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Task force to unveil new training academy
Creating Change will be held in Detroit in Feb. ’08

by Roberta Sklar

NAACP Chair Julian Bond and Bishop Gene Robinson to keynote conference.
WASHINGTON, D.C. —The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) announced March 28 that it will be taking a number of steps to enhance its annual national conference, Creating Change, including changing its date, offering new, rigorous training programs and conducting a national survey to be sure the conference is meeting the needs of the LGBT community. The Task Force also announced that NAACP Chair Julian Bond and Bishop Gene Robinson have agreed to give keynote addresses during the conference.

Creating Change will move from the second week in November to early in the year. The 20th annual conference will be held Feb. 6–10, 2008, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Mich.

“The 20th Creating Change will set a new course for the most important political gathering of our movement. Moving the conference from November to February means that our community will be able to plan ahead for a new year of action for LGBT equality, rather than arriving immediately after the elections, exhausted and focused on election outcomes,” said Matt Foreman, NGLTF executive director . “We are thrilled that two champions of equality, Julian Bond and Bishop Robinson, will be there to inspire us as we move the conference into its third decade.”

New high-powered trainings will take center stage at the 20th conference when the Task Force unveils its training academy, a core curriculum to boost political and organizational skills to meet and surmount the political challenges facing the LGBT movement. The training academy will deliver innovative sessions about ballot initiative campaigns, community organizing, nonprofit organizational management, leadership, media and fundraising. Other preeminent organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Movement Advancement Project will offer specialized training tracks within the academy.
“Advancing the LGBT movement’s agenda happens at Creating Change. The Task Force’s innovative new approach to training activist leaders will build effective movement organizations to achieve full equality for LGBT people,” said Linda Bush, of the Movement Advancement Project.

The Task Force said additional enhancements and keynote speakers would be announced in coming months. Early in April, Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., will conduct a nationwide opinion survey about the conference. The survey results will be used to guide the development of the training programs and other features of the conference.    

“Triangle Foundation and the Task Force share the same vision: looking ahead and working toward the day we achieve full equality,” said Sean Kosofsky, director of policy for Michigan-based Triangle Foundation. “This change in the date for Creating Change, our national community’s premier opportunity to work together, coupled with programming that is more action-based and in-depth, will allow us to do just that. In addition, our entire staff is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to meet the additional committed activists who will be able to attend Creating Change because of this change of date.”

Since 1988, more than 30,000 activist leaders have benefited from the training, the thinking, the inspiration and the camaraderie flowing from Creating Change. The conference has addressed racial and economic justice, sexual freedom and the empowerment of LGBT people of all ages. Many organizations have been birthed, nurtured and strengthened at Creating Change. Old friends and new will find the best and most-loved aspects of Creating Change: time and space to learn from each other and to network with peers, superlative plenary speakers who motivate activists, a cohesive and clear vision of a transformed society and a summit conference where the movement’s brightest convene to plan our victories.

“I have attended every Creating Change and have had the opportunity to watch it grow and change as our movement has changed year after year.” said Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota.

“Through each evolution, it has continued to be a fertile training ground for leaders and staff of a wide range of LGBT organizations. The very size and vibrancy of our movement, nationally and locally, is a testament to the power of Creating Change. I am glad to see that in the tradition of Creating Change, the Task Force is developing yet another level of professional development opportunities that match the growth of the LGBT movement.

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