In LEAGUE with equality

As the employee resource group prepares to turn 25, it celebrates equality gained at AT&T and focuses on anti-bullying efforts

Bates-McLemore.Theresa
Theresa Bates-McLemore

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

As Dallas prepares for the arrival of the national Out & Equal Workplace Advocates convention in October, LEAGUE, the LGBT employee resource group at AT&T, is making plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The AT&T group was the original LGBT employee resource group, begun after the first March on Washington in 1987, and is a model that has been recreated since then across corporate America.

LEAGUE held its national convention at the Melrose Hotel in Oak Lawn on Sept. 9, and openly gay Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns spoke at the Saturday night awards program about his “It Gets Better” experience (see story, Page 27). The group is beginning to prepare its own “It Gets Better” materials on behalf of AT&T, and in Burns’ honor, the group made a donation to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Several awards were given to Dallas LEAGUE members during the convention last weekend.

National Executive of the Year went to Gary Fraundorfer, vice president of human resources, who was honored for re-evaluating all company HR policies to make sure AT&T’s policies treat LGBT employees equally.
Fraundorfer recently joined the Resource Center Dallas board of directors.
“Awards from employees mean the most because they’ll hold you the most accountable,” he said.

But Fraundorfer wanted LEAGUE members to know just how committed to equality the company is.

“We mean it when we say we want things to be equivalent for spouses and partners,” he said. “The goal is complete parity.”

Among AT&T’s 11 latest initiatives to ensure parity is the addition of gender reassignment surgery to the company insurance plan for the company’s transgender employees.

John Cramer, LEAGUE’s national public affairs director, was among the recipients of a “LEAGUE Cares about Bullying” award. He said that the company has rallied around the group’s anti-bullying efforts.

LEAGUE President Theresa Bates-McLemore said she’s heard from employees across the company thanking her for the group’s anti-bullying efforts.

“I’ve heard heartfelt stories from straight people who said, ‘We didn’t know how to do this,’” Bates-McLemore said.

Cramer said that bullying is not just a gay issue and the LEAGUE campaign is helping employees across the company and others outside of AT&T as well.

The new chapter of the year award went to Puerto Rico.

“They took the League Cares About Bullying initiative to a new level,” Bates-McLemore said.

That chapter created an “It Gets Better” public service campaign with Telemundo.

LEAGUE has 45 chapters across the country with about 750 members. Nationally, the group provides scholarships to at-risk LGBT youth and contributes to the “It Gets Better” campaign and has awarded about $150,000.

Locally, LEAGUE supports the community in Dallas with Black Tie Dinner tables. Team AT&T will participate in the Lone Star Ride. And earlier this year the group made a $5,000 contribution to Resource Center Dallas to support its communications technology needs.

And the group supports its members.

For LEAGUE member Mark Carden from Atlanta, the group has had a much more personal impact. He was already working at AT&T when he came out.

“LEAGUE made me feel more secure about myself and the workplace,” he said. “It helped me grow personally and professionally.”

Look for Cramer, Bates-McLemore and other Dallas LEAGUE members in the parade and at the festival in the park. They’ll ride in an AT&T eco-friendly vehicle down Cedar Springs and give out T-shirts and beads.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas premiere of ‘March On’ is Thursday night

Laura McFerrin

Dallas filmmaker Laura McFerrin’s award-winning documentary about the National Equality March, March On, will finally make its North Texas debut on Thursday, Feb. 24.

The film, which tells the story of the 2009 LGBT march on Washington through the lives of five families, will be screened at 7 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill, 11170 N. Central Expressway (at Royal Lane).

The screening is a fundraiser for GetEQUAL, but admission is free. Donations are welcome at the door, and merchandise will be available for purchase.

In addition to McFerrin, the screening will feature March On cast members Omar Lopez and Zoe Nicholson, who will offer a Q&A afterward, as well as GetEQUAL director and co-founder Robin McGehee.

For more info or to RSVP, got to the Facebook event page.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs • 09.10.10

Young Democrats group holding barbecue to honor first responders

Dallas County Young Democrats and Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats are holding a cookout Saturday, Sept. 10, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kidd Spring Park, 711 W. Canty St. in Dallas, in honor of the country’s first responders.

The second annual event is called “Serving Those Who Serve Us,” and all firefighters, police officers, military personnel and reservists and their

families get free admission. Others are asked to give a $5 donation. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Dallas Fire-Rescue.

For more information, contact Joseph Amyson at communityservice@dallasyoungdemocrats.org.

RCD marking LGBT Center Awareness Day with exhibit

Resource Center Dallas is joining with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, to mark the second annual LGBT Center Awareness Day on Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a special display of items from the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library from noon to 6 p.m.

The items on special display will include a sign from the 1993 March on Washington signed by Dallas participants; a yard sign from the Proposition 2 election in 2005; a kissing booth from Queer Liberaction; a megaphone from Cheer Dallas; photographs from pioneering Dallas activist William Waybourn and photographs from Phil Johnson of Dallas’ Pride parade in 1984.

The theme of this year’s LGBT Center Awareness Day is “Building Our Community from the Center,” showcasing the integral role that community centers play in the development, unification, and empowerment of all LGBT communities. Events are also taking place at other local centers in celebration of the day.

Terry Stone, CenterLink’s executive director, said that each week, more than 40,000 people visit community centers in 46 states and the District of Columbia, accessing “programs and services that literally build community from the center.”

Cece Cox, executive director of Resosurce Center Dallas, said this community awareness day “is the perfect opportunity for people who are familiar with the center to learn about  what we are doing here, and for people new to the North Texas area this can be their first opportunity to learn about us.”

Last year, the Resource Center Dallas provided services to more than 50,000 people through activities such as GayBingo Dallas, diversity education, the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research library, an information hotline, community health programs, STD testing and other LGBT and HIV/AIDS programs, Cox said.

