Thursday, August 27, 2009

Equality Alabama Weekend is coming soon!

I am glad that the good folks at Equality Alabama invited me back to participate in its Equality Weekend (Sept 18-20).
On Saturday, September 19, 2009 a day long schedule of educational programs will focus on workplace equality, safe schools, transgender concerns, religious issues, youth concerns , racism, romance, activism, electing gay and gay supportive candidates, parenting and other issues. The evening will include networking, silent auction, a gala dinner, and a bar after party. Friday and Sunday events will round out the weekend.
The real thrill for me about this year's conference is that the keynote speaker is ally Congressman John Lewis [D-GA]. He has literally shed blood for civil rights during the 60s, and today he is an open and strong advocate for full equality for LGBTs. I hope to snare a few moments to get a short interview with him. It will also be good to connect to Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd, the first out lesbian elected to its legislature (for House District 54 in 2006).

Fellow Durhamite and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mandy Carter and I will head up workshops during the conference. Read about them below the fold.

Mandy's tackling:

The intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation."


Join a discussion of cross-issue, anti-oppression, and meeting at the crossroads of race, class, culture, gender and sexuality, towards building the local work, unity and interconnection of people.

I will also give two talks with Q&A:

Making the world a little better: With literally just a few clicks of a mouse, you can make a positive difference. Technology provides incredible opportunity for change. Join one of the movement's well-known bloggers in a discussion about this exciting new frontier.

Pam Spaulding uses her experience in media to consider preparation to make interviews effective, no matter how limited the sound bite selected for air or print quotes. Have you ever wondered what the perfect response is to a situation or a question? Media and interactive training: Be prepared for the next time a news reporter or a nosey neighbor needs to hear just the right response.


This is the latest schedule for Equality Weekend—check back often for updates!

Friday, September 18, 2009

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Reception honoring speakers and volunteers
5608 8th Court South, Birmingham, AL 35212
[Home of Jay Barrett and Michael Cyr]
Tickets are $25.00, support Equality Alabama and are tax deductible

8:30 pm - until
Welcome Party at Our Place [smoke free neighborhood bar]
2115 Seventh Avenue South, Birmingham

Saturday, September 19, 2009

8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Registration opens for educational workshops
All sessions held at Cahaba Grand Conference Center
3660 Grandview Parkway [off highway 280], Birmingham, AL 35343

9:00 am - 9:45 am
Opening session begins
Featured speaker = Representative Patricia Todd
Top Ten for 2008-2009: Year in Review
Annual Equality Alabama Report and Future Directions
Award Presentations
Introduction of workshops and presenters

10:00 am - 11:30 am
Morning Workshops [see workshop schedule]

11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Afternoon Workshops [see workshop schedule]

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm
Interest-based Caucuses [see workshop schedule]

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Silent Auction and Drawings
Networking Reception [cash bars]

6:00 pm - 9:pm
Youth Dance Party
Off Cahaba Grand Upper Level of Entrance Rotunda

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Gala Dinner
Magic City Choral Society Performance
Featured Speaker = Congressman John Lewis [D-GA] Civil Rights Champion

9:30 pm
After Party at Joe's on Seventh [new smoke free neighborhood bar] corner of Seventh Avenue South and 27th Street South, Birmingham

Sunday, September 20, 2009

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
Services at Welcoming Churches [ask for list at registration]

12:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Brunch featuring performance by Politically Incorrect Cabaret
Historic Redmont Hotel
2101 Fifth Avenue North [in downtown loft district]
Birmingham, AL 35203


You can see the full program here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Video of Netroots Nation panel: "From Prop 8 to Full Equality in all 50 States"

For those of you who weren't able to make it to Netroots Nation this year, here's full video of a timely panel that I served on -- "From Prop 8 to Full Equality in all 50 States -- thanks to Will Urquhart of Sum of Change. There is fantastic information about the efforts in Maine and Washington State. It's worth the view time. Also discussed are the issues surrounding the 2010/2012 dustup. On the dais with me: Monique Hoeflinger, Michael Wilson, and Julia Rosen.

