Thursday, May 25, 2017

Back Lot Bash Women’s Festival Rocks Chicago Pride

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Amie Klujian, Co-Founder of “Back Lot Bash” Chicago’s most attended women’s festival that takes place over two weekends kicking off on June 16th with fabulous events running June 23rd through June 25th during Chicago’s LGBTQ Pride week. “Back Lot Bash” started in 2004 in response to the lack of women’s events and the limited presence of female artists in the Chicago LGBTQ community. What started as a one-day event has morphed into a 4-day festival becoming an iconic staple of Chicago pride week that draws over 6000 attendees from Chicago, the Midwest and around the world. Co-founders Christina Wiesmore and Klujian strive to bring the community together by showcasing emerging and established talent and activating citizens by helping to raise money for community organizations. Every year “Back Lot Bash” partners with local organizations such as HRC Chicago, CMSA and AIDS Ride Chicago with a portion of the proceeds donated to a number of charitable organizations including A Sister’s Hope, Girls in the Game, UCAN and other groups focused on Women’s LGBTQ issues. We talked to Amie about who will be performing at this year’s “Back Lot Bash” events and give us her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Klujian stated, “I think there are two important components to this that are intertwined and interdependent on each other. I see an important community of LGBT organizations national, state and local that have a huge voice within the institutional structures of our society whether that’s health, youth rights, civil rights, media, marriage rights and within those I really see leadership and membership that are invigorated and motivated by what we see going on in the change of the administration. Motivated to lead where needed and to resist where needed and to collaborate where needed with other non-LGBT organizations and to activate where needed because I think this administration spews toxicity and threatens our rights, dignities and our lives by targeting us often times as ‘less than’ in their policies and ignoring or denying real issues that exist such as bullying kids in schools and things like that. So, I believe that these organizations need to continue educating, advocating for and protecting where necessary rights for equal standing and this helps all of us. The second component I think is important is about us, the individuals, the people and the members of our community. I’m seeing so much individual engagement, moments of courage and more singular grassroots efforts and efforts on the part of individuals actively supporting LGBT causes and to support organizations, voice their opinions and stand up for themselves. So I see an emboldened and passionate future for our community and I’m so thankful for that because it just takes one person to spark better understanding and change. I’m very confident through our organizations and through individuals speaking their voice and even events like ‘Back Lot Bash’ and similar events that take place around the country where we build more and more solidarity and collective voice each passing day. I’m proud and know we will be successful and get through this.”

Amie Klujian earned a degree in politics from Princeton University and a master's in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University. She's an HRC Federal Club Member and serves with pride on the Executive Board of Directors at Girls in the Game, a nonprofit that helps girls become empowered game changers. The fabulous entertainment lineup for “Back Lot Bash” 2017 includes DJ Whitney Mixter, Madison Paige, Sea and Gunn (Daniela Sea & Gunn Lundemo), Rebel & Basketcase (music from Evan Rachel Wood and Zach Villa), Bria and Chrissy, Catfight, JD Samson, Kiyomi Valentine, DJ Goodboy and Tory Whodat among others.
For Info & Events: backlotbashchicago.com

Friday, May 19, 2017

LGBTQ Religious Freedom National Glitter Event (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Executive Director of Parity about the “Glitter+Fire” event encouraging Christians to use glitter to express joy in a diverse LGBTQ affirming way as a symbolic recreation of the “tongues of fire” on Pentecost Sunday on June 4th 2017. Parity and Queer Virtue, the movement founded by Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman are co-sponsoring the event. Pentecost is widely considered the day when Christianity as a movement was born. As told in the Book of Acts the story relates what happened to the disciples of Jesus who were gathered in the upper room following his execution, resurrection and ascension. The Holy Spirit appeared “as tongues of fire” empowering the disciples to proclaim the gospel in the native languages of people “from every nation under heaven.” Participants in Glitter+Fire will use glitter in the colors of fire: red, gold, and orange to re-enact the tongues of fire landing on the disciples, drawing participants together in a community of joy, energy and common purpose. Glitter+Fire follows on the success of Glitter+Ash Wednesday when Christians in churches across the country mixed ashes with glitter to “come out” as queer-positive Christians in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. We talked to Rev. Edmonds-Allen about what she hopes to accomplish with “Glitter+Fire” and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Rev. Edmonds-Allen stated, “I think that this is the perfect time for the queer community to come together. I know from my work with LGBT centers and other LGBT advocacy work that too often we don’t work well together but now we really need to work well together across all our different identities and intersections and we also need to partner with our allies and make other people allies of us as well. What I’m hearing in the world is people saying ‘Wow I really care about transgender people. I don’t want them to be hurt or excluded or killed. What can I do about it?’ Now is the time we can invite those allies and those folks who are realizing that there are real issues in the world to help add us to the pool of donors, volunteers and to listen to their ideas. If we can pull together and work together there’s nothing we can’t do.”

Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen has worked with youth and families in various denominations and settings throughout the country for more than 20 years focusing on affirming beliefs and faith practices for LGBTQ persons. Marian is the co-founder of the LGBTQ Youth Continuum of Care and is an expert in the intersection of faith and LGBTQ identities and practice, interfaith relationships, youth suicide and homelessness. Marian also served as the National Program Director of the Family Acceptance Project and Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center. Marian attended Western Theological Seminary and Eden Theological Seminary and has served in many pastoral capacities including church planting, parish ministry and chaplaincy. Parity is a faith-based LGBTQ focused organization based in NYC that creates open and nurturing spaces both physically and spiritually to support emerging LGBTQ pastors and empowers LGBTQ and allied young people to integrate their spiritual, gender and sexual identities through a range of programs.
For More Info: parity.nyc

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Groundswell Fund Supporting Women & Trans Folks of Color

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Vanessa Daniel, Founder and Executive Director of Groundswell Fund the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement about the launching of their new “Liberation Fund” to support the leadership of women of color and transgender people of color. Groundswell believes that these two groups bear the greatest vulnerability with the Trump administration’s agenda immersed in white supremacy and misogyny in the U.S. and their leadership role is vital in the larger resistance movement. The fund launches with an initial $500,000 and its first set of grantees will be curated by 15 advisors, prominent women of color leading in a variety of sectors from environmental, racial and economic justice, to immigrant, Native and transgender rights. The Liberation Fund’s expansive approach advances Groundswell’s mission of reproductive justice by ensuring that we all have the power to make decisions about our bodies, families and futures. The fund is now accepting donations and the first “Liberation Fund” grants will be awarded this summer at the recommendation of the fund’s advisors. We talked to Vanessa about what she hopes to accomplish with her crucial grassroots funding organization and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Daniel stated, “Well I’m a queer woman of color and my wife and I are mommas of a five year old daughter and we’re part of the vibrant queer community of Oakland, California. So my commitment to LGBT rights stems from my desire to live in a world where my family and my whole community can be free. So that’s part of why I have built an organization at Groundswell that has a staff and board that strongly includes LGBTQ people in leadership in our mission statement.”

Under Vanessa Daniel’s leadership Groundswell has moved more than $32 million to the reproductive justice movement with a focus on grassroots organizing led by women of color, low income women and transgender people. Ninety percent of Groundswell’s giving goes to work led by women of color. Vanessa’s roots in labor and community organizing inspired a unique funding model at Groundswell with a program staff team of women of color who come directly out of grassroots organizing and who support grantees through grant-making, capacity building and funder organizing to raise the visibility of grantee work in the broader funder/donor community. Groundswell’s work includes the only fund in the country dedicated to supporting access to birth justice for women of color and transgender people and the most robust women of color-led Integrated Voter Engagement training program in the U.S. Vanessa currently serves on the Board of Directors of Common Counsel Foundation and on the steering committee for the Health and Environmental Funder’s Network. She has a B.A. in American Ethnic Studies from Smith College and is a graduate of the Center for Third World Organizing’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program. This year Groundswell is predicted to move $7 million in grassroots organizing grants.
For More Info: groundswellfund.org