Cathy Renna

Come create some change

Filed By Cathy Renna | January 29, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Creating Change conference, Dallas, gay agenda, LGBT, NGLTF, Queer Agenda, task force, Texas

Do you like complex conversations? Do you enjoy talking about the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, class etc? Do you celebrate and thrive in a diverse, unapologetically queer setting? If so, keep reading. I've got the perfect weekend (ok, week-long) getaway for you.

For anyone who works in the LGBT/progressive movements, there is one place we know we can go every year to get our batteries recharged, have our assumptions and idea challenged, see longtime friends and fellow activists and even better, make new ones.

It's a "who's who" without pretense, something lesbian comic Marga Gomez once called a "queer MENSA circuit party." She was not far off (although the last part has escaped me). I am talking about Creating Change aka The National Conference on LGBT Equality. Given the "movement moment" we are in it seems like the 2010 conference in Dallas will be interesting, challenging, maddening and fun. The Bilerico Project will have a huge presence there and I am hoping to create some change myself, with a little help from some friends....

If you go to the Creating Change web site, you'll see the program. It is filled with the most inclusive, interesting, provocative and diverse workshops and programs you could ever find. This year I was honored to be asked to be part of the Academy faculty and decided to push the envelope a little. One of my sessions is called "Are we a community or a market? A movement or simply Gay, Inc?" I am guessing we will have a lot of people and a lively discussion, I already have some terrific "cameos" by longtime and newer folks in our movement to talk about this big picture issue that is, I believe, the driving force behind the challenges we are facing in 2010 and beyond.

No matter who you are or what your interests encompass, Creating Change is the space to find others in the community to engage with, plan with and, obviously, create change with when you return home. Many influential groups have been founded and activists born at this petri dish of queer organizing, and if there was a year to come this is it.

There will also be a private, conference attendee only screening of "Two Spirits," which had a huge Denver international premiere recently but Creating Change is simply the perfect place to talk about the sophisticated, challenging and extraordinary way this film looks at gender and gender identity.

One of my favorite events if the ProFoHomo reception, for those looking for careers in the movement, which was a huge success it's first year in 2009 and will only be better this year.

I cannot even begin to list the many reasons to come to this conference, you can find that at But the one reason I can tell you with the greatest confidence is that you will be among the most diverse, progressive, interesting and fun LGBTQIA people, and this is the only place it happens.

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Will be there, will be busy there....sheesh, so much in so little time... ;) Will probably miss out on the most of the media/blog/etc stuff, with the agenda I have planned for myself, but sounds cool. Hopefully will have a chance to meet the Bilerico staff....

Robyn Carolyn Montague
aka 'Revlon Robyn'

Brad A. Palmertree | January 29, 2010 7:59 PM

I'll be there! Hope to meet as many of the Bilerico staff as possible!

What change? It's the same program as the previous few years AND there is nothing about winning our full equality OR when that will happen.

It's my understanding that this event will be poorly attended. I'm not surprised. Nothing new. Again.

Interesting. It's my understanding that it will be well attended, and that there is a great deal in it about winning our full equality (through creating change) and when it will happen.

But then, I've always been a bit more focused on creating solutions than creating problems.

Look at the Program. The link above doesn't work, but go to the NGLTF website:

There is nothing about HOW or WHEN we will achieve our full equality. But, that shouldn't be a surprise. Our movement isn't about winning.

Again, I see a great deal of such.

Among the differences, perhaps, are that solving the problems noted are all part of getting to the point where we will achieve stuff.

The best thing about this, though, is that there is no right way to get there from here -- and there's always room for multiple ways of doing it and looking at it.

Wouldn't you agree?

No, I wouldn't agree. We need to figure out HOW to WIN and WHEN. The entire conference is very vague and light on strategy. If there is a way to actually win, nobody has presented it - that's why we keep doing whatever in the hope that it will all add up someday. We've done that for +50 years.

I like the idea of the conference, but it's just more of the same. Our movement is not focused on winning. If it was we would have strategies, plans and a foreseeable victory.

