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The Time for Gathering is Now: Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit Day 3

October 23, 2015

“I’m loved ’cause God says I am…” This glorious, impromptu music provided the start to the third day of the Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit in Salt Lake City.

Timothy DuWhite

Slam Poet Timothy DuWhite

The plenary gathering also featured the slam poet Timothy DuWhite talking about audacious joy in the midst of a world that wants him dead. It was a powerful message of personal resurrection.

The rest of the day was filled with vibrant and valuable workshops and concluded with two significant actions. The first action, aimed at helping people develop powerful, effective fundraising skills, was called “More Money More Power.” In it, participants hit the phones to fundraise for the LGBTQ organizations they cared about. In 20 minutes, participants had 14 phone conversations in which they raised a total of  $2,200.

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Participants Fundraising for LGBTQ causes

The second action, “More People More Power” focused on how to sharpen organizing skills and how to talk to voters and members of their community in-person. After the training, participants broke into teams which went out to talk to Salt Lake City residents about the importance of amending the city non-discrimination ordinance to protect LGBTQ people in public accommodations–buses, restaurants, bathrooms and more. Our teams, in one hour, talked to 349 people collected 275 signed postcards to send to Salt Lake City Council about the ordinance, and recruited 54 new volunteers!

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Participants in “More People More Power” Action

We also held a press conference during the Faith & Family LGBTQ Power Summit where LGBTQ leaders spoke about the Right-Wing driven “Culture Wars” in the U.S., and the global exportation of the anti-LGBTQ tactics of the Culture Wars to the rest of the world–especially the Global South–by the World Congress of Families.

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Press Conference Speakers: Rev Rodney McKenzie(National LGBTQ Task Force), Cole Park & Rev Dr Kapya Kaoma(Political Research Associates), Dr Heidi Beirich(Southern Poverty Law Center), Melanie Poole (Vocal Majority-Australia)

But, I can’t talk more about Thursday without reflecting on the amazing news from Wednesday:

In “Back to the Future Part II” from 1985, Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015 to save his yet-unborn children. Yesterday, on the real October 21, 2015, the Salt Lake City press reported an event that even Marty couldn’t have imagined in looking 30 years into the future.

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, second in line to the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former Utah State Supreme Court justice, told a gathering of believers that renegade Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is abusing the principle of religious freedom to justify her anti-LGBT stance, and urged conservative activists to stop trying to overturn LGBT nondiscrimination laws.
“Believers should acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws,” Oaks told the Second Annual Sacramento Court/Clergy Conference. “Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority, believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them.”

Now, this is earth-shattering news and an important message to be in the environment as the World Congress of Families begins its international gathering where it will once again demean and degrade our LGBT family relationships.

As our 200 plus participants begin to plan for their next steps following the Faith and Family LGBTQ Power Summit, they will be leaving with enhanced skills and energies to bring to new or planned event or faith actions in their communities. And they will also leave with a network of friends and allies forged in the same fire of passion for justice.

by Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

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