I’ve been involved in feminist and LGBT rights activism for more than 20 years, and I continue to be involved in that work now. You can count on me to continue this work on Council, if elected. Here’s some of what I’ve done so far.
From 2000 to 2006, I organized sideline support for the local Take Back the Night Marches for women’s empowerment and against sexual assault.
In 2002, I exposed OU administrators’ long-running violations of federal legal requirements to inform students and employees of campus crime statistics, reporting procedures, prevention programs, and survivor support resources — violations that coincided with a spate of campus violence against LGBT people and more rapes being reported in OU’s residence halls than at those of any other college or university in our state. And in response, I also helped organize the 300-person student walkout that forced OU into compliance and pressured administrators into agreeing to create the OU Women’s Center. The walkout and campaign that followed also was instrumental in upgrading Women’s Studies to a full-fledged major (now Gender and Sexuality Studies), upgrading the OU LGBT Center’s director to a full-time position, and getting OU to provide domestic partnership benefits to LGBT employees.
From 2003 to 2006, I co-founded then worked within the multi-issue, campus-community group InterAct, which was a base for feminist, LGBT rights, and more general progressive activism, winning “Best Student Organization” in the 2006 Athens News “Best of Athens” Awards.
In 2004, I organized with InterAct against Ohio’s anti-gay marriage amendment here in Athens County, which ended up being the only of Ohio’s 88 counties to vote against the amendment.
From 2005 to 2009, I transformed InterAct’s small, sporadically-published newsletter, The InterActivist, into a monthly magazine, up to 48 pages in length, with a print circulation of 3,000 copies per issue, published by a coalition of 5 different campus and community organizations, produced and democratically managed by an all-volunteer staff of 30 people, serving as a vehicle for publicizing local progressive activism and organizing and simultaneously, during my tenure as Project Coordinator and Editor in Chief, giving a total of 100 progressive young people hands-on experience in journalism and media production. Several of the columnists and reporters I recruited, as well as a good portion of the magazine’s reporting and commentary, were devoted to feminist and LGBT issues and activist organizations. The InterActivist continued to be published until 2017.
More recently, from 2019 to 2021, I helped lead the effort to get the City of Athens to ban source of income discrimination. That is, to ban the formerly widespread practice of Athens landlords refusing to rent to tenants just because they receive public rent assistance, such as HUD Housing Choice vouchers. This was a vital issue for women and LGBT people. Women comprise 80% of voucher recipients in the state of Ohio and relocating to safe, alternative housing is often necessary for escaping domestic violence. At the same time, transgender and nonbinary members of the LGBT community are especially vulnerable to poverty and housing discrimination. I advocated for a SOID ban through my 2019 mayoral campaign, the beginning of my 2021 Council campaign, and from within United Athens County Tenants. The organizations My Sister’s Place and Survivor Advocacy Outreach Project were among those who joined UACT’s effort to get Council to ban SOID, which finally succeeded in June of this year. (For more information about that campaign, and how my opponent Sarah Grace opposed it, please click the “My Record” tab of this website.)
At present I am working as part of UACT’s collaboration with other local organizations to see how the local housing justice movement can work more effectively to eliminate domestic violence as well as sexual harassment against tenants by landlords and their employees.
Finally, I have advocated for electing progressive women and LGBT people to Athens city government. In 2019 I endorsed and collaborated with that year’s only openly queer and youngest woman candidate for Athens city office, Ellie Hamrick. I spent the first 3 months of this year encouraging 100 local progressives to run for Athens city office with a focus on working-class, tenant and BIPOC women and LGBT candidates, and I wrote about the obstacles such would-be candidates face and how we can reduce them. I also supported the candidacy of one of my competitors in this very race, Iris Virjee — a young, working class, tenant, woman of color with a background in progressive campus and community organizing and a degree in city planning — by collecting over 2 dozen signatures to help her get on the ballot.
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Paid for by The Committee to Elect Damon Krane