While I'm not a fan of NGLTF (or most of Gay Inc.) I do believe the networking part of the conference is helpful. I just don't expect any Gay Inc. organization to present a plan to win equality complete with a date. They're just not accountable to anyone. That's our fault.

Strategy Element: focus on increasing support, inclusion and awareness of ethnic LGBT people.

Purpose -- greater number of vocies, more universal demand, greater exposure in the media (instead of it always being the white folks).

Value: in the task of ground effect attitude adjustment (changing hearts and minds, which is a strategy), one of the factors that actually harms the overall cause is a sense within many ethnic parts of the LGBT that there;'s just too damn much privilege and the particular ikssues of the ethnic people are being ignored, when they suffer a marked increase in discrimination not just from the culture at large, but from their own ethnic cultures as well.

Strategry points dealt with in the conference:

Anti-Racism, Racial Justice and People of Color Organizing
Challenging and Transforming White Supremacy in Our Work: Our Vision, Our Roles
Finding Our Kin Folk: People of Color Organizing Institute for New Activists
Building Bridges Across Our Communities
LGBTQ Youth of Color Organizing Summit
Digging Deeper for Racial Justice

Strategy Element: Overcome ageism within the LGBT comjunity, as it affects our ability to work together, thus hindering progress:

LGBTQ Youth of Color Organizing Summit
Old and Fearless: Aging, Ageism, and the LGBT Community

Strategy point: achieve marriage equality.

Moving Marriage Forward: The Tools to Keep Winning
Focus on OUR Families: Defining a vision for the inclusion of families in the movement for equality

Those are just a few of the examples of how this does indeed in how we win and the timetable for such.

The timetable is set by how well we work together within the ENTIRE LGBT community, and to be perfectly frank, we suck at that. All four of the basic groups snipe at each other all the time. We have people saying drop the T in order to pass enda and other people ignoring simple questions about why they aren't including the Trans folk in the effort to end discharges. The "biggest" org totally ignores 300+ other orgs. SMall, local, grassroots orgs don't share data and information and often work at cross purposes.

Fix that, and we'll get somewhere faster than we have by not fixing it.

I understand your frustration -- as a trans person, I get to hear all the time how I'm erased and ignored and avoided because I'm icky by Gay Inc. I'm fairly well known for having an opinion of the HRC that places them in a category that is unfriendly to trans people.

I also wrote and article here not too long ago called "It's time for an agenda" and I made specific concrete suggestions for something that absolutely does work.

You know what the comments were? Never happen. Wouldn't ever work. Total waste of time.

Want to read it?

You want something that no one seems willing to do in the community. I'd like it to happen as well.

This conference is part of that effort to make a change so we can achieve that sort of thing.

Don't dismiss it because the organizers are someone you dislike. That's like saying that all evangelical christians hate gay people. Feels good, but it's not the right thing.

I appreciate your comment and your previous article.

The items you have listed are "discussions" intended to overcome divisions within the movement - they are not about winning, they're about getting along. I understand that problem and efforts to create unity are valuable. BUT, it isn't about winning.

I do not find it unusual that within the non-profit sector the emphasis is on service, not strategy and especially not winning. Winning would end their jobs and perks. They are without incentive to finish the job. They are paid to fight, not win.

The balance of seminars and presentations is on training, and it is the same as previous years and decades. Creating another 1,000 activists does not change much - especially if they simply do the same things we've done for decades - with limited results.

It is very different to demand accountability and withhold resources UNTIL we figure out a way to win. Less than one-in-ten LGBT persons participates in any effort to obtain our equality. My research indicates that the other 9 people will not participate until they can see us actually winning. Nobody in Gay Inc. or the activist community has ever presented a plan to win. That is necessary if we're going to inspire and ignite a real, sustainable movement.

Winning should be the focus, not surviving.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 29, 2010 10:37 PM

I'll be there talking and connecting with people about how we win marriage nationwide. I can't wait.

I also hear that a Glee karaoke throw down is in the works.

I haven't gone to one yet. I guess that I have been so turned off by the nGLtf that I avoid anything involving them when I can. Hell, as one of the planners for a Bi event last year I didn't even want to send them an invite but the other two planners did.
My primary interest is in religion and philosophy, is there much programming about the intersection of various religions with queer issues?

