Local briefs • 08.05.11

Continuing education credit available through Hope Cottage

Hope Cottage, Dallas’ oldest nonprofit, nonsectarian adoption agency, is now authorized to offer continuing education contact credits for social workers through its new Adoption 101 programming.

Director of Programs Brooks Quinlan, LMSW-AP, explained: “The goal of Infant Adoption 101 is to equip social service professionals with the skill sets needed to respond with confidence and sensitivity towards a client exploring or moving forward with an adoption plan.”

Upon completion of the program, participants are awarded one contact hour.

Thanks to donations, the program is offered free of charge. Organizations interested in receiving the training should contact Heather Hussong at by email at hhussong@hopecottage.org or by phone at 214-526-8721, ext. 241.
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Mountain View College offers youth empowerment conference

“Keepin’ It Real!” a free one-day youth empowerment conference, is being offered Saturday, Aug. 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mountain View College, 4849 W. Illinois Avenue in Dallas.

The conference is intended to provide teens with “real life” solutions to problems they face and in the process help build their self-confidence as they prepare to return to school.

Teens grades 6-12 can attend. Keynote speakers are Felix A. Zamora, president of Mountain View College and a motivational speaker and author; and Cheryl Jackson with Minnie’s Food Pantry and The Giving Movement.

All teens will participate in six interactive workshops which include bullycide, engineering the world, HIV/AIDS awareness and college financial aid and scholarships among others.

Musical entertainment will be provided by local artists including Rumill, Dacia Kings, Elliott Skinner accompanied by pianist, Dylan Cantu, Rachel Webb and P2 Mimes of Greater Mt. Calvary COGIC, and more.

Teens will also have an opportunity during a moderated panel discussion to meet local leaders and ask questions.

Also, Backpacking for Education returns for the eighth year. BFE is a program that supplies the attending youth with backpacks filled with school supplies. Additionally, some students will win door prizes and all will receive giveaways.

Registration is free but pre-registration is required by Aug. 10. To register for this conference or for more information, go online to TeenGraffiti.com or call 972-496-9457.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Margaret Cho, Andy Cohen to headline Out & Equal’s Workplace Summit in Dallas

If you didn’t know already, this year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit happens right here in town. It’s gonna be huge. But then we just found out who the keynote speakers are and were kinda blown away.

Instant Tea has learned that the celebrity roster for the Workplace Summit will include actress Meredith Baxter, trans actress Candis Cayne, comedian Margaret Cho and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. OK, Cohen sometimes drives me nuts on Watch What Happens Live, but he’s kind of a big deal. The dude isn’t just a talk show host, he’s also Bravo’s senior veep of original programming and development.

So, go to the summit because of the work O&E does, but definitely stay for the primo gay celebs willing to come here for the event. Now that’s some A-list.

The summit will be Oct. 25–28 at the Hilton Anatole. To register, go here.

—  Rich Lopez

LGBT Democrats meet to strategize for the future

Texas Stonewall Democrats assess 2010 ‘ass-whipping’ at the polls during weekend meeting}

See related slideshow here

 

From Staff Reports

editor@dallasvoice.com

Members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus from all across the state met in Austin on March 5-6 to assess the “ass-whipping” Democrats took at the polls last November and to develop messaging and other strategies for winning in 2012, according to caucus president Dan Graney.

Keynote speakers were openly bisexual Arizona state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and national transgender activist Mara Keisling.

Sinema warned Texas Democrats that “Arizona is coming to a state near you,” calling her home state the breeding ground for the anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-worker’s rights and anti-children’s health care measures currently being proposed in many state legislatures, including Texas.

Sinema called the spreading efforts an attempt by the Tea Party to “mainstream hatred in this country,” adding that “Tea Party” is just another name for Republicans.

Sinema said Democrats must build coalitions to stop such legislation, and encouraged LGBT Democrats to reach out to even unlikely allies to get — and give — support.

“After all, LGBT people make up only 4 percent of the electorate and you need 50 percent plus one to win,” Sinema said, who stayed after her speech to autograph copies of her book, “Unite And Conquer: Building Coalitions That Win — And Last.”

Keisling, mixing healthy dose of humor in with her experience and expertise, urged LGBT Democrats to move outside their “issue silos” and talk about racism, immigration and other progressive issues. She jokingly referred to former President George W. Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry as her “prior husbands” and referred to the Tea Party as a reincarnation of the John Birch Society.

Keisling expressed little hope for the advancement of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act over the next two years, saying that the measure is dead for now thanks to the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

Other guest speakers at the conference included Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman and state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

Villarreal led a plenary session that included an analysis of the November 2010 election and small group sessions to develop messaging for the 2012 election. A second plenary session, led by TSDC Vice President Erin Moore and Rio Grande Valley Chapter President Eli Olivarez, focused on winning strategies for the 2012 election.

Awards were presented to Houston LGBT activist Brad Pritchett,  Stonewall Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. The conference also included a TSDC executive board meeting and workshops on a variety of topics, such as building a bigger club and youth involvement and use of social media.

Many who attended the conference stayed to participate in Equality Texas Lobby Day on Monday, March 7.

A total of 70 LGBT Democrats and straight allies from across the state registered for the conference. There was representation at the conference from all nine active chapters statewide, including many young people, as well as from Galveston and Tyler.

For more information about the conference, go online to  TexasStonewalldemocrats.org

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—  Kevin Thomas

Out & Equal to hold 2011 convention in Dallas

Out & Equal, the national organization that champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people, will hold its annual convention at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas in 2011, according to an e-mail we received Tuesday from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“I am happy to officially announce that the contract is in and it’s official. Dallas will be hosting one of the largest GLBT conventions in the country and one of the first in Dallas!!!” wrote Veronica L. Torres, directory of diversity & community relations at the CVB. ”This convention will bring over 8 MILLION dollars in economic impact to Dallas!!! This is INCREDIBLE! We are so excited to see all of our community come together to make this happen. This convention will continue to build a platform for Dallas to stand on and show that we ARE a great city for GLBT business and conventions with a strong community to support it!!!”

According to Out & Equal’s website, the annual convention “boasts more than 2,300 attendees who participate in over 125 workshops and caucuses all designed to create an inclusive workplace. The abundance of activities and nationally celebrated keynote speakers result in an experience that has been described as ‘an enlightening watershed of information.’”

This year’s Out & Equal convention, known as the Workplace Summit, will be held in Los Angeles in October.

—  John Wright