Karen Ocamb

BOLD Gathering Motivates LGBT People of Color

Filed By Karen Ocamb | December 06, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: BOLD gathering, LGBT community, LGBT people of color, Minneapolis, movement, people of color, race and sexuality

Attendeees at the BOLD Gathering for LGBT people of color (Photo by Anna S. Min for BOLD! Gathering)

The BOLD Gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the Dec. 2-4 weekend was designed to empower LGBT leaders of color to meet this “movement moment” when LGBT communities of color profoundly intersect with the economic crisis and the right wing response to such issues as immigration – and the opportunities offered by communication through new technologies and social media. Jumping off from the fact that people of color are becoming the majority in the US, the conference asked questions such as: “Are we, as QTPOC (Queer & Trans People of Color), a strong arm of a bigger movement (such as the mainstream gay movement) or are we leading a movement of our own? How can we, as QTPOC people, affect the creation and direction of a movement that brings about the change for which we dream and work? What do we need to know?”

Ari Gutierrez, a member of the BOLD Planning Committee and co-Founder of the Los Angeles-based Latino Equality Alliance (funded by the LA-based Liberty Hill Foundation) sent in notes and photos from the event. Please note that the BOLD Gathering has posted four teleconference calls on their website on organizational models.

Of the conference, Gutierrez said:

This was an important event in the trajectory of the LGBT movement. Not just for the empowerment opportunity for our people of color leaders but more so because it provided a unique opportunity for the funders to learn more about us. Specifically, there has been a disconnect between funders that require funding proposals with the same program designs and process expectations they are accustomed to with other organizations. However, we know that the work in our ethnic communities requires cultural sensitivity on many levels and may look different on paper and in action in ways that are unfamiliar to funders. The setting of the BOLD! Gathering provided a window to our challenges and our approach to equality work as we know it. Allowing the funders to participate in the convening as we addressed these challenges and having them experience first hand our collective intelligence, creativity, experience and commitment will sharply increase the confidence funders have in our organizations and the “equality” work as it needs to be done in our communities of color. AND the better they can communicate those differences to the people that give money to the funders.

Gutierrez said the welcome ceremony at the Neighborhood House in St. Paul MN – especially remarks and a performance by Sharon Day Garcia, Executive Director and founder of Indigenous People’s Taskforce provided an extraordinary context for the conference.

Sharon Day Garcia giving welcoming remarks (Photo by Ari Gutierrez)

Sandra Day Garcia performed a narrative song, “We will never forget what we try to forget.”

Sharon Day performs "We will never forget what we try to forget" (Photo by Ari Gutierrez)

“This performance set the tone of the evening presentation and provided important historical reference to the experience of Native Americans in the region. Almost 150 years ago, the Dakota were horse-marched 150 miles by foot away from their land and shown disregard for their land, people and traditions,” Gutierrez said.

Minneapolis City Council Vice-President Robert Lilligren (Photo by Ari Gutierrez)

Gay Minneapolis City Council Vice-President Robert Lilligren – the first Tribal member elected to the City Council - spoke about LGBT political power and POC challenges in the region.

Harlan Pruden of the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society (Photo by Ari Gutierrez)

Harlan Pruden of the NorthEast Two-Spirit Society based in New York welcomed the BOLD Gathering participants on behalf of the Planning Committee. He explained, “The event was intentionally designed to highlight and honor the cultural traditions of people of color.”

Here is the transcript of Gutierrez’s remarks at the conference:

Good Morning! I'm Ari Gutierrez, a member of the BOLD! Planning Committee and Co-Founder of the California based Latino Equality Alliance, which is funded by the Liberty Hill Foundation. I also identify as a 1st generation U.S. born Latina, a Lesbian, a business professional, an activist, a loyal friend, a faithful partner and a new mom.

My journey as a member of the BOLD Planning committee began in February 2009! In those 22 months I've had the privilege to gather at in person strategy meetings and monthly committee phone meetings and share countless emails with other POC LGBT leaders from across the country to help design a new kind of gathering — one for and by LGBT People of Color. In that time, we challenged each other to consider the opportunity to determine our approach and aim to be inclusive in thought, design and implementation by honoring the traditions, interests, concerns and style of our people of color while maintaining accountability to our work, our LGBT leader peers and the communities we represent and for whom we do the work.

In the history of our LGBT movement, this gathering of LGBT people of color is not the first and will not be the last. However, it is the first time, as part of their Racial Equity Initiative, that mainstream LGBT funders have made a considerable investment in our movement. Their personal participation in this gathering is an acknowledgment of the importance of our people of color leadership is to our LGBT movement overall and a critical first step — a win for all of us.

Certainly, the gift of ceremony, history and tradition presented by our Two-Spirit peers in which we participated on the opening night of our gathering is one that grounded us and provided a bridge from the social challenges we face in serving our community toward the formal initiation of a joint national multi-cultural approach to our LGBT empowerment.