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | January 30, 2010 1:38 PM

Rob - there is an entire faith track, check out the program, it is definitely something that people are (finally) focusing on more

I'd love to go, but no way can I afford it. A pity these things are almost never held anywhere within driving distance for me. I never understand why events like this continue to be held with little or no accommodation for the fact that many of of us are on extremely limited budgets right now.

When they held the NLGJA convention in Brooklyn, I was there. If/when they finally start holding these things in places I can afford to attend, I'll try to be there for those, too. As long as they keep holding these things in places that require a major cash outlay in order to just get there, I'll keep staying home.

While discussing location ... Dallas?

I gather this idea isn't getting any traction, but ... why are we planning a big convention that brings in major queer dollars into a state that has a constitutional ban on marriage equality? Maybe an all-out marriage equality boycott might backfire, but at least our major organizations, when planning major events, might consider giving preference to states that have marriage equality, or at least don't have constitutional bans against it.

This center-of-the-nation get-together could have been held in Des Moines or Debuque or even Chicago ... why Dallas? (And don't say you did it for the warm mid-winter weather --- Texas just had an ice storm that made national news!)

P.S. Just to show I'm not trying to be a spoiler, I will say that quite a few years ago I had the chance to attend "Creating Change - West" in Los Angeles. It was a very worthwhile weekend, and I remember one workshop in which I had an interesting discussion, mildly confrontational, with Sabrina Sojourner about whether assuming a white person is racist is a form of "reverse discrimination".

I'd love to attend too, if resources weren't so scarce. I can use the training.

One of these days I'll get there in body as well as in spirit! Until then, I'll just have to keep it local.

I am glad that the conference is in Dallas. I am retired and can afford to go there. NYC if frightfully expensive. The SAGE/AARP conference was at a hotel that charged $350/night plus the cost of the conference and travel. Huge expenses for people who don't have an organ ization to foot the bill.

Hello Friends.
Full disclosure: I am the director of the Creating Change Conference. Responding to three comments here.

Regarding affordability: we long ago realized that hotel rooms and full fare registration fees would be obstacles for some of our friends and colleagues. There are registration scholarships available each year; there is no cost community housinig available each year. We welcome any and all to apply for scholarships and to request community housing. This year, we awarded registration scholarships to 234 people; we received community housing requests from 53 people and we placed all who requested it in no cost housing with hosts in the Dallas area.

Regarding driving ranges to Creating Change: we move this event to a different city each year with respectable, but not perfect, geographic range and diversity. Our choices are sometimes limited by hotel availability and access to a city by various means of travel: air, train, bus, and auto. I don't know where you live, Rebecca, but I will hope that we will come to a city near you in the next few years. Upcoming cities/years: Minneapolis 2011; Baltimore 2012; Atlanta 2013.

Regarding choice of city/state based on LGBT friendliness/progress: The Task Force and many others fervently work for a day when our LGBT folk are welcomed, respected, valued and treasured in every city and state in this country. Since we have not yet arrived at that good future, we choose not to limit the Creating Change Conferece sites to only those cities/states where we have achieved the most progress. We take the conference to places and spaces where much work remains to be done. Texas is such a place, but we also respect and honor the work that our friends and colleagues in Texas have done in the past two decades to improve life here for LGBT people. Long way to go? Yes. Already made big strides? Yes. Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, in particular, are home to thriving and active LGBT communities and organizations. We are proud to work with them to make Creating Change 2010 a big success and, we hope, a generator of more good work in Texas.

Attendance: Well, one can't count attendees until they arrive, given unsteady weather for travel. At this point, though, we anticipate over 2000 people to be on site with us at Creating Change 2010. Sure, I'd love to have 3000 or 5000 people at our conference, but to gather 2000 of us together is wonderful, exciting and stimulating for all. To me, it is each year something close to a miracle that fills me with gratitude and grace.

Please join us if you can for Creating Change 2010, but if not this year, some year in the future.

