King County Executive Dow Constantine recently ordered that all employee travel to North Carolina be canceled due to detrimental changes in that state’s discrimination protection laws. Metro Transit Interim General Manager Rob Gannon sent the following letter to national transit conference organizers.
March 30, 2016
Dear Mr. Melaniphy:
On behalf of King County Metro Transit and King County Executive Dow Constantine, I urge you to take immediate steps to relocate the APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference scheduled for this coming May in North Carolina.
Last week, North Carolina passed a non-discrimination law that excludes lesbian, gay, and transgender people from that law’s protections while simultaneously barring cities and counties from passing their own protections for LGBT people. It goes further to bar people in North Carolina from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender.
Here in King County, named after the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and with our logo featuring his image, we embrace the values of inclusion and diversity. We cannot allow the taxes and fees paid for by the communities we serve to be used to subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination.
To condemn North Carolina’s new discriminatory law, Executive Constantine has banned all travel by County executive branch staff to that state. To that end, I am directing all sections of Metro to immediately cancel employee travel to the state of North Carolina, and to any other jurisdiction where similar laws are adopted.
This means that unless APTA takes action to move the Bus & Paratransit conference and the International Bus Roadeo scheduled to be held in Charlotte, NC, King County Metro will not participate in any of the meetings, seminars or competitions related to these events.
To further demonstrate our resolve and support of Executive Constantine’s leadership, we will identify all King County contracts with firms headquartered in North Carolina so that our concerns as a customer can be clearly communicated to those with whom we have business relationships, and to coordinate a review of alternatives to those relationships.
I call on APTA and all of its members to demonstrate our industry’s commitment to equity and social justice in the services we provide to our communities. Join King County Metro and Executive Constantine in calling attention to these unconscionable laws and remembering the words of Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Interim General Manager
King County Metro Transit