LGBT Rights Campaign

W Hotels Worldwide Joins Forces with Jennifer Hudson and the Human Rights Campaign to Fight for Full LGBT Equality Across All 50 States

With Growing Momentum, W Launches 'TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE' Initiative to Amplify Broader LGBT Rights, Including Marriage Equality and Employment Protections

W Hotels W Hotels Worldwide yesterday announced it has joined forces with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, in the fight for nationwide LGBT equality by launching a fundraising and awareness initiative, “TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE”. Grammy® and Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson will lend her support and voice to the campaign, which combines the W brand’s longstanding support of the LGBT community with its ongoing passion for music. As part of the program, W Hotels around the country will host monthly TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE music events, in which a portion of proceeds will benefit HRC. Some events may also include surprise performances by Hudson, and coupled with a special room package and robust social media campaign (#whrc and #lovehasnolimit) led by W Hotels, HRC and Hudson, W hopes to bring real and lasting change for LGBT Americans in all 50 states.

Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson “W Hotels has always been ‘out’ about our support of the LGBT community, and we believe that equality, love and marriage are crucially important issues to many Americans, including our W Talent, our guests and our local communities,” said Anthony Ingham, Vice President, North America Brand Management, W Hotels Worldwide. “As someone who benefited from New York’s Marriage Equality Act, I personally believe that everyone in this country should be able to marry whomever he or she loves. We’ve recently seen incredible momentum around this issue, and we at W are proud to stand up alongside all of our guests in the fight for equality across the nation.”

To kick off the partnership, Jennifer Hudson will perform at a TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE launch event tonight at W New York - Union Square, and over the course of the next year, she may make surprise performances at select TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events around the country. In addition, Hudson has committed a portion of the proceeds from downloads of her forthcoming “I Still Love You” remix single to the HRC on behalf of TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE.

“I owe a large part of my success to the LGBT community, who has embraced and supported me from early on in my career,” said Hudson. “That is why I am thrilled to join forces with W Hotels and HRC to use the power of music to promote LGBT equality. We have come a long way in such a short time, but now it’s time for the final push, perhaps the hardest one of all, to legalize same sex marriage and broader equality across the entire country. It’s time to ‘turn up’ the volume on this crucial human rights issue.”

Following the launch, TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will be held regularly at all W destinations in the US during the first week of every month. Open to both guests and locals, these events will also serve as fundraisers with a portion of proceeds from each event being donated to HRC. Through 2014, the percentage of funds will be determined by the number of states that allow same-sex marriage, and the percentage will increase each time marriage equality comes to a new state. (For example, currently 31 states have legalized same-sex marriage, so 31% of all bar revenue from TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will be donated to HRC in 2014.)

“Jennifer Hudson’s extraordinary talents on and off the stage inspire us in our work for full LGBT equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We’re incredibly grateful to have her support moving forward as we work together to fight discrimination and engage all Americans in the conversation about the need for nationwide equality.”

In addition to fundraising, TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will also feature representatives from HRC who will help attendees understand ways to get more involved in the battle for full LGBT equality. And for travelers who want to show their support, W Hotels will launch a TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE room package at W Hotels and Retreats across the United States, from which W Hotels will donate $10 to HRC for every package booked and include a One-Year Membership to HRC. Lastly, based on overwhelming internal passion for the cause, W Hotels will launch a campaign for its Talent so that those who are part of the LGBT community or who simply wish to further rally behind the cause can become involved on a grassroots level.

Inclusiveness is in the W DNA, and this dynamic call to action is just the latest example of W Hotels’ award-winning commitment to the LGBT community. The W brand is synonymous with cutting-edge forward thinking, particularly when it comes to fashion, design and music. As a longtime supporter of HRC as well as many other LGBT advocacy groups, W Hotels have unrivaled recognition as an innovative LGBT friendly lifestyle brand, a sentiment widely celebrated by both W Talent and guests and is a top destination for same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies around the country and the world. In fact, in 2011, the W Hotels in New York City were the first to offer same-sex wedding packages when New York State passed marriage equality. W Hotels was the first hotel brand to have a presence in New York’s famed Gay Pride Parade and has continuously offered unique LGBT package experiences since its debut in 1998. Now W Hotels is taking its support further than ever before, launching “TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE” to help make nationwide LGBT equality a reality.

For more information on TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE, please visit Follow @WHotels on Twitter and Instagram, and follow the movement at #whrc and #lovehasnolimit.

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