Best and love to all,
Sue Hyde
Director, Creating Change Conference
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

... and nothing about winning or when. Got it.

Ang Lawrence | January 31, 2010 1:33 AM

I also would like to see more smaller conferences held in smaller, more affordable and more supportive places than these major cities like Dallas, LA and SF. The American GLBTQ community stretches across all 50 states and our territories...heck, around the globe. BUT we need to start focusing where more of us live...and less on the tourism allure of partying in the big city lights.

Perhaps the first change would be to organize chapters in all 50 states, and then hold state conferences...this would make more organizational sense to me. I don't think that holding a big extravagant,money sucking conference in a state where same sex marriage is outlawed is sending a real great message to those of us out here in mainstream America. Yet here we are saying "hey here's our money!" And whooping it up at their nightclubs and bars, some too hung over to attend the "planned" events the next day. I find that many times these "grand" type of conferences are alot of showboating and an opportunity for the richer of our community to come together and party hard on an expense account from some non-profit.

I am sure some go with the best of intentions and I do hope that something comes of this conference, and I hope that we can find the solution for how to involve more of our community in these creations of change. Let's face it, we are a well fragmented community, and it's not getting any better. I would love to be part of the solution, when we have some distinct, good leadership; people who are committed and can rally our community to rise up and take charge to guide us toward really making the changes we all want to see...not toward more speeches, conferences and donating of money that goes God knows where. I personally believe there is a serious lack of organization and leadership...along with so much in-fighting and bickering that it turns off the average of us and makes us not want to be associated with the triviality of it all.

Again, this is all just my take as a sort of burned out activist...I try not to be sour, but I am saddened when I see so much in-fighting - even in the comments on these blogs it's blatant. When will our community come back together and really work TOGETHER to win this fight? I too would like to see a game plan that included some dates and real goals, not just suggestions and more ways to fund raise.

Peace to all.

Thank-you for using the word "win."

RobertGibbs | January 31, 2010 9:05 AM

They are low on the Charity Navigator scale.

NGLTF is my favorite Gay Inc org. Unlike a lot of the other groups that focus mostly on fundraising or narrowly on political, media, or HIV goals, NGLTF attempts to cover the entire community.

They're the org I think Bilerico most resembles. They do their best to present the entire face of our community and not just big money gays, only gays and lesbians, or suck up to celebrities.

I've been to Creating Change twice before and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Do you leave the conference knowing exactly how and why and when the LGBT community will throw off it's shackles and rise to world dominance? Hell no. No one has a magic bullet, AndrewW, or we wouldn't be in the shape we're in. I hear you constantly calling for the solution to all of our problems - both here and on other sites - but what is it? I've never heard you make a suggestion as to what that could be other than "new thinking." Okay, so think "new." Now what's the answer?

This first part of the answer is acknowledging that we do not have a strategy to win. It is letting go of this false idea that "we just need to keep fighting" and "one of these days" we will succeed.

I am aware of several new ideas that a few groups have been working on. I am also aware that they have little hope of success - not because of their ideas, but because of the LGBT establishment. That includes Gay Inc. and Bilerico and others.

You referred to a "magic bullet" and assumed there isn't one because if so, "we wouldn't be in the shape we're in." I don't think there is a magic bullet, but I do believe there is a way to win. It is not related to any organization or any "leader," it is about ideas. New ideas.

Our dysfunctional movement suffers from a lack of new ideas - partly because of the not-invented-here syndrome (especially HRC) or the harmful belief that our struggle isn't winnable. It is winnable. But, that is NOT the conversation we're having.

ALL of us should be seeking ideas to win, not just "get along." We should seek those ideas with a healthy dose of honesty and accountability. We should use math. I believe we can create our equality within a few years, but "our community" is the obstacle.

The change we need to create, is a change in thinking. We should be thinking about winning and be willing to offer solutions. The community needs to be responsive to new ideas with open and objective minds.

Our primary goal should be figuring out HOW and WHEN we can WIN. Talk about that at your Conference and listen to everyone.

