Every year thousands of LGBTQ people descend on a U.S. city for the annual Creating Change conference put on by The National LGBTQ Task Force. It is the biggest national gathering of LGBTQ people over a long weekend filled with workshops, plenaries, institutes, events, and of course, plenty of flirting and hooking up.
As an organization, we have a long standing relationship with Creating Change. It started in 1992 when the conference was held in the South for the first time in Durham, NC. Our founders saw the need to create a Southern LGBTQ organization that believed in our people bringing their whole selves to the table and taking their rightful place as women and people of color in leadership to advance both an LGBTQ movement and a broader civil rights movement grounded in liberation not just equality. Since our founding, SONG has played different roles at different times at Creating Change. This has included leading trainings, bringing our regional analysis to a national stage at critical moments, and connecting with sister organizations and leadership to advance our work and strengthen our organization.
Over the years we have witnessed the conference, its purpose, and its leadership become contested. LGBTQ people from all walks of life with many different points of views and theories of change are suddenly sharing time and space together. There are both long standing leaders of our movement in deep relationship with each other and young activists and organizers who are just discovering a movement for the first time and have never been in rooms with so many LGBTQ people and leaders. Still yet, many LGBTQ people, including most of SONG’s members, cannot attend Creating Change because of the distance, the time, and the cost required to get there.
What then is to be made of such a gathering?
While SONG has endorsed two statements (see http://tarabnyc.org/cancelpinkwashing/** and http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/iceoutofcc/) over the past week expressing our frustration and dismay at two sessions on the schedule, our small crew of staff and members will be utilizing the space to make the connections LGBTQ need in these critical times to advance the work that is grounded by our membership in the South.
Together our staff and our members will bring the questions to a national stage that so many of you have been exploring at your kitchen tables, in your towns, at fellowship halls, vigils, and protests this past year.
How will we fight better and stronger as LGBTQ people around the key issues of our time? What are we willing to do to intervene, halt, and stem the murder of Black people? What are we willing to do to intervene, halt, and stem the gender based violence on our streets? What are we willing to do, what are we willing to risk, to leverage, to harbour, to love and protect each other from for our Latinx immigrant mothers and sisters and our Palestinian activist lovers targeted by the state? How are we challenging and influencing state institutions that affect so many of our lives? How do we hold LGBTQ leadership and ourselves accountable to a social movement, to our people at home, working towards liberation?
If you are at Creating Change this year we hope you will connect with us to deepen our relationships together, forge new and exciting strategies, and cut it up joyously together (see our schedule below!). And for the many of you who won’t be in Chicago, we hope you’ll join us for our regional membership call on February 3 at 7PM EST/6PM CST. You can register for the call at https://song.ourpowerbase.net/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=77
**For more on #pinkwashing at Creating Change see Black Lives Matter Chicago’s statement at http://blacklivesmatterchicago.tumblr.com/post/137700629560/black-lives-matter-chicago-website-facebook
4:45 to 6:15 PM
WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN!
Join us to celebrate When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. It features many movement leaders including our own SONG Co-Director Paulina Helm-Hernanez.