Creating Change 2011 a huge success!

Event MC Kate Clinton, Task Force Deputy Executive Director of External Relations Russell Roybal and Director of Creating Change Sue Hyde bid farewell to the attendees at Creating Change 2011.

The 23rd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change took place in beautiful Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 2–6, 2011. More than 2,500 people from all over the country attended our five-day program that featured more than 250 workshops and training sessions. In addition, we had four spectacular plenary sessions and tons of networking opportunities, including receptions, stand-up comedy and karaoke.

The Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action offered 20  innovative and interactive training sessions facilitated by Task Force staff and colleagues and attended by approximately 400 conference participants. As part of the academy, for the first time, we incorporated a multi-faith conference called Practice Spirit, Do Justice, which included a keynote discussion among prominent pro-LGBT faith leaders during the opening plenary. And hundreds of LGBT advocates paused to grieve the death of David Kato during the conference.

The local community played a large role in the success of this year’s event, including providing the largest number of volunteers ever for Creating Change. Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak welcomed conference attendees during the opening plenary and other Minnesota elected officials participated, including U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who spoke during the closing brunch, and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who sent in a video message.

Famed local high school students from Champlin Park attended the conference, and the Paul A. Anderson Award for Youth Leadership to local student Alyssa Veil, and the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to the PFund Foundation which was accepted by Co-Executive Directors Susan Raffo and Kate Eubank.

Other awards given at the event included the Leather Leadership Award to Chuck Renslow for his outstanding lifetime work of creating leather community institutions to foster a leather cultural identity and to preserve its history. And the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement to Kylar Broadus for his work. Broadus, a professor, attorney and activist, is a committed and courageous voice for equality and justice. He has been on the board of directors of the Stonewall Democrats since 1998, and serves on the board of directors of the National Black Justice Coalition. He founded the Trans People of Color Coalition, the only national social justice organization serving transgender people of color.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey delivers the State of the Movement address.

As always, the State of the Movement address given by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey was a highlight. You can read the full text of the speech and watch the video here.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a groundbreaking new report, at the conference “Injustice at Every Turn,” revealing the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in a wide range of areas, including education, health care, employment, and housing.  The study, based on the results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) and on the responses from over 6,450 participants. In addition to a press conference, attendees at the State of the Movement keynote were given copies of the executive summary of the report.

Calls to action were included in the activities including telling senators to keep their hands off Social Security. And attendees were encouraged to communicate with officials from the Obama administration, who spoke on a panel and held a Q&A. You can watch the video about the event with commentary from the speakers: Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; David Hansell, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, within the Department of Health and Human Services; and Matt Nosanchuk, senior counselor to the assistant attorney general of the United States Department of Justice.

Chrystos gives the keynote address.

Internationally known poet and activist Chrystos gave a poignant and provocative speech, during her keynote address discussing her life as a Two Spirit person and sharing the wisdom she gained during her 52 years of activism.

Hip-hop/pop/soul duo God-Des & She gave an inspiring, raucous performance to bring Creating Change 2011 to a rousing end.

We hope to see you next year at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change to be held Jan. 25 – 29, 2012 at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore, Md.

You can check out photos from the conference on our Flickr page, and you can also upload any photos that you took at the conference. This year’s conference received wide media coverage, kicked off by an Associated Press story, which received pick-up across the country and in numerous top-tier media outlets. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the largest newspaper and most critical mainstream news source in Minnesota, published several stories related to the conference, including a general conference kick-off article, a story about a lesbian youth being honored, a piece about minorities organizing and an article about the release of the transgender discrimination survey.

We received widespread broadcast coverage as well, with two stories on Minnesota Public Radio, an interview with CBS News Radio, and coverage on three television stations: KSTP (ABC), KARE (NBC) and multiple stories on Fox.

We also had extensive coverage by bloggers and new media users who attended the conference and used the hashtag #cc11 on Twitter during the conference. If you want to stay updated and connected with the Creating Change community throughout the year, please “Like” the Creating Change page on Facebook.