Bil, I can't agree about nGLtf representing the whole community. I work with several bi organizations and nGLtf definitely does not represent us, we have invited them to our functions and when they send someone the person just seems to be there to try and placate and give lip service.
Were they serious about anything other than donations where bi or trans people are concerned they would stop us nGLtf.
They said that they were changing their name to simply Task Force but they don't use it that way. They still call themselves nGLtf and still; use those titles for their employees even the ones who are bi. The continue to purvey a public image that is exclusive and not inclusive.
If they ever become serious about inclusion then I would be interested in what they have to say. But as long as they are exclusive in their name I'm not interested in being a step child who sits at the little kids table on thanksgiving but still helps pay the bills. I though that we were in this struggle in order to stop queer peoples from being treated as second class citizens and yet these Gayinc organizations have their own system for excluding second class citizens.
If you are going to have the nerve to ask a person to contribute and, even more, have the nerve to claim that you represent someone then that person should at least get to walk in through the front door. Kinda feels like high school when somebody wants to keep you a secret you know the old "we can do this sometimes but don't ever tell anyone and act like you don't know me at school" and I didn't go for that then and I'm too old to go for it now.
I and other representatives of bi people have told their employees this on multiple occasions and I'm tired of their mealy mouthed responses and attempts to placate.

I just arrived in Dallas from Iowa for the conference. Am retired and moving to Florida after the conference is over, with the intention of starting projects focusing on the needs of senior GLBT persons being placed in extended care facilities and nursing homes or assisted living residences.

At 68 years, I am just ahead of the boomer generation and am “coming-out” again for the 100th time in my life. (There seems to be no end to this coming-out business for the pre-war generation.) As such, we are again having to face new situations and develop new solutions to the ignorance and bigotry of others.

As for full equality, how are we to attain this goal except thru constantly addressing each issue that presents its self? I suppose we could just wave our magic wands, right??? You know anything can happen in a fairy-tale.

Anyway, I look forward to meeting you folks and the thousands of others there, and exchanging ideas with you. Hopefully we can learn from each other and not have to re-invent the wheel again and again.

Enjoy the conference.

This group: is doing a good job.

It is beyond sad for older individuals to face hateful discrimination in their retirement. Sadly, it occurs a lot. I hope you are able to help Lee.

Bil and Cathy:

You do this repeatedly. You ask about ideas to really change, and then you disappear.

Our movement (and I do not think it is even appropriate to call it that) needs help. It needs new ideas. Having a "creating change" conference sounds nice, but in reality it isn't about change after all - it is about preserving the status quo. The LGBT community invests $200 million a year in our professional advocates, they should be held accountable.

We need to understand if the money we are investing (and the hope we're investing) makes sense. That conversation is not present at this conference. It should be.

The reality is we must figure out how to win, not survive as a non-profit, but how to win our equality. THAT is not part of this conference.

I remain hopeful that new ideas will ignite a real and sustainable movement - one that will enroll the majority of our community, one that will lead to our full equality and one that will withstand the test of simple math and honesty.

HOW and WHEN? That's what we should be focused on.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | February 1, 2010 7:58 AM

Andrew - did not mean t be absent, it was simply one of those family weekends (with a little work) that got away from me. I agree with you, we need more planning and more strategies for winning - but where I differ with you is in the idea of ONE plan or one way of winning. I have never kidded myself into thinking there is one way to win, we are too diverse a community for that - same reason I don't think there is any one "gay MLK" that everyone is looking for, we are far too diverse and disparate for that. there are groups that work on very specific issues and have gotten concrete wins for us - they take time, that's just the reality of it. There is no magic wand (I hate the bullet expression) that will suddenly give us a clear roadmap. what we need are common goals, some overlap in strategies and a willingness to work together. this is what has been missing. I also think some of the issues I will address in one my sessions - see description below - will be an opportunity for folks to bring idea and solution to the table - but the reality of the current landscape is what it is and we must be flexible and nimble and more creative. I would be curious to see what you think about the program below, since you will not be there and I really DO want input and solutions:

Are we a community or a market? A movement or simply Gay, Inc?

