Volunteers, hosts still needed for Creating Change

Posted on 07 Jan 2010 at 4:13pm
By David Taffet | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Task Force’s 22nd annual leadership conference coming to Dallas in Feb.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will stage its 22nd annual Creating Change Conference in Dallas on Feb. 3.

Creating Change is the leading LGBT political, leadership and skills-building conference. Held in a different city each year, Dallas last hosted the event in 1994.

Local co-chair Henry Ramirez said 2,000 people from around the country are expected to participate. Beau Heyen, Lovely Murrell and Marlene Tovar are the other local host committee co-chairs.

Volunteers are still needed to help throughout the conference. Ramirez said volunteers will do variety of jobs, including helping with traffic and registration, and working in the hospitality suites.

Five presidential suites are reserved for attendees to relax, catch up with friends and make new ones, Murrell said.

"You’ll make sure people are comfortable," she said. "things that you’d do to make your guests comfortable at home." That includes everything from making sure ice and drinks are available to answering questions about Dallas, the workshops and the hotel.

A training session for volunteers will take place on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, at the hotel.

"Also, we’re looking for hosts," Ramirez said. "Every year about 50 people come who can’t afford the hotel." He said those needing a place to stay are over 18. Hosts don’t need to worry about food or transportation for their guests, he said, but ideally would live near DART lines so out-of-town attendees can get to the hotel easily.

The first two days of the conference are daylong institutes. On Wednesday, anti-racism, racial justice and people of color organizing will be addressed. Topics for Friday include agism, building a strong transgender community, disability politics, gay youth, families, and moving marriage forward. One track will be geared toward community center staffs, boards and volunteers.

Workshops will be held on Friday and Saturday. Names of workshop leaders will be released over the next few weeks.

Comic Kate Clinton will emcee all of the plenary sessions. The keynote speakers are Thomas A. Saenz, Kai Wright and Rea Carey.

Saenz is president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national organization whose mission is to promote the civil rights of Latinos in the United States.

Wright is a New York-based writer and editor whose work explores the politics of sex, race and health.

Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will deliver the annual "State of the Movement Address."

On Saturday night, Youth First Texas is among the groups sponsoring the Mas-Queer-Ade ball. The evening will feature comedian Vidur Kapur and trans slam poet Kit Yan.

Heyen, who chairs the local development and fundraising committee, said on Jan. 23, the committee will hold Tour de Change, a Cedar Springs pub crawl to raise money for the conference. He said teams of 10 will pay $350 to get four pitchers of beer from five bars for a total of 20 pitchers in three hours. Designated drivers are encouraged to accompany each team.

The conference takes place at the Dallas Sheraton Hotel in Downtown on Feb. 3-7.

Registration info
The conference will be at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 N. Olive St., from Feb. 3–7. Register online at CreatingChange.org. Hotel discounts are available online as well. For those not staying at the hotel, parking is available in an underground garage. The hotel is at the Pearl Street Station on the Green, Red and Blue Dart lines. The fee for registration through Jan. 23 is $300. On-site registration is $350. Groups of 10 or more are $250 per person. An 11th person free. All names in the group must be submitted together. Scholarships are available for people with limited income. Discounts and age waivers for people under 16 and older than 65 are available.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2010.

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