Staff Spotlight: Jacob McClain Crunches the Numbers to Keep Our Forward Momentum

By Shane Stahl • June 6, 2018 • 2:38 pm

A Freedom For All Americans staffer since its founding, Jacob McClain plays one of the most vital roles in our organization, managing day-to-day expenses and reports to make sure our mission to win nondiscrimination protections nationwide can proceed without any administrative backlog. Having worked on a variety of campaigns, Jake’s familiarity with campaign finance and operations are an incredible asset here at FFAA. We chatted with Jacob to get to know his background – read on below, and click here to meet more members of the Freedom for All Americans team!

Jacob McClain, 2nd from L.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m Jake McClain, and I’m the VP of Finance & Administration here at Freedom for All Americans. I started with Freedom for All Americans in 2015 during the run-up to the launch of the organization, though I’ve been involved in LGBTQ politics since 2009. I grew up in small towns in northeast Ohio, and northwest Pennsylvania, and lived in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland for several years, but I’ve recently relocated to Atlanta. I have a giant schnauzer named Wolfe who I rescued a little over two years ago and enjoyed being a part of Stonewall Sports while I lived in Cleveland.

How did you get involved in the movement for LGBTQ non-discrimination?

My first experience working on LGBTQ nondiscrimination was a local ordinance in Cleveland in 2009. After returning from the heartbreaking loss of losing marriage at the ballot in Maine, I came back to Ohio and immediately got involved with a group called Ask Cleveland. The objective was to update the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to fully protect all LGBTQ folks in employment, housing, and public accommodations. While largely successful, it still took many more years of work to completely update the city’s protections to be fully inclusive for gender identity & expression.

Jacob McClain with other FFAA Staff, back row, 2nd from L.

Is there a particular moment you’ve experienced in your work that sticks with you? Why?

If I have to choose one, the day SCOTUS ruled that marriage for same-sex couples was legal nationwide. It was the culmination of so many years of work, at so many levels, from so many folks. It really validated for me that collective action and the perseverance of the movement to humanize LGBTQ folks, all the blood sweat and tears, was worth it.

What would you say to people who want to take action for LGBTQ equality? What are simple steps they can take?

I would say that now, more than ever, it’s of paramount importance to show up and do the work. What matters most is that we are taking action, be it having heart-to-heart conversations with friends and family about why this issue matters, or contacting a local LGBTQ organization and finding deeper ways to get involved. All politics are local, so that’s always the best place to start.

Why does non-discrimination matter to you?

Nondiscrimination matters to me because legal protections signify our values as a society. While having laws on the books gives folks a means of legal recourse when discrimination does happen, a law is more than that. It helps us operate together as a community under common principles and allows people to bring their full selves to their work, faith, home, and public lives.

Jacob McClain w. FFAA staffer Katie Belanger

Self-care is important in our fraught political times- what kind of self-care do you practice?

Self care is vital and something you have to purposefully carve out time for and prioritize. I do anything from take my dog on a hike, listen to new music at home at the end of a long day, go out dancing, work out, or simply spend time with my friends while enjoying a meal or quiet night in watching a movie together.

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