ST. LOUIS – A.J. Bockelman will step down as Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT policy and advocacy organization, on October 16th it was announced today. Bockelman leaves his post as one of the organization's longest serving and most accomplished leaders.

“Missouri is a better place because of A.J. Bockelman,” PROMO Board Chair Kelly Hamilton said. “Anyone who knows A.J. knows his intellect, his passion, his drive and his dedication. Because of A.J., an unprecedented coalition of business leaders are working together to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, healthcare workers across Missouri are receiving innovative inclusiveness training, and PROMO has been a leader in championing inclusive ordinances at the local level. A.J. and his brilliant team have been the driving force behind so much of this work. The Board of Directors extends our deepest thanks to A.J. for all he has done for PROMO and the LGBT movement in Missouri.”

Bockelman told National Public Radio today that he's leaving PROMO to dedicate himself to family following the deaths of his mother, father and brother and in the face of other family health issues. But he also said that he's not ruling out a political run of his own in the future. "I've looked a little bit at political seats," Bockelman said.

“Serving as Executive Director of PROMO during this period of historic change has been a great honor,” Bockelman said. “I want to thank the Board, our extraordinary staff, our generous donors and our tremendous allies for their constant friendship, dedication and support. I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished as a community, but we can’t stop until every Missourian has equal protections at home, at school, at the workplace, at the hospital – everywhere.”

Bockelman led PROMO during an era of rapid change and progress for the LGBT movement. Among other accomplishments during Bockelman’s tenure:

PROMO Fund recently completed a successful merger with SAGE Metro St. Louis to expand support and advocacy for older LGBT adults across Missouri.

PROMO is actively working with Gov. Jay Nixon and his administration to ensure rapid implementation of the historic Obergefell ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to the Obergefell decision, PROMO worked with Progress Missouri, the ACLU of Missouri, and Freedom to Marry to launch #ShowMeMarriage to highlight the stories of same-sex couples and to show all Missourians that the state was ready for marriage equality.

PROMO partnered with the Missouri Foundation for Health to launch a comprehensive LGBT Health Care Initiative, which works to improve the health of LGBT Missourians through public education and access to care.

This Health Policy Initiative has trained more than 2,600 employees within 52 different hospitals and helped foster more than 125 pro-LGBT policy changes.

PROMO has built a coalition of more than 1,000 Missouri businesses that actively support passage of the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would protect Missouri workers from being fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

PROMO has successfully navigated the policy environment in Jefferson City, incrementally advancing nondiscrimination protections while stemming anti-gay bills.

Steph Perkins, the current Deputy Director, will take over as Interim Executive Director of PROMO. Perkins has been with PROMO for over 7 years and will step into the role immediately following A.J.’s departure.

“Steph is a strong leader with a long history at PROMO, and the board is confident she will keep the organization focused on the important work ahead in the months to come,” Hamilton said. “We thank Steph for stepping up, and we know she’ll do a wonderful job.”

PROMO is Missouri's statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education.

Press release contributed to this article.



INstrgram circle Facebookcircle twittercirlce2 tubblrcircle3 youtubecircle3VimeocirclePinterest Circle Icon