Press

Down From DOMA? Edgy Over ENDA? Don't Agonize, Organize!

Date: 
September 26, 1996

In the wake of the recent passage of the anti-marriage bill and defeat of the non-discrimination measure, registration to the 9th Creating Change activist conference sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has surged. Sponsors say this event, coming just one day after the national elections, will cap what can only be described as a roller coaster year of highs and lows for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

"We predict a very strong turnout because of the confluence of emotional events this year," said Sue Hyde, NGLTF conference coordinator. "There was the euphoria following the Supreme Court ruling on Colorado's Amendment 2, then collective depression after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Employment Non-Discrimination bill (ENDA), then the ups and downs of the presidential elections. It seems activists anxious to figure out what's next are all flocking to Creating Change."

The 9th Annual Creating Change Conference is the national gathering for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement. It will be held this November 6-10 at the Radisson Hotel Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., just outside of the nation's capital. Last year's gathering in Detroit attracted some 2,000 attendees. Organizers expect many more this year because of the prominence of key political battles and issues in 1996.

This year, the conference will feature special workshops on DOMA/ENDA, including statewide organizing sessions focusing on the grassroots implications of the bills and follow-up strategy. Grassroots activists have been pondering the impact of DOMA on the local level since the bill mandates that states are not obligated to extend "full faith and credit" recognition to marriages performed in other states.

Creating Change will feature numerous workshops designed to capture the current energy and channel the anxiety of the movement. For example, there is heavy emphasis on grassroots movement building and leadership training. This includes a professionally facilitated Leadership Training track conducted by nationally renowned consultant Karl Mathiasen and a leadership training session for g/l/b/t organizations conducted by noted campaign consultant and trainer David Fleischer. The Fleischer training is co-sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Those interested in attending the Fleischer training are strongly advised to register early by calling 718-230-9865.

Other sessions include a Strategy Meeting For Statewide Organizations for activists who toil in state legislatures and build cross-state networks; and The Next Presidential Administration, featuring inside-the-Beltway pros who will analyze the next four years in the White House. A mini-track of workshops on the Presidential and Congressional Elections will also be presented. And to figure out how to pay for their work, activists can attend a special Fundraising Training session sponsored by Kim Klein, diva of grassroots fundraising.

More than 100 workshops and caucuses will be clustered under several main "themes", including: Anti-Violence, Campus, Elections, Families, Fighting the Right, Fundraising, Health, International, Leadership, Legislative, Marriage, Media, Organizational Development, Organizing, People of Color, Political Questions, Public Schools, Aging/Ageism, Sex/Sexuality/Gender Identify, Spirituality, Surviving and Thriving, Transgender, Workplace, Youth and more.

Creating Change keynote speakers always cause waves. This year should be no exception. Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will kick off the conference on Nov. 7. Frank is a witty, intelligent and blunt politician known as much for his soundbite zingers as for his staunchly liberal leanings. Noted author, playwright, librettist, activist and cultural warrior June Jordan will deliver the First Annual Vito Russo Memorial Lecture on Art and Politics. Closing the conference will be Carmen Vazquez, public policy director of the N.Y. Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center and co-director of Promote the Vote, a national registration and mobilization project.

Computer training will be provided by Digital Queers. Also featured will be a community dance on Nov. 8, and preconference institutes on Nov. 6 and 7. These include a People of Color Organizing session, a "Race is the Issue" session, "Finding Common Ground" session, Youth Organizing Institute, and Community Center Institute.

For more information and to register for Creating Change, contact NGLTF at (202)332-6483, ext. 3329; email to cc96@ngltf.org; or visit the NGLTF web site at http://www.ngltf.org/cc96.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.