up for civil rights and non-discrimination? If so, please email me at drakedesignassociates@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Janet Drake, Assoc. AIA

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