Our priorities, like those of the funders who are our hosts for this gathering, are to provide opportunities to become more aware of our shared struggles and provide opportunities to share best practices that will help us enhance the services and advocacy we provide in our people of color communities.

At the same time, we are challenging ourselves to work in tandem with each other just as we are challenging the mainstream LGBT community to be more inclusive and deliberate about honoring (and funding) our culturally sensitive approach to our community work.

So now as we begin the concluding portion of our BOLD! Gathering, let's pledge that going forward we will support each other to 1) accept the responsibility and the authority to advocate for the interests of our communities, 2) acknowledge that the POC LGBT organizations we represent are not just gatekeepers to our community but, in fact, we are the key to the equality and social justice our LGBT community seeks. And let's pledge that we will be much bolder in what we envision for our communities and issues and act in bolder ways to create the change we want to see in our communities.

With that in mind, the Planning Committee would like to thank LGBT Funders, PFund and the Astraea Foundations for their commitment in helping us create the opportunity for a truly BOLD! gathering.

And we would like to express our sincere thanks to Ms. Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz for helping us vision the gathering and for her work with our planning committees. And a special thanks to the plenary and workshop presenters.

Thank you too to the volunteer team and to our performance art teams and our logistic travel team lead by Marta Alvarado.

And most of all, we THANK YOU! For the hard work you do in your communities. The work you do for our communities is critical to the quality of life for our communities and saves lives. I am proud to count myself a part of this powerful and amazing group of leaders.

Now, to help us go BOLDLY FORWARD, I have the honor to introduce to you as our plenary speakers, Ms. Jewelle Gomez and Ms. Mandy Carter.

From BOLD Gathering: The BOLD Gathering is a Queer* & Trans People of Color Gathering to Support our Liberation and Self-Determination is an invitation only gathering designed by and for LGBT POC representatives and sponsored by the eight primary funders for LGBT issues. For more information and to support the effort please visit www.BOLDgathering.org. *Queer is used as a term of self-empowerment and is not indented to offend or deter from the right to self-identity of LGBT individuals.

Here is a list of participants, including the LA area organizations that participated:

IN THE PHOTO: Left to right top row: Eddie Martinez (Latino Equality Alliance), Geoffrey Winder (Gay Straight Alliance Network), Vincent Jones (Liberty Hill Foundation), Doreena Wong (Asian Pacific Islander Equality Los Angeles), Jacky Guerrero (Queer People of Color Collective), Joseph Arroyo (Equality California Institute/Horizons Foundation), Isabella Rodriguez (Transgender Law Center), Dre Molette (Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition), Milton Davis (Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition) and Kelly Lewis (Gay Straight Alliance Network), Left to right bottom row: Tommy Tseng (Asian Pacific Islander Equality Los Angeles), Ezak Perez (Gender Justice LA), Maceo Persson (Transgender Law Center), Eileen Ma (Asian Pacific Islander Equality Los Angeles), Ari Gutierrez (Latino Equality Alliance) (Photo by Anna S. Min for BOLD! Gathering)

Foundations

1. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice <http://www.astraeafoundation.org/>

Astraea is a dynamic global foundation providing critically needed financial support to lesbian-led, trans, LGBTI and progressive organizations. Separated by continents, language and culture, Astraea grantees are seizing opportunities, and laying the groundwork necessary for women and LGBTI people to claim their human rights. Astraea staff, board, members and grantees all share a deep commitment to feminist principles, racial and economic justice and human rights.

2. Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan <http://cfsem.org/>

We promote and facilitate community philanthropy in the seven counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, Livingston and St. Clair, and we also help donors invest in organizations they care about nationwide. We are building permanent community capital in the form of endowments that create a base of stable financial support for the region.

3. Delaware Valley Legacy Fund <http://www.dvlf.org/newsite/>

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) strives to increase philanthropy and grantmaking to support the community needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight-allied communities. DVLF advances philanthropy for the LGBT community through endowment building, fundraising, community outreach and education.

4. Horizons Foundation <http://www.horizonsfoundation.org/>

Horizons Foundation, a philanthropic social justice organization, serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community throughout the Bay Area and beyond. For 30 years, we've been meeting the needs, advancing the rights, and celebrating the lives of LGBT people through a diverse range of programs, services, and initiatives. Our innovative work both responds to and anticipates the needs of the community we serve.

5. Liberty Hill Foundation <http://www.libertyhill.org/>

Liberty Hill is first to identify community leaders at the frontlines of change. We invest in changemakers and equip them with the skills and relationships they need to build power and advance social justice. After more than 30 years, Liberty Hill is uniquely positioned to bring together forces for change and forge a common agenda for equality and opportunity in Los Angeles.

6. PhilanthroFund Foundation <http://www.pfundonline.org/>

PFund has grown to become a vibrant and vital community foundation, thanks to support over the years from thousands of individual donors and hundreds of volunteers. The foundation now annually awards thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to LGBT-related individuals and organizations throughout the Upper Midwest - in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

7. Pride Foundation <http://www.pridefoundation.org/>

Pride Foundation inspires a culture of generosity that connects and strengthens Northwest organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQ equality.

