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Topics In the News
 
Creating Change Conference Convenes in Atlanta
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/25/13
Last updated on: 01/26/13
 
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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change Conference convened in Atlanta on January 23, 2013. The Conference, which continues until January 27, is the largest gathering of glbtq activists in the country. On January 24, President Obama addressed the gathering via video.

The 2013 Creating Change conference marks the 25th anniversary of the nation's preeminent political, leadership, and skills-building conference for the glbtq social justice movement. Since 1988, Creating Change has provided an opportunity for thousands of committed activists to develop and hone their skills, celebrate victories, build community, and be inspired by the heroes of our movement for justice and equality.

Over the five days of the Creating Change Conference, there will be more than 15 day-long institutes, two dozen trainings in the Academy for Leadership and Action, a special programming segment called "Practice Spirit, Do Justice" for faith leaders and organizers, approximately 250 workshops and caucus sessions, four keynote plenary sessions, film screenings, meetings, receptions, social events, and a multitude of opportunities for attendees to meet and learn from each other.

The Conference is a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is the oldest continuously operating national gay and lesbian interest group in the United States. Formed in 1973 as the National Gay Task Force by members of the Gay Activists Alliance in New York City, including Bruce Voeller, the group has played a central role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

On January 24, 2013, President Obama told the 3,000 attendees in a video that was recorded before his Inaugural address that "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."

Kim Severson in the New York Times reports that the President's remarks were received enthusiastically, but "the congratulatory mood was tempered by notes of caution and assurances that gay leaders would continue to pressure the White House to do more, including offering job protection to gays and lesbians who work for the federal government and weighing in on two pending Supreme Court cases regarding same-sex marriage."

Following the video, NGLTF executive director Rea Carey, took the stage and gave what was billed as a "state of the movement" address in which she cautioned advocates not to rest.

"Some days I wake up astonished at the pace of our progress, but I also wake up angry about the lack of basic, basic protections for L.G.B.T. people," she said. "I think about how, as we are in the spotlight for our progress on marriage, it can be more challenging to draw attention to the many other issues that affect our lives."

She urged the group to keep pressuring the administration on a number of issues, including immigration reform, expanding benefits to same-sex partners of military personnel, and allowing transgendered people to serve openly in the military. She also called for Mr. Obama to sign an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity at companies with government contracts.

Below is a video of President Obama's message to the Conference.

Below is a video from the NGLTF about the Conference.

 
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