Family Pride: Bringing the Work We Do to the Places Our Families Gather

posted on Wed, Jul 11 2007 4:59 pm by Family Equality Council

(This post was written by Family Pride's Executive Director, Jennifer Chrisler.)

Greetings, friends! I never thought I'd have the time on an r family cruise to blog, but this time around I've brought my entire staff along to more evenly divide up the work. It helps to have (paid) friends ;)

For the last three cruises (this one included) Family Pride has provided all of the educational and advocacy programming on the boat. We know the r family cruises are so important to our families. We jumped at the chance to reach so many people with our tools and resouces to secure equality for all loving families. And we continue to ratchet up our programming from cruise to cruise. This summer's cruise from New York to the r family private island and back has been fantastic so far. Here are some highlights:

We started the week off right with a full day of workshops on Sunday. At 9am in the Dazzles Lounge (that's right, Dazzles), Dr. Kim Bergman, Family Pride Board Co-Chair and family creation expert, and Gail Taylor, President of Growing Generations, talked with prospective parents about the many ways we can create our families these days.

At 10am, I was proud to present on making schools safe and inclusive for our families with Dustin Kight, Program and Education Associate of Family Pride. Dustin and David Jacques, our eCommunications Coordinator, were instrumental in bringing the Rainbow Report Card to our families. We built our workshop on the same philosophy as the Report Card--that our schools will never truly be safe and inclusive of our families until LGBTQ parents get active, out and involved in their schools. It's not an easy process, but one we believe in, and strive to provide our parents with as many resources, connections, ideas and thoughts on getting started. The 40+ people in the room seemed to enjoy the workshop, as we fielded their questions and guided them through their personal situations, just like the Rainbow Report Card does.

At 11am, we were happy to bring Mitchell Gold to the stage. You may know Mitchell for his classy furniture, provocative ads, and inspiring work around faith-based discrimination in America. (Mitchell founded the organization Faith in America.) Mitchell gave an inspiring presentation to a packed room, sharing his knowledge of marketing and social history to impart an interesting array of tools to combat the "but it's against my religious beliefs" anti-LGBTQ arguments.

We had our first major event at 1pm--a panel discussion called "The Personal and Political," with Debbie Novotny (I tell you no lies), Mitchell Gold, and former Massacusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios. The point of the panel was to encouage your average LGBTQ parent or ally to get active for family equality in their daily lives. Debbie shared the perspectives of a PFLAG mom (and a couple of risque jokes, to boot!), while Mitchell told the story of how he started his factory and his organization in the sleepy (conservative) town of Taylorsville, NC. Jarrett, the first openly gay state representative in Massachuetts, was instrumental in winning marriage equality in his state and keeping it there with the recent Constitutional Convention. This was a win we know had more to do with average citizens telling their stories and changing hearts and minds than anything else.

More than 250 people felt the power of their words (including Rosie O'Donnell). Family Pride staff was on hand to deliver materials and resouces to attendees to further develop themselves as activists once the cruise (sadly) comes to an end.

That's all I can give you now, though, as I have a Major Donor Appreciation Dinner to attend. it's important to recognize those people in our community who have the resources and the willingness to fund the work of Family Pride at such high levels. If you're inspired by the work we do, as well, consider becoming a major donor today.

More to come on the programming later! Cheers!