Rainbow Chamber Denounces Trump Administration Roll-back of Transgender Student Protections

Roll-back of Guidelines Guaranteeing Access to Gender-Appropriate Facilities Violates Civil Rights of Transgender Youth

Richard A Hernandez, Rainbow Chamber PresidentSacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Richard Hernandez has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors in regard to actions of the Trump administration revoking guidelines protecting transgender students:

“The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the recent actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration to overturn guidelines issued in 2016 guaranteeing all students access to gender-segregated facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms in federally funded schools.

“Growing up is hard enough for any child. Transgender children, faced with the added challenge of living in bodies that do not match their gender identities, are particularly vulnerable to bullying, discrimination, depression and suicide. Yet, with support from the institutions and the adults in their lives, we know that these courageous young people can succeed in school and become healthy, productive members of our communities and our workforce.

“No person, adult or child, should be singled out to use a separate facility or forced to seek special permission simply to use a restroom or shower facility where he or she feels safe. Protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender should not be left to the discretion of state officials, just as protection from discrimination based on religious affiliation or ethnicity is not applied on a state-by-state basis.

“As many of America’s largest corporations continue to affirm, prejudice and discrimination against any group of people is harmful for families and bad for economic growth. The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, which represents LGBT business owners and their allies in a six-county region, urges the Trump administration to reconsider its action and to reinstate the 2016 guidelines advising federally funded schools to ensure the safety, dignity and equal rights of all students in using gender-segregated facilities.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.


Rainbow Chamber Endorses Measure B, Prop 55

RainbowPAC, the non-partisan political action committee of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of commerce, has endorsed two ballot measures in the November 2016 general election: Sacramento County Measure B and California Proposition 55.

Sacramento County Measure B: THE ROAD MAINTENANCE & TRAFFIC RELIEF ACT OF 2016, proposes a 30-year, half-cent sales tax that will be used for road and infrastructure maintenance and upgrades and transportation projects. Measure B is a local, Sacramento County ordinance that specifies in a spending plan approved by all the municipalities in the county how the funds must be spent. Portions are allocated for improving mass transit—and requiring Regional Transit to reach certain goals before receiving funds—road and bridge maintenance and some new projects, including extension of the existing light rail system. Changes to this plan can only be made every 10 years, again with ratification of all municipalities in Sacramento County. The funding allocated in Proposition B also will allow Sacramento to qualify for increased federal transit funding. Infrastructure maintenance and improvement are critical to the economic growth and prosperity of our region.

California Proposition 55 would extend for an additional 12 years an added income tax on the highest earners in the state passed by state legislature four years ago (Proposition 30), with funds allocated to schools, hospitals and healthcare and the state’s Rainy Day Fund. New provisions will provide mandated tracking of the funds spent. The sales tax portion of Prop 30 will not be extended.

In accordance with RainbowPAC endorsement procedures, the PAC board, after careful consideration and research, recommended endorsement of both measures to the Rainbow Chamber Board of Directors. A majority of board members voted to endorse both measures, and an overwhelming majority of Chamber members who participated in an email vote also voted for endorsement.

RainbowPAC Endorses Measure B, Proposition 55


Darrick Lawson Named Rainbow Chamber’s 2015 Business Leader of the Year

Darrick Lawson, Rainbow Chamber Business Leader of the Year 2015Dr. Darrick Lawson, owner of Healing Touch Chiropractic, civic leader and LGBT activist, has been named Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Leader of the Year.

Lawson is a former board member and past president of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and founded the organization’s RainbowPAC. He was instrumental in helping to pass AB 1960 in 2012, which requires the state Department of General Services to collect and report voluntarily submitted information on LGBT-owned companies who contract with the state.

“I am proud to have built a successful business as an openly gay man, and to have worked with organizations such as the Chamber, the Stonewall Democrats and other institutions to create a diverse, inclusive economic environment in Sacramento where all people can be valued for their contributions rather than excluded for their differences,” Lawson said. “I am honored to receive the Business Leader of the Year recognition.”

