Thursday, November 29, 2012

All Eyes on the Court

The next five days are likely to be a whirlwind of incredible activity. Mayor, Council President, Congress and… marriage in California?

Monday we will have a new mayor and the City of San Diego will have a Democratic mayor for the first time in many, many years. Join us and our new mayor for a Neighborhood Inaugural Celebration Monday, December 3, 6:30-8:30 at The Center.

We may also have one of our own, Councilmember Todd Gloria, as City Council President on Monday! Todd is a former chair of the San Diego LGBT Community Center and we couldn’t be prouder.

We have another to recognize and celebrate as well – our new Congressmember and Center board member Scott Peters!

And amidst all of that, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to make some huge decisions on Friday, November 30, about whether they will review and decide the Prop 8 (Perry) case. In addition, they will make decisions regarding the DOMA cases and whether they will review and rule on them this term.

It’s a day of historic proportions for us! This is a set of the biggest civil rights cases to reach the Court since Brown vs. Board of Education and an opportunity to affirm the central promises of liberty and justice for all and the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Below are broad descriptions of the options and what we can expect.

1. They may decide to review and rule (grant cert) on these cases (the DOMA cases are separate from the Perry/Prop 8 case) this term. It is expected that they will announce sometime Friday after their conference the cases they will be taking this term. If they grant cert and agree to take these cases, they will hold oral arguments later this year and rule on the issues of marriage equality. This opens the possibility of a national, permanent resolution to marriage equality (if they rule in our favor). Long, anxious waiting for justice will then continue through this term. However, historically the Supreme Court has stated 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right.

2. They may decide NOT to review (deny cert) on the Prop 8/Perry case. This decision not to grant cert would likely be announced Monday, December 3. If they vote to deny cert, it would be a monumental and historic win for the people of California. Prop 8 would then be invalidated and the lower Court decision (the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling ) affirming the the Federal District Court ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional would stand. Marriage would be legal in California again within days or a couple of weeks!

3. The third option would be no decision on whether they will hear it this year (grant cert) and kicking the can down the road to decide later. Most view this as unlikely outcome.

While either 1 or 2 can lead us to victory, 2 would be an immediate victory for Californians! #3 will just keep us waiting. What are the chances or either 1 or 2? Even with all the speculation, we don’t really know. Either is a victory or promise for one.

If #2 happens, expect a huge community-wide celebration! I will absolutely let you know. Maybe we’ll celebrate the mayor and marriage in California?

Stay tuned while all eyes are on the Court for the next five days…


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Supporting and Training New Leaders

Many justice movement pundits write about the need to continue the work of building power with a new, educated, energized leadership dedicated to carrying justice movements forward. Few talk about how to support, educate and provide opportunities for these new leaders. 

The San Diego LGBT Community Center has prioritized some of this work. Hearing clearly the hopes and needs of young leaders in our community, we began to host the Young Professionals Council more than two years ago. Again following their lead, we established the Young Professionals Council Leadership Council this last year. 

The Young Professional Council (YPC) is a diverse group of young LGBT and allied professionals who are dedicated to the growth of The Center. The YPC Academy, an intensive leadership development program, was designed to expand the ranks of young LGBT leaders that are ready to further equality through board service for a variety of agencies, non-profit organizations and government boards and commissions. 

During the Academy, these young professionals covered an impressive array of topics and heard from a veritable Who’s Who of San Diego’s social justice leaders and LGBT elected officials over the course of 42 hours of training and discussion. 

They participated in in-depth sessions covering topics such as leadership development (in elected office and other public service capacities), social justice movements, civic engagement, cross-issue/cross-movement collaborations and coalition building, board governance and fiduciary responsibilities, voter engagement, non-profit finance and fundraising.

I was impressed with their enthusiasm and commitment, and by the end of six weeks with this group I was looking at them with an eye toward my own board development. But this training isn’t just for The Center to benefit from, there are scores of local boards that would be fortunate to have any one of these 20 join in the leadership of their organization.

Congratulations to the 20 incredibly talented and committed graduates of The Center’s Young Professionals Council Academy’s inaugural class -- Abraham De La Cruz, Barbara Moreno, Ben Cartwright, Brian J. Nagle, Georgette G√≥mez, Gianni M. LaChica, Ian Johnson, Jared Quient, Jason Whitehouse, Jesus Sanchez, John Greenwell, Kimberly Simms, Maricar Camaya, Paul Richardson, Tony Winney, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, YPC secretary/treasurer Vanessa Cosio, YPC membership chair Jarryd Davis and YPC co-chairs Brandon Tate-McWilliams and Justin Knepper.

You can read more about the YPC, the Academy and the talented graduates at

You can also join in the celebration of these young leaders at the YPC Champagne Brunch on Sunday, July 1 from 11 am-1 pm at Wang’s North Park, 3029 University Ave. Tickets are just $40 and include fantastic food and bottomless mimosas. Purchase your tickets online today!