National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Weekly Update
January 15, 2008

In the News:

Task Force Action Fund and Ruth Ellis Center team up
      to secure critical funding
Pedro Julio Serrano part of historic first at Puerto Rico
      Governor’s Mansion
Academy for Leadership and Action premieres at Creating Change
Change is the buzz word of the presidential candidate campaigns,
      hallmark of the LGBT movement
Seattle Leadership Awards a success


Task Force Action Fund and Ruth Ellis Center team up to secure critical funding

Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman was in Detroit, Mich., last week for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s announcement of a $366,300 grant for the Ruth Ellis Center, which runs a shelter for homeless LGBT youth. The Task Force Action Fund worked closely with the Ruth Ellis Center to secure the funding, which was part of the omnibus budget bill signed into law three weeks ago. The senator and Foreman toured the center and met with local leaders.

The Ruth Ellis Center was among those featured in the Task Force Policy Institute report, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, which received extraordinary media attention and proved enormously helpful in lobbying for the $10.5 million increase for runaway and homeless youth included in the omnibus measure.

Photo: Ruth Ellis Center Executive Director Grace McClelland, Sen. Carl Levin and Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. Credit: Between the Lines newspaper/Andrew Potter.


Pedro Julio Serrano part of historic first at Puerto Rico Governor’s Mansion

Task Force Communications Coordinator Pedro Julio Serrano (right) was invited by Puerto Rico Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (left) to last week’s traditional annual greeting ceremony that kicks off the new year. This marks the first time a Puerto Rican governor has invited LGBT rights activists to the ceremony. The Rev. Margarita Sánchez, executive director of the Puerto Rico chapter of Amnesty International, and José F. Colón and Anselmo Fonseca, founders of AIDS Patients for Sane Policies, were also invited to participate.

This historic first at the Governor’s Mansion garnered massive media attention due to the impending vote in the Legislature on whether to hold a referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and any other type of partner recognition. The governor has called the amendment “unnecessary” and an attempt to “politicize this issue in an election year.”

[ Watch a video ]
[ Read media coverage in Spanish: Associated Press, EFE, El Nuevo Día, El Vocero ]


Academy for Leadership and Action premieres at Creating Change

Some of the LGBT movement’s most seasoned and talented trainers and faculty will be leading top-notch sessions at The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, Feb. 6–10, in Detroit, Mich., as part of the new Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action. These high-level, professionalized trainings are offered for all skill levels — from executive directors with years of know-how but who want to learn more, to interns and apprentices, to every level in-between. Academy registration begins later this week. In order to attend the academy, participants must be registered for Creating Change. Learn more about the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action. Watch our Creating Change video and register for the conference right here.

Also check out the conference’s powerhouse lineup of speakers: NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, national LGBT rights leader and Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman and musical legends Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon are the featured keynotes; well-known comic and social commentator Kate Clinton will emcee the plenaries. Read more here.


Change is the buzz word of the presidential candidate campaigns, hallmark of the LGBT movement

“Creating Change ... offers us a moment to break out of the Bush Box and beam ourselves into the still-forming possibilities of the future. What might our LGBT lives look like under President Obama? Who among us might President Clinton appoint to her cabinet?

“Within this changing political landscape, what is our roadmap to full equality? What are the many paths we’ll take to change and how will they converge, overlap and diverge to build the communities, states and nation we know is possible as we live, work, love and pray alongside our heterosexual friends and neighbors?”
— By Jaime Grant, Task Force Policy Institute Director

[ Read and respond to the OutSpoken Blog entry ]


Seattle Leadership Awards a success

More than 200 folks turned out for the second Seattle Leadership Awards on Jan. 12 to honor Louise Chernin with our Leadership Award. From the reaction of our guests, it’s clear that she is adored by the community and has touched many lives there. Now head of the Greater Seattle Business Association, the country’s largest LGBT chamber of commerce, her work in the women’s movement, the anti-war movement and on civil rights has given her both wide and deep roots in the community.

Special thanks to all our table captains, sponsors and Seattle board members Jody Laine and Sarah Fletcher, who took the stage for a great welcome to the assembled. Thanks also go to board co-chairs Mark Sexton and Alan Acosta.

Photo: Event emcee and comedian Kate Clinton (left) with honoree Louise Chernin. Credit: Team Photogenic.


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