8. Stonewall Community Foundation <http://www.stonewallfoundation.org/>

Stonewall is at the forefront of grantmaking to LGBTQ organizations in New York City-from small start-up community groups seeking to initiate or expand innovative programming to larger institutions that provide critical services and resources to thousands of people every year. Among those that Stonewall has supported over recent decades are the Audre Lorde Project, MIX: The New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, Gay Men's Health Crisis, The LGBT Community Center, FIERCE, SAGE, the New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, and Northeast Two-Spirit Society.

Organizations

Astraea

Affinity Community Services <http://www.wbez.org/contributor/affinity-community-services>

ALLGO <http://allgo.org/allgo/>

Audre Lorde Project <http://www.boldgathering.org/alp.org/>

Center for Artistic Revolution <http://www.artisticrevolution.org/content/index.php>

Disability Justice Collective

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center <http://www.esperanzacenter.org/>

FIERCE <http://www.fiercenyc.org/>

First Nations/Two Spirit Collective

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance <http://www.nqapia.org/>

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project <http://www.qwocmap.org/>

Queers for Economic Justice <http://q4ej.org/>

Southerners on New Ground <http://www.southernersonnewground.org/>

Sylvia Rivera Law Project <http://srlp.org/>

Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice <http://www.tgijp.org/>

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Al GAMEA <http://algamea.org/>

A.L.O.R.D.E. Collective <http://www.myspace.com/alordecollective>

Asians and Friends

Black & White Men Together Detroit <http://www.nabwmt.org/index.html>

Asians and Friends <http://afchicago.org/blog/>

Detroit Latin@z <http://www.detlatz.org/>

Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church <http://fulltruth.webs.com/>

Infiniti Project

Karibu House Community Center

Kick <http://www.e-kick.org/>

POZ-D Group

Sistahs Providing Intelligence Creativity & Empowerment (SPICE) <http://spice.peoplemovers.com/SPICE>

Unity Fellowship Church-Detroit <http://ufc-detroit.org/>

Whosoever Ministry <http://whosoever.org/index.shtml>

Delaware Valley Legacy Fund

AIDS Services in Asian Communities <http://www.asiac.org/>

African Asian Latina Lesbians United <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aallu/>

Beta Phi Omega Sorority <http://www.betaphiomega.net/mainpage.html>

Black Gay Men's Leadership Council <http://www.bgmlc.org/>

Black LGBT Archivist Society of Philadelphia <http://archivistssociety.wordpress.com/>

Brothers Network <http://thebrothersnetwork.org/>

COLOURS, Inc. <http://www.coloursorganization.org/>

Doustaneh Hamrah <http://blog.doustaneh-hamrah.org/>

Elements <http://www.ourelements.org/>

GALAEI (Gay & Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) <http://www.galaei.org/>

House of Manolo Blahnik <http://houseofblahnik.org/>

MLK High School Rainbow Room

Philadelphia Black Gay Pride <http://www.phillyblackpride.org/>

People with Hope Trans Conference

Pos Pride <http://www.myspace.com/pos_pride>

Queer Philadelphia Asians

Smoke, Lilies and Jade <http://www.liliesandjade.org/>

T-MAN <http://tmanphilly.com/>

Unity Fellowship Church of Philadelphia <http://www.ufccphiladelphia.org/mainsite/>

Womyn's Village

Horizons Foundation

AIDS Project East Bay <http://www.apeb.org/>

Asian & Pacific Islander (API) Family Pride <http://www.apifamilypride.org/

Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits <http://www.baaits.org/>

Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition <http://www.bayardrustincoalition.org/>

Black Coalition on AIDS <http://www.bcoa.org/>

El/La Transgender Latina Prevention Project <http://www.myspace.com/ellaparatranslatinas>

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance <http://www.gapa.org/>

Gente Latino de Ambiente (GELAAM) <http://www.el-concilio.com/>

Mangoes with Chili <http://mangoswithchili.wordpress.com/>

Purple Moon <http://www.purplemoondance.org/whatwedo/healingbodymovement.html>

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project <http://www.qwocmap.org/>

Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project <http://www.tgijp.org/>

Song That Radio <http://www.songthat.com/>

Trikone <http://www.trikone.org/index.shtml>

Liberty Hill Foundation

Asian Pacific Islander Equality Los Angeles <http://www.apiequalityla.org/>

Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition (JRC or Jordan Rustin) <http://jrcla.org/>

Gender Justice LA (formerly FTM Alliance LA) <http://www.genderjusticela.org/>

Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) <http://www.latinoequalityalliance.com/>

Transgender Law Center <http://transgenderlawcenter.org/cms/>

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSAN) <http://www.gsan.net/>

Queer People of Color Collective (Q*POC)

PFund (Philanthrofund Foundation)

Color Coordination

RARE Productions <http://rareproductionsmpls.com/Home_Page.html>

Shades of Yellow <http://shadesofyellow.org/>

(Crossposted at LGBT POV)


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