The swift growth and progress of our movement in the past few decades has
been both exciting and challenging. While we have experienced major cultural
and attitudinal shifts on LGBT issues, the institutionalized bias that could
be reduced via legal and policy change still lags. In addition, some
segments of our community have evolved into more of a market than a
movement, which has had an impact on the way many LGBT organizations
function. As our organizations grow, we sometime see practices that are
disturbing: groups follow the money and pander to donors more than they
follow their passion or mission. “Professionalization” and “corporatization”
seem to become code for the creation of self-sustaining bureaucracies and
create roadblocks for more diverse staffing and programs, as well as making
organizations generally less confrontational and risk-averse. What impact is
this having on how the world sees us? How can we take a values-bases
approach to our work and still be effective, particularly around framing
messages and increasing visibility for all the issues our communities need
to advance? This academy session will look at the current state of the
movement through this lens, offer the opportunity for discussion and create
an atmosphere for solution and goal-oriented discussion of this vital part
of our communities’ future progress toward equality.

Thank-you Cathy.

I'm not willing to concede that there isn't a single way to actually win, in fact I've seen a few ideas/plans.

I think the movement has a "that's the way we've always done it" problem and there doesn't seem to be an incentive to win. When I view the tactics used in our movement I see very little verifiable evidence that they work. The truth is if any one of the tactics actually was working, we would put all our resources there. For instance, if "lobbying" actually changed politicians minds, we'd shift more of our resources to lobbying. The same can be said for protesting or marching.

For +50 years we have done the same things over and over. There is no evidence they actually work. The people have changed not because of our efforts, but in spite of them. The world has changed, we haven't.

Legal efforts have proven the most fruitful, but they will never create equality. You can't order people to change their minds (ref: Civil Rights Act 1964). Plus, there is very compelling evidence that we DO NOt want to be a protected class or even a minority, we want to be equal and respected.

We need new ideas and I hope your session is helpful in that regard. It is difficult for people to suggest new ideas when the entire movement and LGBT Advocacy organizations seem fixed almost entirely on a political solution. We are not a movement with only 10% of us participating. Sure, we are a market, but that isn't contributing to our equality.

Most in the activist community and the professional LGBT advocacy groups get upset (defensive) when anyone suggests accountability. With hundreds of millions spent each year and no idea what works, we are floundering. We are inefficient and ineffective. That's why I have suggested we focus on WINNING and I am willing to add some incentive: If any person or group can present ideas or a strategy, that is confirmed with math, demonstrating HOW and WHEN we will achieve our full equality - I will give them $100 million.

There are many young people giving very serious and very creative thought to figuring our how to actually win and end our struggle. I think if that exercise is fruitful and leads to a very clear path to victory, we will re-inspire and re-ignite a real, sustainable movement. When we believe we can win, we will participate in record numbers. The idea of winning is missing and I hope we find it.

WE need to change. Enjoy your conference.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | February 1, 2010 1:56 PM

Andrew -

if you are unwilling to concede on such a simple point as there is not one way to achieve equality, I am not sure there is even a space for discussion. what I find confusing is that you have a ton of energy to bitch about every strategy (and frankly, you are flat out wrong to make blanket statements like "lobbying doesn't work" etc etc

You say you want new people and new ideas? Well, then step up and suggest something. And don't give me the whole activists won't listen - if that were really true we would not have had the national equality march last year.

i now brace myself for your critique of the march

Lobbying: Please provide an example of how lobbying changed a politicians mind about an LGBT issue. LGBT issues are not negotiable and the only thing that changes their minds are Polls (Ref: Harold Ford's move from Tennessee (78% opposed to LGBT) to New York (only 48% opposed to LGBT). You can throw all the money you want at our 45 Anti-LGBT US Senators you want - it doesn't matter. If you changed the minds of their voters and you would own them. It's the people and the polls, not the politicians.

IF lobbying was effective we would pool all our resources and lobby the hell out of Congress and win, right? Of course not.

One way to achieve equality? You insist there isn't and that makes you a big part of the problem. Just because you are part of a decades long do-the-same-thing and say-it's-working industry - without a cohesive strategy or any idea WHEN we'll finish the job, doesn't mean it is impossible. In fact, we have +50 years of the movement NOT working.

