DGLA announcing a new direction

Posted on 27 Aug 2009 at 8:50pm
By David Taffet Staff Writer

Reception to feature Bronwen Weber cake

Officials with the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance announce a new chapter in the organization’s history Saturday, Aug. 29 with a reception at The Round-Up Saloon that will feature a cake created by Food Network celebrichef Bronwen Weber.

DGLA president Patti Fink will detail the group’s restructuring plan during the event, which takes place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Fink said, "We’re a 33-year-old organization with a long history of being a member-driven organization."

That membership drove much of the group’s earlier work, but they have changed with the times before — and are changing again now, she said.

Since its creation in 1976, DGLA has remade itself a number of times. After organizing as a political group, the focus shifted in the early 1980s to respond to the AIDS crisis. They created and later spun off the AIDS Resource Center along with a variety of programs that include the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

To push statewide legislation promoting LGBT rights and AIDS programs, the DGLA took the lead in organizing groups from San Antonio, Austin and Houston to create the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, now known as Equality Texas. For many years, DGLA automatically held two board positions in that group.

In the 1990s, DGLA shifted focus again to work for passage of local ordinances to end discrimination against the LGBT community. Among the goals DGLA helped the community reach are partnership benefits for city employees and non-discrimination ordinances in housing, employment and public accommodations.

DGLA partnered with Dallas Independent School District on safe schools policies for students and non-discrimination policies for teachers and staff. Dallas Area rapid Transit enacted non-discrimination policies after pressure from DGLA.

When DGLA’s focus shifted to AIDS, the Dallas Gay Political Caucus split to form a separate political action committee. In the ’90s, they again merged. Today, DGLA PAC endorses candidates in non-partisan city races. Fink said that the PAC will continue its work.

For more than a decade, DGLA has conducted monthly sensitivity training with the Dallas Police Department. Today that program continues as diversity education for first responders, which includes work with the fire department and emergency medical personnel as well. Again, this program will continue in the new DLGA structure.

On Saturday, Fink will announce a new direction for the group, but declined to give details before the big reveal.

"For the past 10 years or so, we’ve been a working board and so we’ve tried to restructure in a way that reflects that reality," Fink said. "We’ve created a long-term plan and vision for the future.

"We’ve looked at the reality of our community. Many don’t live in Oak Lawn and many just seem to be living their lives, not engaged in the fight for equality. So we’re restructuring in a way to reach out to our community and allies all over the city and Dallas County."

For the announcement, Fink said they asked Weber to create a fabulous cake that celebrates the years of service DGLA has given to the community.

Weber, who creates her pastry at Frosted Art Bakery in the Dallas Design District, is known for her frequent appearances on the Food Network.

Considered one of the best pastry chefs in the country, her work has been featured in Brides Magazine and American Cake Decorating Magazine. On the Food Network, she won the Cupcake, Spooky Cake, and Incredible Edible Mansions competitions.

Fink said, "Whatever you’re doing, drop by and have some cake. It’s a very casual event."

E-mail taffet@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 28, 2009.

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