maryjholliday (maryjholliday) wrote in riotsnotdiets,

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The MA anti-size discrimination bill

If you live (or have lived) in the state of Massachusetts, you can help get this bill passed. Read below. Thanks to Susan Stinson for the info!

Change the World in Two Minutes

“Passing the San Francisco height/weight legislation rocked! It was the most important project I have ever been involved with. We worked together and made history! San Francisco became the third city in the country where weight discrimination is illegal meaning people of all sizes have the same rights to get a job, go to the theater in a seat that fits and receive discrimination-free medical care.”
-Sondra Solovay

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You have an amazing chance to make legislative change right now, not just for one city, but for the entire state of Massachusetts . Not only can you help guarantee equality for people of all sizes in Massachusetts , it is likely that others sates could follow that lead. Please make the time to advance equality for people of all sizes. It is unlikely that you will ever again have the chance to have such a big impact with such a small amount of work.

A hearing will be held in September to see if Massachusetts should outlaw height and weight discrimination. There is already legislative support for this, which normally is that hardest part. The date is not yet set for the hearing.

Here’s what needs to happen in the next few weeks:

(1) Testify for 2 minutes.
Share your story of discrimination at the hearing. We need Massachusetts residents (whether current or former) to tell compelling stories of discrimination or prejudice to help people understand why there needs to be a law. We are coordinating the testimony. Please consider whether you have any story related to the following topics:
Employment discrimination
Housing discrimination (rental, for example)
Prejudice in healthcare
Discrimination by police
Prejudice faced in any level of school (by teachers, students, seating problems, etc.)
Problems in any commercial setting (rude store clerk, for example)
Inaccessibility in public accommodations
Combination of size and race discrimination
Combination of size and sex discrimination
A religious commitment to equality for all people
Even if you think your story is not worth telling, contact us.

(2) Pledge to get people to attend the hearing.
The hearing room should be packed with people of all sizes who care about the passage of this law. This is a historic moment that you don’t want to miss.

(3) Provide expert testimony at the hearing.
If you are an expert in fat studies, the intersection between size discrimination and race or sex discrimination, or Health at Every Size, you are needed. Bonus points if you are a Massachusetts resident, have been in the past or have some tie to the state.

(4) Find others to testify.
Reach out to other people who face discrimination because of their height or weight and put them in contact with us.

(5) Write letters to the paper.
Be prepared to respond to negative reports in the paper with letters to the editor or other commentary. Take the time to respond if you see a negative article. Typically your letter to the editor can be very short. Just explain why the law is needed and ask for support.

How to get involved:

If you can help in any way, whether by testifying or by organizing people to attend the hearing, please contact Beth at

And, here's a link to a couple of articles from Radiance magazine about what Sondra and others did to get the San Francisco law passed, and moving hearing testimony from a brave, tough and articulate sixteen year-old who helped change that part of the world.
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