“Darrick is an example to all of us of someone who has succeeded in business, in his family and personal relationships, and in his community,” said Chamber President Paul Weubbe. “Despite the demands of running a thriving practice Darrick gives generously of his time and leadership experience. He is an excellent choice for our 2015 Business Leader of the Year.”

The Business Leader of the Year is selected by a panel of Chamber and community leaders and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership success within his or her business and the business community as well as within the Sacramento LGBT community and who has and will continue to serve as a role model for the Greater Sacramento community.

Lawson received his doctorate from the Cleveland Chiropractic College in 1991, passed his state exam and joined a Central Valley practice, where he became a partner within one year. In 2000 he relocated to Sacramento, helped build a successful practice in Orangevale, and in 2003 opened his own Midtown Sacramento office, which has grown steadily every year since.

Lawson has served on the Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission for six years and is a former chair of the commission. He was appointed by then Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg to the Capitol Area Committee, which oversees development of state-owned property located near the Capitol. He has served on U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Lawson is a founding vice president and former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento and a co-chair of the LGBT Redistricting Committee, which helped establish Sacramento’s LGBT community as a “community of interest” for city and county redistricting purposes. He is a 2012 recipient of the Stonewall Democrats Founder’s Award.

State of the Chamber Message to RCC Members


Dear RCC Members,

On behalf of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Board of Directors, I’m wishing you a healthy, happy and successful 2014.

As we begin this year, the Board and I felt it was important to share with you some upcoming changes to our staffing and infrastructure and tell you about some exciting new programs and opportunities designed to help your business succeed and grow.

Executive Director Resignation

To begin with, we report with mixed emotions that Nikki Whitfield has resigned her position as Chamber Executive Director in order to pursue a new opportunity with St. John’s Women’s Shelter in Sacramento. Although we are saddened to lose Nikki’s charismatic leadership, energy and talent, we also understand that Nikki is following her heart in serving an organization that makes such an important contribution to our community. We wish her every success in her new position.

We are fortunate that Sara Freid continues to serve as our Business Manager. The Board is considering our staffing requirements pending a decision about recruitment for an Executive Director position.

RCC Website Redesign

Another big change is one that will be welcomed by many of you. Our Board and staff has heard from members that our Chamber website is not as user-friendly and easy to navigate as it could be. You spoke, and we listened.

We are pleased to announce the Chamber has contracted with LimeWorks Inc., an RCC member, to completely redesign our website. We also are in the process of converting our existing membership management system to ChamberMaster®, a powerful and easy-to-use system utilized by many of our sister LGBT chambers of commerce and other business organizations throughout the United States. As with any construction site, we know there will be a little bit of dust during the project, but once the new site is up and running, we will have a dynamic, informative website offering a greatly improved experience both for our members and members of the public who want to learn more about RCC. We expect the new site to be completed in spring 2014. The contract for website redesign was awarded to LimeWorks Inc. following a competitive RFP process.

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Affiliation & Opportunities

RCC’s affiliation with NGLCC offers a number of opportunities benefiting our members and their businesses. Businesses that are at least 51% LGBT-owned are eligible for NGLCC’s LGBT Business Enterprise Certification, the only LGBT certification recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Certification puts you in touch with potential opportunities to do business with scores of NGLCC’s corporate partners in every major industry—names such as Wells Fargo, Ernst & Young, Wyndham Hotels, and IBM, to name just a few. Thanks to our affiliation with NGLCC, the cost of the $400 certification is waived for Rainbow Chamber members.

In 2014, NGLCC’s 11th Annual Business Leadership Conference, which brings together several hundred LGBT-certified businesses and the major corporate partners who want to do business with them for a three-day networking dream, will be held in Las Vegas, July 29-August 1. It’s affordable, close to home, and we hope to have a large contingent of RCC members in attendance. It is one of the best business conferences you will ever attend.