Description: From the passage of Prop 8 to the election of Barack Obama to the White House, the 2008 election had a profound impact on the fight for full LGBT equality in all 50 states. This panel will tackle how we win and defend marriage equality state-by-state and how we build momentum for full LGBT equality across America. What are the lessons learned from the Prop 8 loss in California that Maine and other states can learn in their battle for marriage equality? How will we restore marriage equality to California? And how can the netroots help win these battles?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ron Reagan interviews me at Netroots Nation 2009

Ron Reagan was broadcasting his Air America show at Netroots Nation this year. Megan Carpentier, one of the behind-the-scenes people at Air America came up to me during an earlier panel and asked if I do a segment with Ron Reagan about LGBT issues later in the day. Of course I was surprised that I was a first pick for this, considering the many great peeps in attendance. Anyway, I said sure, and showed up early since it was hard to find the radio row.

So I'm standing around chatting and all of a sudden his producer comes up and says that I was going to go on right now because the slotted guest was late. YIPES. So before I knew it, I was in the hot seat with the headphones on and doing the interview with Ron, who is a really nice guy who works well in this challenging environment with a wide variety of guests who are here at Netroots Nation.

It was a fun interview (radio is infinitely easier than doing TV) we talked about Prop 8 repeal, the Maine ballot initiative, allly support, and minority outreach.

We fit a lot into ~10 minutes.

My columns for The Durham News

[UPDATE (8/18): I had lunch with editor Mark Schultz, and the N&O/The Durham News has decided to extend my gig! He asked me whether I'd like to increase the column to twice a month, but I don't know that I can add that much to my already-full plate. I will be able to go longer on pieces if I want/need to -- usually I was constrained to 550-600 words.]

I'm the first out lesbian columnist for the News & Observer, one of the largest newspapers in the state and possibly the first out lesbian columnist for a major newspaper in NC; I have no idea. Anyway, several columns have now run in The Durham News, its Bull City community edition. It's a monthly column (I rotate with other local folks), a gig for six months that began in March 2009, so I'm wrapping up my stint.

Mark Schultz, the editor of TDN and The Chapel Hill News (as well as one of the Western Triangle editors for The News & Observer) just asked me out of the blue to do this. I was recommended by one of my old pals and former neighbor in Old West Durham, John Schelp, since I'm a Durham native. It's a small world.

My column is not like my blog -- about national politics -- this is about community flavor, but I do take on politics The first piece is still so far the one that has generated the most mail -- about breed-specific discrimination regarding American Pit Bull Terriers. I adopted Casey from a local shelter in 2008 and seen bias around here that reminds me all too much of racial discrimination. I only have about 650 words to jabber on -- no freedom for endless commentary like I have at the Blend.

My Columns

Night at the City Council
Sept 9, 2009
2 degrees of Stuyvesant, NYC

Aug 12, 2009
How city grew out of its shell
Jul 08, 2009
Sounding off on the need for speed
May 13, 2009
Pols now tight-lipped on gays
Apr 08, 2009
Fighting pet prejudice
Mar 15, 2009

Full list is on the Publications page of my site.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Panels I'm on at Netroots Nation 2009

I am heading to Pittsburgh to attend Netroots Nation, held this year on August 13-16 at the David L. Lawrence convention center. This is the fourth annual gathering of the progressive Netroots (the first two cons were known as YearlyKos). This year, Kate will join the fun as well.

It's a few days of blogger madness, attended by powerhouse full-time bloggers, part-time keyboard jockeys, readers, fans, politicians, authors, journalists and MSM types. This is a really large conference, with so many sessions, caucuses, screenings and parties it's hard to make decisions on which to attend.

I am on three panels this year and will co-host the LGBT caucus.

Thursday, August 13th 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Panel, 311
From Prop 8 to Full Equality in All 50 States: Fighting for Marriage Equality and LGBT Rights Across America
Pam Spaulding, Monique Hoeflinger, Michael Wilson, Julia Rosen.

