HRC gifts $100,000 in support of LGBT rights in Russia

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This holiday season, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will be gifting $100,000 in support of LGBT rights in Russia. The announcement was delivered on Thursday, December 19, via a 98-second video.

Watch it below.

The contribution will go to the Russian Freedom Fund (RFF), a “U.S. tax deductible vehicle for making financial contributions in support of the LGBT movement in Russia.”

The video consists of a montage of various celebrities, all donning the HRC’s iconic “Love Conquers Hate” t-shirts. Ingrid Michaelson’s “Blood Brothers” plays in the background.

Just as the songstress’ words, “If you knew me, would you finally let me free?” fade out, the HRC voiceover begins:

“As a reminder that we’re with you, that we’re not backing down, we have a gift for you. A $100,000 donation in support of LGBT human rights defenders in Russia.”

The Winter Olympics are just fifty days away, and HRC President Chad Griffin says it’s become increasingly critical to demonstrate LGBT support, especially to those being oppressed in Russia.

“With less than two months until the Sochi Olympic Games, it’s time to harness the tidal wave of support for Russia’s LGBT community emerging around the world,” Griffin said in a statement. “Now more than ever, we must expose the Russian government’s hateful campaign against its own people and support LGBT Russians enduring oppression and violence every day.”

In October, the HRC revealed plans to invest $3 million on international LGBT causes. While that might make $100,000 may seem like a drop in the bucket from the world’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, it’s a sizable fortune for the RFF, which is still gaining recognition. The RFF is a partnership fund between the Arcus Foundation, the Council for Global Equality, and the Open Society Institute.

Following the donation, the executive director of the Arcus Foundation, Kevin Jennings, expressed his gratitude to the HRC.

“History has demonstrated the power of combining the efforts of courageous activists with the support and resolve of a global movement,” said Jennings. “People, institutions, and heads of state are coming together to support Russia’s LGBT community.”

The funds came from the HRC’s “Love Conquers Hate” campaign, which began in response to Russia’s anti-propaganda laws that were passed this summer. This week, celebrities Matt Damon, Robin Thicke, and Sarah Silverman all joined the many other celebrities in the campaign effort.

In addition to being tax-deductible, RFF donations support a coalition of LGBT groups in Russia. Anastasia Smirnova, coordinator of the coalition of Russian LGBT organizations, calls the $100,000 holiday present “groundsetting.”

“While the safety of our community continues to be put at risk, more and more individuals and groups stand up to defend and promote equality,” said Smirnova. “HRC’s support will contribute to a safer and better life for LGBT people in Russia.”

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