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Louisville gets new LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

The chamber officially got their accreditation and will have a soft launch during Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has long been a leader in the country when it comes to fighting for the rights of lesbian and gay individuals. The fairness ordinance passed in 1999 was one of the first and strongest in the United States. Now, a recent Gallup poll ranks our city as eleventh in the country for the largest LGBTQ population.

Some local residents decided it was time to create a new chamber of commerce to empower business professionals and the community.

When Ericka Fields moved her business, which supplies product to the whiskey industry from Minneapolis to Louisville, she noticed a vital missing piece.

“I fully expected to find a chamber here and to be able to move my membership here but there wasn't one,” Fields said.

Having served as a board member on the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce in her home town, Fields knew the role the organization played in helping her business. Her questions were answered, and her contacts broadened. She said it opens talks with larger companies that don’t typically “open their doors for a smaller company.”

Zach Meiners said when he opened his cinematography business five years ago an LGBTQ chamber would have proved very useful.

“I think there are a lot of fears. If you are your authentic self, will you lose business or are you going to be able to retain the clients that you have are you going to be able to continue growing and developing in this region as an LGBT owner? And those were fears I had,” Meiners said.

They don't have an office yet, but Civitas, Latin for ‘community’, has been helping the LGBTQ community for the past year.

Fields serves as president of this new chamber said it has been in the works for almost two years and the idea wasn't only hers to take credit for. 

The chamber officially got their accreditation and will have a soft launch during Derby next week, with a full push for community support by Pride Week in June.

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