Human Rights Campaign has placed four field organizers in Texas through the legislative session, and Criss Ruiz is the Dallas field organizer.
The other three are based in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.
Ruiz said she’s seeking volunteers to staff phone banks, reach out to the governor and legislators and to get the LGBT community involved.
She’s just getting started and is visiting churches, businesses and LGBT organizations throughout the DFW area.
Ruiz moved to Dallas from Orlando, where she was a field organizer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Although Central Florida is majority Republican, Clinton won in the region Ruiz managed.
“That was a hard region to win, but we won it by calling, knocking and with blood, sweat and tears,” Ruiz said.
She said a number of her volunteers were Republicans who may have been economically conservative, but who also believed in fairness and equality. And she hopes to recruit like-minded allies across the political spectrum in Dallas, as well.
Ruiz said years ago she worked at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and knew many of the people involved in the massacre, so that remains close to her heart.
She also was a member of a pop group called Boys and Girls United and toured as the opening act for Britney Spears and NSYNC.
Among the businesses she’s working with in Dallas are the bars. Ruiz said she’s working on several things with Caven Enterprises, which owns four bars on Cedar Springs Road, and she is doing a brunch on Sunday, March 5, at Cedar Springs Tap House.
Ruiz said HRC’s mission is to help Equality Texas and local organizations that have banded together fight SB6 — better known as the bathroom bill — and the so-called religious freedom bills that would allow discrimination against LGBT people by claiming deeply held religious beliefs and attempts to prevent same-sex couples and transgender people from adopting.
She said volunteers are already flooding the governor’s office with phone calls about the bathroom bill and adoption. That’s something she intends to keep up throughout the legislative session.
To volunteer with HRC’s efforts in Texas, contact Ruiz at Criss.Ruiz@HRC.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 10, 2017.