Problem solving the movement

posted on Fri, Jun 17 2011 3:19 pm by scarlson

Netroots Nation- held this year in Minneapolis Minnesota- is the largest gathering of progressive bloggers, activists, and organizations in the country. I am here to represent the issues facing our families and to raise the profile and visibility of Family Equality in the larger progressive community.

My first day at Netroots Nation was a day long meeting of LGBT bloggers and representatives of organizations called Netroots Connect.  It was an incredible gathering of movers and shakers in the equality movement.  The many sessions throughout the day focused on issues which don't get national attention, focusing on being better allies, and addressing the most under served members of our community.

In the first session we broke into groups to brainstorm ways to "problem solve the movement." Discussing these issues and asking ourselves hard questions is often more important than finding solutions. We asked ourselves:

  • How can we engage more effectively across race/ethnicity?

  • How can we engage more effectively across generations?

  • How can we engage more effectively across faith/non-faith lines?

  • How can we ensure the LGBT blogosphere is strong and well-funded?

  • Identify 5 key gaps in our movement?

In the second session we had a group discussion to share tips and discuss more cooperation between bloggers and organizations. During the "No on !" campaign to defeat a marriage amendment in Maine there was unprecedented cooperation between bloggers and organizations- and we discussed ways to foster that sense of cooperation and community in the future. This is especially important as we are gearing up for a campaign in Minnesota, and we are paving the road to do that important work again.

The discussion in the afternoon was the highlight of my day: "Immigration Reform Through a Queer Lens" Group discussion was lead off with some beautiful testimony from the panelists, telling us how they came out for a second time as undocumented workers. Watch this incredible video, courtesy of Carlos Quiroz of Carlos in DC:

In the final session of the day, we had an unprecedented internal debate about marriage equality.  There was some great back and forth, which would take too long to rehash here, but I was able to make the case for why marriage equality is so vital to LGBT people raising children, especially in lower income homes where people can't afford the high legal costs it takes to protect their family.

(Photos and videos courtesy of Carlos Quiroz of Carlos in DC)

Up next: a full day of workshops about social media and social justice. More updates to come.