Yes, there may be one way to achieve our equality and we may have missed it. Or it may have simply been dismissed by ill-placed assertions like yours. I have no quarrel with your work or your successful career - many in the LGBT Community have a great deal of respect for you, but please don't tell people not to think, imagine and seek new ideas. We live in a whole new world and young people get that - we need their ideas. I suggest they are much more valuable than our years of experience.

The March: It was helpful in one regard - young people got involved. After the March? Nothing. EqualityAcrossAmerica failed and it had as it's single idea citizen lobbyists (see above).

I believe there are valuable ideas in the minds of our young people. I am somewhat convinced that new ideas are not welcome by the old work horses of our supposed movement. It is shameful that you wish to continue to give false hope to sincere people who want to contribute by suggesting (without evidence) that lobbying and protesting actually produce results. You go way beyond shameful when you make the idea of winning impossible. I know it's hard to admit that decades of the same tired tactics haven't worked, but until you do that, young people will go down the same useless path.

Get used to accountability Cathy. Get used to people questioning whether or not a tactic is helpful and/or valuable. Get used to the young people abandoning old ideas and creating new solutions. The whole idea of "creating change" is useless if you can't even be honest and objective about tactics, resources and the missing strategy to win. The change YOU need to create resides in your mind. You, too need to focus on winning and DEMAND a verifiable strategy to get there. Just because we haven't has a way to win, doesn't mean there isn't one. In fact, it probably means just the opposite.

I repeat my offer of $100 million to the individual, group or organization who can figure out HOW and WHEN we will achieve our full equality.

I don't think it's impossible.

Email me:


I would also like to add - with a healthy dose of respect - I do not and have never made a living off our struggle. I have no reason to be protective about anything that has been tried or any tactic that is currently used. I certainly have no reason for prolonging this struggle.

I come from a very different place in the world. I have made a lot of money by seeking new ideas, innovations and solutions. My life experience has taught me that there are always solutions to problems. I know there are solutions for our community and I intend to find them. I'm not interested in following a path of marginal results in the mere hope we'll win someday. I want to know exactly how and I want to know exactly when.

Most of the great innovations in our world would have never been created if we told people there wasn't a solution - especially if we say that with experience and authority.

90% of our community is on the sidelines - disenchanted, frustrated and uninspired. I have spent money researching why so many of us fail to contribute or participate. The majority of them said "because we can't win." That's what they've been told by the length of the struggle, the lack of a leader and the decades of "same."

We NEED to get our entire community in the game. Your efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness are helpful. But, that isn't going to ignite the community - only hope can do that. I suggest we will create hope by demonstrating how and when we will win. That is the most important thing we can do.

I know my comments piss people off and threaten their "favorite tactics" or even their salaries, but until we wake up and focus on winning, we will continue to be content with struggling. We will continue to be uninspired by the promise of "one of these days."

So, if you want a breakthrough at your Creating Change Conference, change the conversation. Change the focus. Ask the attendees to figure out how and when we can achieve full equality. Then listen. Listen with an open mind and the possibility that there is a way to win. We can't take a few more decades of struggle - we want it now. I believe it is possible.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | February 1, 2010 3:55 PM


thank you for this response, I appreciate it and I think it gets to the root of the challenge - why people are on the sidelines

I would be interested in hearing more about your research, it is shocking to me that people would stay on the sidelines b/c we "cannot win" - which says to me our organizations have created no space or a point of entry of meaningful participation in the work. it speaks to me about the "professionalization" problem I hope to discuss in that session at the conference and hear what people think. my feeling is that the only "input" many of our groups want now is $$ and have a "we'll take care of it" attitude - so you see we do have some areas of agreement

if you love anywhere near Washington DC I think we would make for a very interesting lunch date! I would be totally up for that.


I'm in your neighborhood once a month. It's a date.

There's a great restaurant called Proof in Penn Quarter -
you bring yours and I'll being mine.

Enjoy your conference.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | February 1, 2010 6:19 PM

I am there - will email offline to coordinate