This weekend offers not one, but two community organizing opportunities for the LGBT community here in Western PA. On both Saturday and Monday, different gatherings offer anyone a chance to help shape the organizing directions for Pittsburgh, Western PA and the role the LGBTQ community will play in this are. Both initiatives are using a great approach welcoming organizations as well as individuals to come and play a role in the planning process, and both use the concept of intersectionality s a foundation for their work. While the TRCF meeting is not limited to LGBTQ issues, and focuses on Social Justice in the bigger scheme of things, at the Building Change conference, members of the LGBTQ community were a large part of the group and made great contributions to the work of the conference.

In my opinion, one of the main things that keeps the local LGBTQ community from accomplishing more, is that too many within our community (meaning both organizations and individuals) fail to become engaged in the larger social justice movement. Too many gays and lesbians seem to only care about their own issues, and are ignorant of, or oblivious to the way our issues are inextricably connected to broader issues such as economic justice, gender equity, worker’s rights, the peace movement,  and all the other areas of the social justice movement. The great involvement of queer folks during the Creating Change conference may be the start of a real change there. If there is a down-side, it may that these same folks are the ones most active in the LGBTQ/QUILTBAG group. Hopefully these meetings will bring in new and more individuals, rather than a small group of forward thinking queer advocates becoming spread too thin.

While each of the QUILTBAG meetings has had a different mixture of individuals and organizations present, as a whole the gathered group seems to care deeply about not only the issues commonly called LGBT, but in the group, is a wealth of folks who are adamant about seeing queer folks as a part of a larger whole of the social justice movement, almost to a fault. This effort to keep LGBTQ issues within the larger social justice umbrella can sometimes make it hard to figure out how to step forward with the next right action.

That these two meetings are happening back to back is very interesting and creates an opportunity for some real great ideas and energy to emerge from the weekend.

 Saturday: Three Rivers Community Fund

From the TRCF newsletter:

Do you want to help shape the progressive movement in the Southwestern PA region over the next five years?  If so, then please attend the first meeting of the Convergence’s Continuations Committee, which is tasked with meeting to work on the Action Plan for Building Social Justice in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which aims at building strength and advancing social justice in the region.  The first meeting of this Continuations Committee will be on Saturday, December 3, 2011, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, at UCP/CLASS (4638 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA  15213).  The meeting is free and open to the public, and the building is accessible to people with disabilities.
The Action Plan for Building Social Justice in Southwestern Pennsylvania is an invitation to community organizations and concerned residents of SW PA to participate in a process of dialogue and cooperation aimed at building our collective strength and advancing social justice within and beyond our region. Together, we will seek to:

  • Increase shared understanding of the inter-related problems face by people in different parts of the region;
  • Expand the resources available to address regional concerns;
  • Support and help coordinate social justice initiatives by local and regional groups;
  • Promote region-wide initiatives to unite diverse groups in our community;
  • Raise awareness of the links between regional problems and the global economy;
  • Work with national and international allies to strengthen local and regional efforts for social justice, as appropriate.

Monday: LGBTQ/QUILTBAG meeting

This is from the QUILTBAG newsletter:

This group doesn’t have to be just one thing.  Everyone has great ideas and energy to put to tasks. So, the next meeting’s agenda (below) is reflective of some of the feedback I’ve been getting. This model draws from some of the Occupy structure, with various committees meeting separately based on interest and skills to contribute, with regular report-backs to the group as a whole. Folks will have the option of joining one of three groups: (1) a 5-year plan group, (2) a Queers for Social Justice Group (aligning queer issues with a range of other social justice issues) or (3) a networking group. Anyone who feels their interests are not represented can make another group. Then we will all report back to the group and plan the next meeting

Agenda for Dec. 5 Meeting:
5:30-5:40 Introductions
5:40-5:55 Report back on previous meetings
6:00-7:00 Break out groups: 5 year plan, Queers for Social Justice, Networking
7:00-7:15 Report back to the group
7:15-7:30 Plan next meeting and Meeting Evaluation


Added 11/28: Here is a link to the newest newsletter info from QUILTBAG.


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