Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pride Agenda Goes to Madison for Equality Federation’s Summer Meeting

This past weekend, LGBT activists from across the country gathered in Madison, Wisconsin for Equality Federation’s annual Summer Meeting. I was fortunate enough to have been selected for the Federation’s Summer Internship Program (along with seven other talented individuals from various state equality groups, left) and got the chance to attend the meeting and present about my time here at the Pride Agenda. The four day conference was filled with panels, workshops, luncheons, revelry and even an appearance by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin at the closing brunch.

The topics of some of the workshops I attended ranged from the federal hate crime prevention measures and national efforts for safer public schools to raising money from social media and collaboration between community centers and advocacy groups. Nighttime activities included the Federation Fling (held at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) and a Pub Crawl of some of Fair Wisconsin’s (the host organization) favorite local bars.

The intern presentations took place Saturday, and aside from showcasing what I worked on at the Pride Agenda, interns from Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin presented on a wide range of initiatives they worked on over the past ten weeks. Equality Federation project specialist Renee Perry oversaw the intern program and was instrumental in organizing weekly conference calls for us as well as coordinating almost every aspect of our trip.

At the closing brunch on Sunday, the Pride Agenda was honored with the “Most Amazing Achievement” award for our work on the marriage equality campaign, and our Executive Director Ross Levi was recognized for his extraordinary dedication and guidance with the Federation’s first-ever Leadership Award. The first openly-lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin also spoke at the brunch and discussed how proud she was to be part of the movement and highlighted her pro-LGBT work in Congress. Overall, the summit was an engaging and informative way for the equality groups to get together and share the individual lessons learned throughout the year and also to celebrate the achievements in the movement. (right, Executive Director Ross D. Levi, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, me, and Director of Governmental Projects and Community Development Jonathan Lang)

Lastly, the Pride Agenda has intern positions open for the fall, so if you are interested check out our website for more information.

*Photos courtesy of the Equality Federation.

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