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GLBT Activists Ready for 2007 Session at Statewide Summit

Last weekend more than 80 activists gathered at the University of Oregon for Basic Rights Oregon's 2nd Statewide Leadership Summit. Key activists from Western, Central, Southern and Coastal Oregon made the trek to Eugene. The day started off with an opening from Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, followed by the Voices From the Field panel. This showcased the diversity and realm of work being done in several areas of the state with updates from BRAT leaders, coalition partners from the No on 43 campaign, and BRO Interim Executive Director Aisling Coghlan. Survey results from BRO's People of Color Working Group were presented to begin a dialogue and understanding of relationships between GLBTQ groups and communities of color. These issues are particularly pervasive for queer and trans people of color and reflects how the work of BRO fits in within a larger social justice framework.

In the first skills training session participants were involved in either a lobby simulation game or in strategizing movement building workshops. The second session offered several options to build techniques around lobbying, fundraising, growing activist groups and organizing on school campuses. Workshops were designed to further the skills of activists with varying degrees of experience and work towards winning pro-equality legislation in 2007. An informal Trans caucus met during lunch to discuss upcoming issues related to gender identity within the work of BRO and the legislative season.

Afternoon activities consisted of small and large groups for a variety of discussions. The first exercise was titled "DEAL or NO DEAL?" Participants where presented with several legislative scenarios and asked if BRO should except or deny certain compromises with the risk of losing legislation or a resulting fight at the ballot. Next was "Campaigning Our Values"- a similar ask to activists on when it may be appropriate to concede certain values in order to win legislation and move Oregon towards equality. This brought up dialogue from varying viewpoints and showcased the complexity of the work ahead.

Lastly, activists grouped by region and set out goals and work plans and left prepared and energized to begin a strong campaign to pass pro-equality legislation in the fast-approaching 2007 session!

Click here to check out photos of the summit!

Want to get involved where you live? Contact thomas@basicrights.org or call 503-222-6151
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