#CC13 Sensation: President Obama offers a video shout-out and Rea Carey gives the State of the Movement address

It was an historic day today at Creating Change! The Task Force’s Deputy Executive Director Rev. Darlene Nipper made a special, surprise announcement…

President Barack Obama had sent a video message to the attendees of Creating Change congratulating the Task Force on its 40th anniversary!

In his special message, the president said:

I’ve always said that the change we need in this country — real change — doesn’t come from Washington, it comes from folks like you. Change has always come from ordinary Americans who sit in or stand up or marched to demand it. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been a partner at the forefront of that movement for 40 years. … With your help, we will continue the journey to perfect our union. The work will be hard, the road will be long, but I’m more confident than ever that we will reach a better future as long as Americans like you keep reaching for justice — and all of us keep marching together.

Read more here and watch the video:


After a rousing standing ovation, Mistress of Ceremonies Kate Clinton fist pumped and shouted “Obama’s on fire!” three times before remarking that “Ronald Regan did not send a video. George Bush No. 1 did not send a video. George Bush No. 2 did not send a video.”

Admitting President Obama was a tough act to follow, Clinton then introduced the main attraction for today’s plenary session – Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey – for the annual “State of the Movement” address.

Looking back over the accomplishments of the past 12 months, Carey mentioned the record number of “out” members of Congress; the passage of Maryland’s DREAM Act; the reelection of President Obama and his reference to Stonewall in his inauguration speech; and marriage equality victories in four states last November; among other highlights. She then looked back further – 40 years further – to the Task Force’s beginnings and said, “40 years doesn’t seem so long now that there’s a little wind at our back…” in reference to those victories.

Looking forward, Carey stressed that “We are not a one-issue movement.”

She said the Task Force will continue to “build power, take action and create change” on a number of issues of importance to the LGBT community, including training and supporting 1,000 grassroots activists, advocating for immigration reform that includes binational same-sex couples, and analyzing the results of post-election research to understand how to be smart about when ballot measures should be put forth.

Read the entire speech here.

After another standing ovation, Clinton returned to the stage to publicly unveil the Task Force’s Online Organizing Academy, an Internet-based grassroots activist skills training and tools tutorial. Or, as Clinton put it, “It’s like the LGBT University of Phoenix.”

Check out this video about this amazing educational resource:


To register for the Online Organizing Academy, visit www.theTaskForce.org/OnlineAcademy.

Today’s plenary concluded with Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, presenting the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to Doua Thor, executive director of the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center.

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Michael Adams of SAGE presents SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to Doua Thor of the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow’s plenary features Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Juan Antonio Vargas who will moderate a panel discussion on immigration issues with LGBT DREAMers.

Watch today’s full plenary session: