Happy National Coming Out Day!
It was one week ago today that we held our first 2-Day Convention. I am happy to report that by all indications with feedback from those Members and Guests in attendance, it was a very successful, enjoyable, memorable and energizing Convention! Thanks to all who attended! Special thanks to Arsidez León, Gina Cruz, Rich Elkins and Pat Warren for their time and significant efforts on the Convention! Special thanks also to Kathryn Vandegrift, President Wake County Chapter and all the Wake County Members who hosted the Convention, worked at the Registration Desk and welcomed Attendees! Some highlights from the Convention:
- The Reception at the Governor’s Mansion, where we were welcomed by First Lady Kristin Cooper, had the opportunity to meet LGBTQ Elected Officials from across the state, speak with Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and hear Mathew Shurka’s story of surviving conversion therapy and the great work he and BornPerfect are doing and what we can do to help put an end to this harmful practice. We presented our first Progress Award to Clay Eddleman, Chair CD 11 for his outstanding achievements organizing three Chapters in the 11th Congressional District and for all of his time, talent and treasure to support this organization!
- After Party, where we collectively voted for Representative and House Minority Whip Deb Butler to help her win the Victory Institute’s Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award, which by the way, SHE WON! We danced to music by DJ Fin and enjoyed entertainment from The Vanity House, with our own Candice Cox, an At-Large Board Member of our Wake County Chapter, as the MC. We presented a Progress Award to Candice Cox for her tireless work to increase visibility and ensure forward progress for Trans people of color and all LGBTQ in NC & beyond, as well as for her leadership in the LGBTQ Democrats of Wake County and her help and dedication to making the LGBTQ Democrats of NC Convention After Party an enjoyable and memorable event!
- The Saturday Morning session of our Convention Meeting was packed with speakers. We had greeting from NCDP Chair Wayne Goodwin and WCDP Chair Rebecca Llewellyn, heard from Ted Jackson, DNC Director of LGBTQ Political Engagement and received thanks from Michelle Zechmann, CEO Haven House Services for our Community Outreach contributions to their Snack Drive. We learned more about becoming a Delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention from Matt Hughes, LGBTQ Democrats of NC Vice President, NCDP 2nd Vice Chair and Chair of the NCDP Delegate Selection Committee. We received an inspiring message via video from Senator and Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren (greatly appreciated but in no way constitutes an endorsement by this Auxiliary for Senator Warren). We closed our morning session with an incredible speech by Representative and House Minority Whip Deb Butler.
- We presented Awards:
- Progress Award to Laura Bannister, President LGBTQ Democrats of Henderson County for her outstanding work promoting progress for the LGBTQ community in Henderson County and making history by receiving a Mayoral Proclamation declaring June 15th as the first Hendersonville Pride Day.
- Communication Award to Kathryn Vandegrift, President of the LGBTQ Democrats of Wake County
- Certificates of Appreciation:
- Pat Warren, Treasurer 2015-2019
- Arsidez León, VP University & College Outreach & Chair 2019 Pride Committee
- Rich Elkins, Chair Communications/Publicity Committee
- I was surprised to be presented with a Certificate of Appreciation award from Arsidez León on behalf of the organization.
- Membership Awards:
- <20 Members & First Multi-County Chapter to Cherokee and Clay Counties
- 21-35 Members to Henderson County
- 35-41 Members to Alamance County
- Highest Membership to Mecklenburg County
- Our Afternoon Session was devoted to business matters and electing new Officers. Please follow this link to review the 2019 Committee Reports
- Our new Executive Committee:
- President’s Council:
- Ginger Walker, re-elected as President
- Arsidez León, Vice President
- Gina Cruz, Secretary
- Matt Hughes, Treasurer
- Gabe Cartagena, VP University & College Outreach
- Congressional District Chairs & Vice Chairs:
- CD 1 — Kristin Lione (Durham), Chair
- CD 2 – Lisa Malachowsky (Wake), Chair & Kyle Turner (Wake), Vice Chair
- CD 3 vacant
- CD 4 – George Greene (Wake), Chair & Andrew Terrell (Wake), Vice Chair
- CD 5 vacant
- CD 6 — Wade Mauser (Chatham), Chair & Pat Warren (Caswell), Vice Chair
- CD 7 vacant
- CD 8 vacant
- CD 9 vacant
- CD 10 vacant
- CD 11 – Clay Eddleman (Henderson), Chair
- CD 12 vacant
- CD 13 – David Hammond (Guilford), Chair & Tyler Beall (Guilford), Vice Chair
I am very honored and humbled to have been re-elected as President of this organization. I am excited to serve with such a diverse, talented an energized group of leaders at the State, District and County levels! We have a balanced Executive Committee, as required by our Bylaws; Article V, Section 12, to include race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity and age.
I’m certainly pleased with the diversity, but I’m particularly excited that we have the youngest board we have ever had, and with that brings new perspectives & ideas, automation & technology skills that will improve and simplify our processes and enhance our communications & visibility, all of which will accelerate our forward progress! These young and diverse leaders, blended with those of us who have the history, decades of experience and knowledge is what will allow us to build a strong infrastructure and a pipeline of leaders necessary to ensure a sustainable and vibrant organization into the future.
We have a LOT of work to do in the remainder of 2019 and will be doing everything we can to elect LGBTQ and Ally Democrats to office in the Municipal elections. It will be them who will vote to adopt non-discrimination ordinances at the December 1, 2020 twilight of HB-142!
Then we move right into gearing up for the critically important 2020 Elections from the Court House to the White House, and everything in between. We’ll also be watching the Supreme Court ruling on the three LGBTQ discrimination cases, with the hope that SCOTUS will rule that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends employment discrimination protections to Americans on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity! The ruling is expected in 2020.
We’ll have our 2020 Strategic Retreat in early January to define our goals, objectives and strategies for the year. We’ll share those with you after the Retreat. Meanwhile, stay engaged and encourage others to engage and join our efforts!
As I often say, in 2020 we must Vote As If Our Lives Depend On It…IT DOES! VOTE YOUR PRIDE! VOTE DEMOCRAT!
Sincerely and with shared aspirations for North Carolina,
Ginger Walker, President
LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina