In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creating Change

I was in Dallas, TX, all of last week. In fact, I didn't get home until Monday. The purpose of my trip was to attend the Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. This was my first time at this conference. There was a lot to process.

I think that NGLTF is the lesser known organization, often hidden in the Human Rights Campaign's shadow. However, while HRC does direct lobbying for (and against) legislation, NGLTF is more focused on organizing for change at a grassroots level. They work campaigns in states, to be sure, but they are also concerned with the overall movement.

Creating Change is an organization for anyone and everyone who is working with an LGBTQ organization. There were religious groups, racial justice groups, ability groups, youth agencies, senior programs, and political organizers. All these people come with their own particular agendas, but they know that learning how to organize and build relationships will be important for the overall movement. The diversity sometimes means that we don't agree. To be sure, there were several people who don't trust religious folks (and I don't really blame them). However, knowing that we are working on something mutual (like a society that protects and honors all its members) can draw us together and understand how interconnected our work is.

The other thing that I appreciate about Creating Change is its emphasis on the intersection of oppressions. While we are all there for LGBT equality, we make sure that our work also encompasses work on race, age, gender, ability, and language. Creating Change challenged us to think about how other people in our society need to be honored and protected. We don't always live up to our goal of a society that honors and protects its members, but we can be challenged to do more.

There is more emphasis on workshops and training sessions than the keynote. For one thing, with such a diverse group, it's hard to plan a keynote that speaks to everyone. Also, we came to the conference to learn skills...and we did.

Next year, Creating Change will be in Minneapolis. Consider what you want to learn and if attending can be helpful for you!


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