READING LOOKS TO THE FUTURE ON MUNICIPAL EQUALITY INDEX
Updated: Mar 7, 2021
READING, Pa.: Reading scored 91 out of a possible 100 points on the ninth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) as measured and announced by the Human Rights Commission this month, placing it in the top 25% of inclusive cities nationwide.
Each year, the Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, rates cities across the United States based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities through laws, policies, and services. Municipalities are awarded points for initiatives like non-discrimination laws and inclusive health benefits and workplaces. While Reading’s score remained static from last year, it represents a solidly continued improvement from 2018’s score of 77%.
“Full inclusivity has incredible benefits for cities and towns,” said Michelle Dech, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading. “Inclusivity drives economic growth. As companies expand, employees and young professionals seek a home that embraces their whole selves and fosters opportunities to collaborate with people of varied perspectives. With exciting initiatives bringing even more diversity into our area, we are very focused on building an even more diverse and inclusive community.”
Key among the measures included in the MEI are active recruitment of LGBTQ+ employees or conducting LGBTQ+ inclusive diversity training. Taking the steps included in the index can help cities not only foster an inclusive, cohesive environment, but also create opportunities for economic growth and investment. Many Fortune 500 companies rely on the HRC’s annual report as a guide for relocation and expansion, stating that the inclusion of all people helps support a more diverse workforce and provides a high quality of life for all employees.
“The LGBT Center of Greater Reading is committed to ensuring equity for all those in our community, and we have worked diligently over the last two years with Kim Talbot, Executive Director of the Reading Human Relations Commission, to improve our score and build a more inclusive Reading. We are committed to partnering with with local, county and state officials to identify areas of opportunity and provide the tools necessary for improvement,” said Dech.