Signs of Change
Grassroots events to engage LGBTQ people about their future in over 40 U.S. cities
By Barbara R. Deane
As the country awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, more than 100 national, local and state-based LGBTQ organizations across the country have formed a national partnership to launch a campaign called, Our Tomorrow, to encourage LGBTQ individuals and friends to share their hopes, fears and ideas in their own words.
Our Tomorrow recently announced it will promote a national survey about the future to LGBTQ people in two ways: Online and Offline. Offline, the campaign will host grassroots events in more than 40 U.S. cities and towns this summer. From town halls led by partner organizations to PRIDE events and community forums, LGBTQ individuals will have the opportunity to fill out a hard-copy version of the survey and to engage in face-to-face discussions about the future with other LGBTQ people in their area.
“We want this effort to go beyond the urban centers to also include the widest possible swath of geographical participation throughout our incredibly diverse community,” says Lee Swislow, Our Tomorrow campaign manager. “From Santa Cruz, California to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Burlington, Vermont, we are committed to sparking a true, national public dialogue to generate inspiration, information and ideas for our future.”
Online, Our Tomorrow’s digital hub, http://www.shareourtomorrow.org, will offer LGBTQ individuals and friends the opportunity to take part in the survey and join this open-ended conversation about their future. Additionally, in conjunction with the launch, Our Tomorrow also released a campaign video, “Share Your Voice, Shape Our Future”, featuring a diverse group of individuals beginning to share their ideas, fears and hopes for the future of the LGBTQ community.
“It is critical that every corner of our community have a voice in the future of our movement,” says Glenn Magpantay, Executive Director, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA).
NQAPIA has five in-person events — including parties, meetings, conferences and drop-in programs — planned throughout the country to engage an ethnically diverse group of LGBTQ people, including Cambodian youth, immigrants and Muslims, among others.
Magpantay continues, “The strength of the LGBTQ community is in our diversity. Each and every one of us can help shape our own future. As we await the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage, now is the time to engage in this national dialogue. We’ll do our part this summer to share our hopes, document our fears, and capture the imagination of the LGBTQ community.”
Once the campaign ends, Our Tomorrow will compile what people shared on the website and at events. The results of the survey will be provided to more than 120 partner organizations, who will use that information to understand LGBTQ members’ concerns and how to address the community’s needs.
Perhaps the most galvanizing voice for this extraordinary outreach project is the young man at the end of the campaign video who says, “I’ll let you know right now, this whole LGBTQ community, we are not gonna to stop. We are going to light the way for the next generation to come!”
And what better way to “light the way” than to take a pulse of the community inviting its members and friends to an open-ended conversation about their visions, hopes and concerns for the future. One might argue that the LGBTQ community is setting an example for a broader dialogue that could encompass all citizens of the United States –what do all of us envision for the future as we go forward as a truly multicultural society?
The full list of cities across the United States where the Our Tomorrow campaign will have a presence at events throughout the summer includes:
CA: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles Fresno, Oakland, Moraga
IL: Chicago, Belwood
LA: New Orleans
MA: Boston, North Hampton
MI: Ferndale, Detroit
NC: Charlotte, Wilmington
NY: New York, Queens,
OH: Columbus, Cincinnati
PA: Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia
TX: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio
WI: Milwaukee, Madison
For further information about specific event details for a city in your area or to speak to an Our Tomorrow event organizer, please contact Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media, at 202-670-5747 or email@example.com
The campaign invites anyone interested in joining the conversation, no matter where they live, to visit www.shareourtomorrow.org and click on the "Share Your Voice" button to take the online survey and share your hopes, fears and ideas for the future of our community.