Creating Change in Denver – State of the Movement

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On Friday, we had another plenary session where The Task Force’s Executive Director, Rea Carey, shared with us the State of the Movement.  (UPDATE: Jeremy now has video posted over at Good As You!)

It’s not biology, but love that makes a family.

She must have added that last minute, because it’s not provided in the text of the press release.

It has been a bittersweet year, but the state of our movement is engaged!

The whole conference has been engaging, and her celebration of the accomplishments we have made was energizing.

Sadly, shamefully, an incorrect statistic was put forth in the media and many people both in and outside of our community ran with it. I want to be clear — the blaming of African-American voters was wrong, despicable and inexcusable.

These words were particularly profound.  Throughout the whole conference there have been a lot of conversatons about communities of color and how poorly they were painted after Proposition 8 passed.

Have we done enough as a community to deal with our own racism and to make sure that our movement is one that reflects the true diversity of LGBT people? We sure haven’t. But the finger pointing and scapegoating was an affront to the many people of color and others who worked on and with the campaign and to our allied organizations. Furthermore, it avoids the complexity of the work we still have to do to win equality.

The following was my favorite line in her speech:

There is a big difference between blaming and learning. Let us be learners so that we may be leaders.

Obama’s election has been an underlying theme and joy of the whole conference.  I think everybody in the LGBT community is optimistic about the gains we will make under his administration.

I believe the power of this historic moment is the seismic shift in this country from a culture of “I” to a culture of “We.” Obama ran with a mantra of “Yes we can!” Obama didn’t say, “Yes I can” or “Yes YOU can.” He said, yes WE can. This mantra, of course, carries on the organizing legacy of the United Farm Workers and Dolores Huerta. This unifying WE invites each of us into the work ahead; into the reclaiming of a government that has turned its back on so many; into challenging the long held beliefs and practices of who holds power; how power is used; and who benefits from the use of power.

I have really appreciated the efforts to reach out and include other movements.  Later, she expanded on this premise.

First, this moment calls for a new kind of leadership in the LGBT movement — not the leadership of one, but the collaborative leadership of many. Don’t get me wrong, the Task Force and I will assert leadership — but at the Task Force, we believe that strength comes not from hoarding power but by building power and sharing power and using power for good. It is why so much of our work is done through coalitions or convenings like Creating Change.

It is time to assert our community’s moral leadership.  I am looking forward to the new Tell 3 campaign; it echoes the efforts and words of Harvey Milk.

Organize, organize, organize.

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