Last but not least, NGLCC is inviting RCC member businesses to participate in a remarkable internship program of the Add Us In Coalition. Participating employers will be matched with a prescreened, qualified intern whose education and skills meet the employer’s business needs. The best part is that a portion of the stipend paid to the interns will be reimbursed by Add Us In. One of our own RCC members, WriteAway Communications Services, hired two interns from the Add Us In program in 2013, with outstanding results. NGLCC’s Director of Affiliate Relations and Add Us In program staff will hold a free informational workshop about the program here in Sacramento on February 19th. We’ll keep you posted on time and location.

$25 Discount on Exhibit Space at LGBT Wedding Expo

RCC is teaming up with member Outword Media Marketing & Events and Details Details Events & Conference Planning to co-host the second Sacramento LGBT Wedding Expo Tuesday, February 18th, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel. This event will correspond with RCC’s February Monthly Mixer, and we hope all of you will attend and enjoy the party! Attendance is free for both members and guests, but be sure to let us know you’re coming by registering at www.rainbowchamber.com/events2.

As event co-sponsors, RCC members will receive a $25 discount off the $350 exhibit space. Hundreds attended the first expo, held in August 2013, and many of the couples attending found photographers, caterers, venues, décor, wedding couture and jewelry to create the weddings of their dreams. February’s mixer will be a great place to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cake and wine tastings and the sounds of dueling DJs while your friends strut and model in House of Fashion’s bridal fashion show.


RainbowPAC is the Chamber’s non-partisan political action committee founded in 2012. Under the leadership of PAC Chair Paul Weubbe, we are launching a broad-based outreach campaign targeted both to members of the LGBT community who are not currently members of RCC and to members of allied communities. RainbowPAC fills a unique role in our city and state by marrying the values of equality, diversity and inclusion with support for pro-business candidates and ballot initiatives. Stay tuned for news about upcoming fundraising events and candidate endorsement meetings. Only RCC members will be able to vote on candidate endorsements.

Our first RainbowPAC event of 2014 will be a Champagne Brunch fundraiser at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 25, generously hosted and sponsored by the Dante Club! We hope to see all of you there. To register, please visit rainbowchamber.com/events and click on the registration link.

Rainbow Chamber Foundation

Our non-profit Foundation, led by Chamber Vice President Joey O’Shea, is starting the year with an outreach campaign to Sacramento-region high schools, community colleges and universities. Since 2007, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation has awarded 22 scholarships to LGBT or LGBT-supportive students, funded entirely by Chamber fundraising efforts such as our Annual Gala and raffles at our monthly mixers.

For 2014, we are proud to announce a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) Scholarship, generously funded by RCC corporate sponsor SMUD!

Monthly Mixers

Our new Events Committee, led by RCC Board Member David Andersen, is busy making plans for exciting mixers and other events in 2014. Our Monthly Mixers will continue to be held every third Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at a different member-provided location each month.

We look forward to seeing all of you at our New Year Mixer on Tuesday, January 21, at Jackson Catering & Events, 1120 Fulton Avenue, Suite N, Sacramento, CA 95825, sponsored by A&A Music Events. Visit our events calendar for more details and to register.


The members of the RCC board and I are honored to have the opportunity to help our Chamber and our Sacramento business community thrive and grow. Yet, we can’t be successful without the support and participation of our members. Let us know how we can provide you and your business better value for your membership. What new educational programs, networking events, community resources or advocacy do you need to succeed?

Finally, we need your help to provide the future leadership that will enable our Chamber to continue growing. We need committee members, event volunteers, community ambassadors and future Board members. One of the best ways to benefit from your RCC membership is to get involved, by contributing your time, skills and business savvy to strengthen our Chamber. Let’s make new friendships, build more relationships and discover the potential customers and partners that will help our businesses succeed in 2014.



Michael Sestak
President, Board of Directors