FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christina Gilgor, Kentucky Fairness Alliance Executive Director, (859) 420-6677
KENTUCKY FAIRNESS ALLIANCE ATTENDS EQUALITY FEDERATION MEETING OF STATE LGBT LEADERS
Frankfort – Jody Cofer, Christina Gilgor, and Travis Myles of Kentucky Fairness Alliance (KFA) returned on Monday from the annual Summer Meeting of Equality Federation, the national alliance of state-based equality organizations. Meeting participants included 120 leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement from 34 state organizations and 21 allied groups. Hosted this year by Federation member organization Equality Ohio, the Summer Meeting is the largest gathering of leadership in the lgbt movement. KFA has been a member of the Federation since its inception in 1997.
“Equality Federation is the only national organization founded specifically to support the work of organizations like Kentucky Fairness Alliance,” said Christina Gilgor, KFA executive director. “The annual meeting of state leaders from across the country allows those of us working in the states to share our strategies and to plug in to a larger national strategy focused on achieving state victories.”
“State organizing and advocacy work is critical to our movement’s ability to achieve full civil rights for lgbt Americans,” said Federation executive director Toni Broaddus. “Our state leaders founded Equality Federation to ensure that our state organizations have the resources necessary to do their work, and our annual Summer Meeting is the place that we gather to learn from each other, to plan our strategies for success, and to build a national agenda for lgbt equality.”
The Equality Agenda is the Federation’s emerging plan for lgbt equality in every state. The Agenda is defined by the work of our state organizations and based on what we know is achievable in each state. It covers the entire range of issues important to lgbt people, including equality in the workplace, in housing, in our schools, and for our families.
At the Summer Meeting, Equality Federation member organizations elected their board of directors and board officers for 2008-2009 terms. Members include: Mo Baxley of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry and a New Hampshire State Representative; Howard Bayless, the first openly gay man elected to office in Alabama; Alexis Blizman of Equality New Mexico; Lynne Bowman of Equality Ohio; Jeana Frazzini of Basic Rights Oregon; Ross Levi of Empire State Pride Agenda in New York; Ian Palmquist of Equality North Carolina; Paul Scott of Equality Texas; Sharon Semmens of Georgia; Marc Solomon of MassEquality; Mark St. John of Indiana Equality; Rhonda White of Tennessee Equality Project; and Deon Young of the Milwaukee LGBT Center.
In other business, KFA Board chairperson Jody Cofer was selected to serve as chair of the Planning Committee for the 2009 national summer meeting of statewide LGBT leaders. Statewide member groups will begin the process of submitting applications to host the 2009 gathering in the coming weeks. Cofer has served on the Committee for the past two years and when asked about serving he responded, “This gathering is the best opportunity available today for statewide lgbt leaders to come together and strategize about what is working and what is not working at home in the states. I’m excited that colleagues from across the country continue to show support for the work I’ve done and have entrusted me with this responsibility.” The outgoing chair of the planning committee is Alexis Blizman of Equality New Mexico.
Key national and regional allies of state work sponsored the Summer Meeting, including: the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Lambda Legal; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD); Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); and Rockway Institute.
With over 10,000 members, the Kentucky Fairness Alliance seeks to advance equality for LGBT people through leadership development, public education and by encouraging participation in the democratic process. For more information, visit our website at kentuckyfairness.org.
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