From the passage of Prop 8 to the election of Barack Obama to the White House, the 2008 election had a profound impact on the fight for full LGBT equality in all 50 states. This panel will tackle how we win and defend marriage equality state-by-state and how we build momentum for full LGBT equality across America. What are the lessons learned from the Prop 8 loss in California that Maine and other states can learn in their battle for marriage equality? How will we restore marriage equality to California? And how can the netroots help win these battles?

Thursday, August 13th 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
LGBT Caucus, 310
Michael Rogers, Pam Spaulding

Connect with like-minded folks and talk with others from your community in our identity, issue and regional caucuses.

Saturday, August 15th 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Panel, 315/316
Women Bloggers Found: Has Feminist Blogging Gone Mainstream?
Jill Filipovic, Amanda Marcotte, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Lindsay Beyerstein, Pam Spaulding.

A few years ago, male bloggers 'round the liberal bloglandia were wondering out loud, "Where are the women bloggers?" Many of the women in the feminist and progressive blogospheres responded with frustration—we were there, and had been, the whole time. Today, the blogosphere looks awfully different, as feminist bloggers are increasingly mainstreamed and able to exert stronger influence on online discourse. But "blogging while feminist" isn't always easy, and feminist bloggers have faced harassment and threats that are uniquely gendered and sexualized. Feminists who have been most successful at running bigger blogs have also been mostly young, white, heterosexual and middle-class—so their issues have been presented to the mainstream progressive movement as the whole of feminism. This panel will look at what has changed, what hasn't and who remains on the edges of progressive blogging. It will also examine how female bloggers—and feminist bloggers in particular—are treated in mainstream spaces, and what we can do about it.

Saturday, August 15th 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Panel, 311
The Forgotten Agenda of Race in the Obama Administration: Profiling, Immigration Detention and Mass Incarceration
Vince Warren, Pam Spaulding

This panel will discuss police abuse, racial profiling in stop-and-frisks, the Rockefeller drug laws and mandatory sentencing, immigration sweeps and detention, and opportunities for organizing online and offline. What, if any, steps has the Obama administration taken to address these problems, and what legislative and economic actions should our government take? How do the issues intersect in their effect on people of color? What political, legislative and organizing opportunities are there to challenge these policies?

On Friday I'm definitely attending this:

Friday, August 14th 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Screening Series, 406
Screening: Outrage
Michael Rogers, Michelangelo Signorile

From Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) comes OUTRAGE, featuring journalist/blogger Michael Rogers and Sirus/XM radio host Michelangelo Signorile. The film is an indictment of closeted politicians who campaign against the LGBT community and reveals the hidden lives of some of the nation's most powerful policymakers. OUTRAGE looks at the harm they inflict and profiles those who seek to expose their hypocrisy. The film probes the psychology of these double lives, the ethics of outing, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. A Q&A with Rogers and Signorile will follow the screening.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I will be honored with the New York City Anti-Violence Project's Courage Award

I just learned that I will receive a 2009 Courage Award from the New York City Anti-Violence Project "for the significant contributions you have made to raising awareness about anti-violence work." A snippet of the email from AVP's Executive Director Sharon Stapel:
For almost 30 years, the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has been an invaluable resource to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) communities. Our mission is to address the root causes of violence committed against and within our communities, while providing services and outreach to survivors. Each year, AVP presents the Courage Awards, highlighting the significant contributions of members of our community and allies, whose thoughtful and meaningful work inspires us.

In recognition of the impact of LGBTQH weblogs in the fight against violence in our communities, we are honoring a select group of bloggers who have shown exceptional commitment to the values we espouse. We would like to honor you as part of that group with a 2009 Courage Award. In accepting this award, you will join the distinguished company of past awardees including: Alan Cumming, HBO, In the Life, Judy Shepard and George C. Wolfe, to name but a few.
Also among the past honorees is Law & Order: SVU's B.D. Wong.
The Courage Awards will be held on Monday, November 9, 2009.