For more information about LGBT Center Awareness Day, go online to MyCenterLink.org. For more information about Resource Center Dallas, go online to RCDallas.org.

GAIN group for LGBT seniors holds potluck with drawings for prizes

Resource Center Dallas’ GAIN (GLBT+Aging Interest Network) will hold a potluck supper on Thursday, Sept. 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

GAIN committee members will furnish the meat dishes, including smoked brisket. They will also supply plates, utensils, wine and other beverages. Others who attend are asked to bring their favorite side dishes.

There will be several prize drawings during the event, including a drawing for a $50 gift card to Dish Restaurant.
Although the group is primarily for those 50 and older, everyone is welcome to attend the potluck.

Rainbow Garden Club offers garden tour in North Dallas

The Rainbow Garden Club North Texas will hold its third annual tour of members’ and friends’ gardens on Sunday Oct. 3, from noon to 6 p.m.
Gardens on this year’s tour are in Richardson and Northeast Dallas, and include a working farm, a secret garden, a tropical paradise, a garden for entertaining, a garden that is a tropical retreat and a garden with an Austin vibe.

Ticket are $10 and are available at Brumley Gardens, 10540 Church Road, North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northhaven Road, Redenta’s Garden, 2001 Skillman St., Shambala Body Gallery, 415 N. Bishop Ave. and Under the Sun Garden Center, 7124 Campbell Road.

Resource Center Dallas hires Neal as new director of development

Officials with Resource Center Dallas announced this week that the center has hired Sharon Neal as its new capital campaign director, effective Sept. 13. She will be responsible for planning, implementing, conceptualizing and evaluating the center’s capital campaign for a new building, and her job will include resource development, grant seeking and individual fundraising.

Cece Cox, RCD’s executive director, said Neal “brings a wealth of personal experience and a considerable background in capital campaign projects. The  center is committed to meeting the increasing demand for services and programs in a new home on Cedar Springs Road, just north of Inwood, and Sharon will help us make that dream come true.”

Neal most recently worked at KIPP TRUTH Academy in Dallas, where she served as the school’s director of development and led a $1.5 million dollar capital campaign. She previously served as managing director for the PaCRS group, where her non-profit and corporate clients included the Center for Nonprofit Management, the Verizon Foundation, Education is Freedom, Texans Care for Children, Cornerstone Assistance Network, Capital One and the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

Neal is also the former director of development for the Women’s Museum at Fair Park and held community outreach positions at both 7-Eleven Inc. and TXU Corporation.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University and a certificate of corporate citizenship from Boston University’s Carroll School of Management. She is an alumna of Leadership Texas.

Artists Against AIDS auction set for October at Community Arts Center

AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County’s annual Artists Against AIDS Silent Art Auction is set for Oct. 23, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

Artwork will be on display from Oct. 1 to Oct. 23.

The event will feature food, entertainment, an open bar with wine and beer and a silent auction including a selection of high-quality fine art from local and regional artists. Tickets for the auction and party are $75.

This year’s honorary co-chairs are state Sen. Wendy Davis, and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. Event co-chairs are Cynthia Hodgkins and Sarah Garrett.

Featured artists for the evening are Henrietta Milan and Eric Stevens.

ACLU executive director to speakat Oak Cliff Unitarian

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, will will speak Sept. 15 on recent decisions by the Texas State Board of Education that some people believe were an abuse of authority by board members who forced their own personal ideologies into Texas public schools’ curricula.

The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. in Dallas. The event is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Texas and the Unitarian Church of Oak Cliff. Admission is free and open to the public.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 06.25.10

Vedda wins Chamber scholarship

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management has awarded its Regent Scholarship to Tony Vedda. The award is given to chamber professionals across the country.

In his application, Vedda stressed the chamber’s need for diversity in its training programs.

Vedda, executive director of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, will attend a five-day session at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles in July. The course is part of a four-year leadership-training program. This is Vedda’s third year.

“It’s a testatent to our board that they see value in this,” he said. “It’s just a terrific program.”



AA Rainbow Team salutes Cirillo

FORT WORTH — In celebration of National Gay Pride Month, American Airlines’ Rainbow Team is honoring the sales group’s founder, Rick Cirillo.

For Rainbow Team newsletter, they interviewed Cirillo who talked about being the first employee in Harvey Milk’s Castro Street camera shop. Cirillo had just come out and had a chance encounter with Milk, which led to his involvement in work for LGBT rights.

Cirillo later moved to Dallas and went to work for American Airlines in the marketing department. After the 1993 March on Washington and the airline’s decision to work with the gay and lesbian community and stop discriminating against passengers with AIDS, Cirillo formed the Rainbow Team to market to the LGBT community.

His marketing group was a first for a major American company but has since been copied by most other airlines and a number of other corporations such as IBM.



TDWCC to endorse candidates

The next general meeting for Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will be Monday, June 28, at 6:45 p.m. in the Shawnee Room F148 of Founders Hall at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco.

The meeting will include a candidate forum to vet and vote on endorsements for the November election. The following candidates and representatives have confirmed attendance: The daughter of gubernatorial candidate Bill White representing his campaign; Dinah Weems representing the campaign of her husband, railroad commissioner candidate Jeff Weems; 3rd Congressional District candidate John Lingenfelder; Collin County Court at Law Place 3 candidate Sajeel Khaleel; county judge candidate David Smith, Collin County district attorney candidate Rafael de la Garza; county commissioner candidate Rick Koster; justice of the peace candidate Rey Flores; 5th District Court of Appeals Place 4 candidate Bonnie Lee Goldstein; and 5th District Court of Appeals Place 12 candidate Larry Praeger.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 25, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice