Members We Love
Members We Love
As associate executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, every day Rachel Harvey works for LGBT inclusion in the United Methodist Church (UMC). She's a great ally to our community and is even spending her 29th birthday — which is also National Coming Out Day — at the upcoming "Believe Out Loud Power Summit" in Orlando. At this conference, the 100 Reconciling United Methodists she's recruited will share stories and build relationships across theological differences. She'll be returning to Florida to continue to push for full LGBT inclusion at the UMC's global gathering in 2012.
Louise Chernin is executive director of the Greater Seattle Business Association, the largest LGBT business organization in the country and someone we were thrilled to honor with one of our Leadership Awards. She says "The Task Force is our community's voice. It's an organization with passion, drive and commitment that connects issues and real people... In this world of polarized interests, the Task Force gets it. Writing a check to the Task Force makes me smile." And Louise makes us smile too. We love Louise!
Ivan Cano is one of the many things to love about Miami Beach. A member of the Winter Party Executive Committee, he makes sure the events sparkle, recruiting stunning dancers and performers for the Beach Party and our dance events. As general manager of The Palace, he throws "Brunchic" fundraisers for the Task Force all year, complete with fabulous drag queens. And, at the drop of a sequin, Ivan tells everyone how valuable Winter Party Festival is for the entire Miami community. We love ALL of that!
Hugh Broadus has had a leadership role on the committee for our annual D.C. Leadership Awards, now called the D.C. Recognition Evening, for many years. We love Hugh’s generosity; he gives of his time (those committee meetings can be pretty long!) and he never fails to be a major contributor to the event. We hope you will attend this year’s D.C. Recognition Evening on May 11 and meet Hugh and find out what the Task Force is up to!
Trevor Hoppe attended his first Creating Change in 2001.
“It was such an amazing gathering of all kinds of queers and all kinds of politics,” he says. “Growing up in North Carolina, I had never been exposed to that kind of political energy around LGBT issues.”
Equipped with new skills and inspiration, he returned home to found the Southeast Unity Conference while still a student at UNC Chapel Hill. The conference drew 200 attendees in its first year; 600 are expected this go-round. We love that Hoppe took what he learned at Creating Change and created something that passes the knowledge on to others. So, here’s to Hoppe and to all those attending Unity 2010 on April 9–11. Get details here.
Laura Hart is a transgender activist and super-star volunteer. She’s been with us since February 2008, when she sat in our D.C. office and went through thousands of signatures on an anti-transgender ballot referendum in Montgomery County, Md., to knock out fraudulent ones. Once that project was over, Laura got involved in our work on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Laura now manages the database and organizational updates for the United ENDA coalition and visits Capitol Hill to speak with members of Congress about ENDA. She’s a key member of our team and we join Equality Maryland and the Mautner Project, where Laura also donates her time and talent, as organizations that couldn’t be more grateful for her support. Thank you, Laura!
This year’s Winter Party Festival® (March 3–8) in Miami features more than 20 events run by 200 volunteers working nearly 800 shifts. We are beyond grateful for all these volunteers and particularly lucky to have Chad Richter and Victor Diaz-Herman serving as volunteer chair and vice-chair, respectively. These two terrific guys give their time, talent and people-skills to the festival endlessly and graciously. We truly could not do it without them. If you want to meet them, all our other amazing volunteers and make a contribution not only to the Task Force but to LGBT organizations in South Florida, you need to get yourself to Winter Party Festival®. See you there!
The Task Force is psyched to be heading to Dallas for the 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change on Feb. 3–7. We know this will be an awesome conference, deep in the heart of Texas. (And be sure to come expecting to be treated to real Texas hospitality!) We have an outstanding Host Committee, chaired by four hard-working local community leaders. Pictured from left to right are Lovely Murrell, Marlene Browning, Henry Ramirez III and Beau G. Heyen. You won’t get to meet them if you’re not at Creating Change, so get yourself registered now. See you in Dallas!
Board member Mario Guerrero is a man on the move. After completing his MPA at Cornell University, Mario recently returned to his home state of California for a job in Sacramento and has already co-hosted a successful fundraiser there for the Task Force. He’s a consistent booster for the organization, creating change and raising money wherever he goes. With barely a year’s tenure on our board, Mario’s generous donation of time and treasure means a great deal to us. Thanks, Mario!
Charlene Strong is a Task Force donor in Seattle, Wash. Strong's professional work is designing. She is best known, however, as a foremost advocate for LGBT rights and legal recognitions for committed same-sex couples and as protagonist of the 2008 documentary film For My Wife by Trick Dog Films. The film chronicles Strong's story as an activist, stemming from the loss of her partner of 10 years, Kate Fleming, in a December 2006 flood of their home in Seattle. Compounding the tragedy, Strong faced major barriers in accessing her ailing partner and in laying her to rest. In 2009, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire recognized Strong's effective advocacy and appointed her to the five-member state Human Rights Commission.
In August 2008, in conjunction with Task Force board member Hans Johnson and Executive Director Rea Carey, Strong endowed an annual summer internship at the Task Force in honor of her late partner, who was a world-renowned vocal talent and narrator of audio book recordings. The internship is called the Kate Fleming Memorial Internship in Movement Storytelling.
“The Task Force is a worthy home of my activism and for keeping alive Kate’s memory because it is committed to telling the stories of people who have fought for freedom,” says Strong. “At its heart, the struggle for equality is about love: love of our country, love of our community, and the love of our partner and family. The Task Force is a leader in the struggle because it builds and sustains coalitions fueled by love and focused on winning concrete victories for LGBT people.”
In January 2007, still visibly shaken by her recent loss, Charlene testified before state lawmakers in support of the first of three statewide measures extending basic legal recognition to committed same-sex couples.
In October 2009, Charlene took a prominent role in the campaign to defend the most recent extension of the law, which provided all state legal rights to domestic partners, equivalent to marriage but short of the name. On Oct. 11, she penned an opinion piece in the Seattle Times (featured in our OutSpoken blog) urging state voters to keep the law on the books when they cast ballots by mail, starting that week, on Referendum 71. She also appeared in commercials for the Approve 71 campaign. On Nov. 3, Washington voters approved the measure by a margin of 53 to 47 percent.
We salute Elizabeth "Liebe" Gadinsky, a tremendous volunteer who has worked on the Miami Recognition Dinner for several years, currently serving as the event co-chair. Liebe is a top volunteer fundraiser and straight ally committed to advancing freedom, justice and equality for LGBT people. She has devoted countless hours supporting the work of the Task Force and local LGBT organizations in Miami. Thank you, Liebe, for making a difference!
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