Creating Change, the annual activist training and groupthink conference hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, wrapped up on Sunday. And while there was live-tweeting through from the two thousand-plus attendees, now that guests have gone home to collect their thoughts, they’re sharing their reflections on the advocacy orgy. So what amazing new things did the Class of 2010 walk away with?
Mostly, the same advice and activism tools as usual. But don’t let this deter you.
The bloggers at LGBT Tobacco Control (a group focused on eliminating the health disparities suffered by by queer smokers) relay some strategy ideas shared at a Employee Non-Discrimination Act panel, which suggest that anyone can exercise influence to get the bill passed. They include:
• Posting about ENDA on your Facebook page
• Following the #ENDA hashtag on Twitter
• Organizing a group of supporters on your college campus to write letters to your lawmakers
• Handing your phone to friends, family, or complete strangers and connect them with their legislator’s office
• Creating a public speaking event to educate people about the importance of ENDA
Well. These are some broad strokes. They’re also recycled ideas. Which doesn’t lessen their importance; reaching out to lawmakers, as Rep. Barney Frank will tell you, is perhaps the singular most effective way of enacting change on Capitol Hill. And the purpose of the Creating Change conference is to continue educating new classes of grassroots activists, and those effort should be commended.
These tactics have been taken up before. By similar groups of people. With the same end goal: securing equality for LGBT Americans. And yet, year after year, there is no passage of ENDA, let alone all those other four-letter acronyms we’ve got on the list. Which stinks. And frankly, posting to Facebook is going to do little else than broadcast your activist plight (but we appreciate your links to Queerty nonetheless).
But what grassroots activists must also understand are the near-insurmountable obstacles to passing equality legislation. And for now, it’s the mid-term elections. This doesn’t make Creating Change a pointless endeavor. In fact, it’s a reminder that we need more people, across all demographics, taking up the fight. Which is perhaps why so many attendees left the event feeling so energized: From 17- to 70-year-olds, with every skin pigment represented, the conference in Dallas reached all four corners of America.
Let’s see if that coverage map includes, sometime soon, the nation’s capital.