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State of the Movement Plenary: Creating Change Conference 2023

Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Mass Shootings and Hate Crimes Involving LGBTQ+ Victims — Panel Discussion

State of the Movement – Our Present and Tools for Navigating Troubled Waters

Task Force Executive Director, Kierra Johnson delivers the annual State of the Movement Plenary, emceed by Sandra Valls. After three years of life during a global pandemic and two years into the current administration, we have a lot to reflect on and still a lot to fight for. In the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the 2022 midterm elections, the Task Force leader will focus on both the challenges and opportunities ahead and lay out what is at stake for our democracy.

Mass Shootings and Hate Crimes Involving LGBTQ+ Victims

The massacre at Pulse Night Club, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the second worst gun violence attack in American history. Forty-nine people were murdered as they peacefully joined together in community and to dance. The shooter used an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine. LGBTQ+ people are more than twice as likely to be victims of gun violence than their cisgender and straight peers. Additionally, 1 out of 5 hate crimes are motivated by sexual orientation and/or gender identity bias, and guns make these crimes more deadly. Moderator Kierra Johnson facilitates a panel discussion on gun violence, sharing survivors’ reflections and stories of activism. How does fear translate into anger and advocacy? Listen, and learn.

Nadine Bridges – One Colorado

Nadine Bridges is the first Black and female Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization advancing equality for LGBTQ+ Coloradans and their families. She has dedicated herself to working with and advocating for vulnerable communities for over 20 years. Nadine has been a professor, director, counselor, mentor, volunteer, Peace Corps volunteer, and activist. She is committed to racial equity, social justice, and anti-oppressive movements. Nadine is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. She professionally mentors former students and colleagues, serves on the Advisory Committee of Racial Diversity to the Dean at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, and is a Health Equity Commissioner for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In her free time, Nadine enjoys traveling, baking, cooking, watching The Great British Bake Off, and spending time with her wife, Liz, and her family.

X González – Activist, Survivor Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland)

X González (they/them) is a gun-violence prevention activist born and raised in Parkland, Florida. A survivor of the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School shooting, X became a leading voice in the gun-violence prevention movement with their powerful speech “We Call BS”. In 2018, they were instrumental in organizing the historic #MarchForOurLives protest in Washington D.C., the largest student-led demonstration in American history. While in high school, X also served as the President of the Gay-Straight Alliance. X continues to be at the forefront advocating for gun violence prevention including intersectional issues such as racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights. In the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa this year, X spoke at March for Our Lives second rally in Washington D.C. Most recently, X graduated from New College of Florida with a major in activism.

Beverly Tillery – Executive Director, New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP)

Beverly Tilery (she/her) is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). AVP works to address and end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. She is an experienced thought leader, advocate, and national organizer with nearly three decades of experience working in social justice movements. Most recently, she was a Deputy Director of Education and Public Affairs at Lambda Legal, an organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. There, she led national educational and advocacy campaigns and community-based research projects aimed at changing policies as well as hearts and minds. Prior to Lambda Legal, she worked as an organizer, popular educator, strategist and staff leader at organizations such as Amnesty International, Service Employees International Union and ACORN.