NRPA CEO: Discriminatory bills deny citizens equal access to public spaces.
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, today urged Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and state legislators to rescind recently signed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. These laws will make parks and recreation in Tennessee less inclusive, less safe, and less enjoyable.
In a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Rep. Cameron Sexton, NRPA commits to not holding future conferences in Tennessee with anti-LGBTQ+ laws on the books.
“These newly enacted laws are not only discriminatory, but they also harm and single out an already marginalized community,” said NRPA President and CEO Kristine Stratton. “Excluding any child from enjoying the myriad benefits of public outdoor recreation spaces and programs is cruel and unacceptable.”
The 2021 NRPA Annual Conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, September 21-23. NRPA did not want to do further harm to the Nashville community by taking away an estimated $6.4 million in business generated during the event. NRPA will not hold future conferences and events in Tennessee with discriminatory legislation in place.
Inclusive, sustainable, and well-funded park and recreation spaces, programming and services bring lifesaving and life-enhancing benefits to a community. NRPA’s membership—which includes more than 60,000 park and recreation professionals, advocates, patrons and suppliers—are committed to working toward a future where all people have fair and just access to quality spaces, programs, and services.
NRPA members provide essential services that build strong, healthy, and resilient communities by advancing three pillars:
- equity — ensuring the full power of parks and recreation creates a better life for everyone,
- health and wellness at the individual and community levels, and
- conservation for resilient and climate-ready communities.
“Instead of deepening systemic inequity, we should ensure that all people have equitable access to public spaces. Our goal is to dismantle barriers to equity and inclusion so that everyone has fair and welcome access to public spaces,” said Stratton.
NRPA remains dedicated to supporting open and inclusive spaces for all people, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, sexual or gender identity, and disabled or non-disabled status.
To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.