(WASHINGTON D.C.) The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today announced a diverse lineup of keynote speakers at the 22nd National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, Feb. 3–7 in Dallas, Texas. Two thousand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates will converge to strategize and organize for the critical year ahead.
On opening night, Friday, Feb. 4, Thomas Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) president and general counsel, will address the conference. On Feb. 5, Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey will give the annual “State of the Movement” address. On Feb. 6, Kai Wright, a noted social critic and political commentator, will host a panel of LGBT youth of color that brings forward the stories of experiences of our tough-minded and articulate young leaders. Vogue Evolution, contestants on America’s Best Dance Crew in summer 2009, will perform at the closing plenary on Feb. 7. All plenary sessions will be emceed by the incomparable comic and social commentator Kate Clinton.
Thomas A. 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. In August 2005, Saenz became counsel to the mayor of Los Angeles, where he served as a member of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s four-member executive team and provided legal and policy advice to the mayor. Previously, Saenz practiced civil rights litigation at MALDEF where he served as vice president of litigation. As vice president, Saenz oversaw MALDEF’s efforts nationwide to pursue civil rights litigation in the areas of education, employment, political access, immigrants’ rights and public resource equity. He currently serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Education, and he previously served on the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.
Kai Wright is a writer and editor in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose work explores the politics of sex, race and health. He is senior writer for TheRoot.com. Wright has reported from all over the world for independent and community-based media, ranging from Mother Jones to Essence magazines, and is the author of Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York. He also writes and edits a series of monographs exploring the AIDS epidemic among African Americans, published by the Black AIDS Institute. In addition to his independent work, Wright has served as a senior editor for City Limits magazine, a staff reporter for the Washington Blade newspaper, an editorial assistant for Foreign Policy magazine and a desk assistant for PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He has been publications editor at the Black AIDS Institute since 2000.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is a dynamic voice for equality and justice. She has worked for LGBT rights for 20 years and has worked extensively in nonprofit start-up, HIV/AIDS prevention and in the LGBT community as one of the co-founders of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence and the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. In 1999, the Advocate named Carey one of its “Best and Brightest” for individual contributions to the LGBT rights movement. Carey will present the annual “State of the Movement” address.
“LGBT rights advocates from across the country will be gathering in Dallas to strategize and plan for 2010 and beyond. It’s the largest convening of LGBT activists and is not to be missed,” said Carey. “Creating Change is a ‘can't miss/got to be there’ opportunity for our movement activists and leaders to learn from each other and to be inspired by our featured speakers.”