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Richmond Heights becomes fifth area community to expand nondiscrimination protections

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2012 - Richmond Heights becomes the fourth city in St. Louis County, and the fifth in the region, to approve an ordinance that expands nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered individuals.

PROMO -- Missouri’s statewide advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community – swiftly sent out a statement lauding “the leadership of Mayor James Beck and the Richmond Heights City Council.”

This vote serves as another clear indication of local municipalities having a vested interest in protecting all its citizens from discrimination,” said PROMO executive director A.J. Bockelman. “ As we continue to educate Missourians on LGBT issues, we are finding more and more allies and supporters who believe that their city should protect them.”

PROMO was involved in efforts last year to persuade Olivette, University City and Clayton to pass similar measures. St. Louis also has such protections, as does Kansas City, Jackson County and Columbia, Mo.

Said Richmond Heights Councilwoman Camille Greenwald: “Richmond Heights has a rich tradition of being a welcoming, diverse community. It is only right that we passed this ordinance to protect all our citizens – citizens that built our strong neighborhoods and contribute to our thriving enterprises. This is truly ‘Progress with Tradition.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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