By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
DETROIT – On March 17, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will be the focus of a fundraising reception at Detroit’s Scarab Club.
During the event, NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman will join openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) on the dais. Baldwin will be honored during the event for her service to the LGBT community and the country.
“Tammy Baldwin is a figure of national prominence, [and] one of only a couple openly gay members of Congress,” said John Allen, one of two Michigan members of NGLTF’S board of directors. “Having someone of her stature representing us in Michigan is something we can all aspire to.”
“She’s a big supporter of the Task Force and we just thought folks would be interested in what she has to say,” he added.
Allen stressed that much of the money donated to NGLTF by Michigan donors benefits Michigan LGBT organizations.
“The Task Force doesn’t take the money and run,” Allen said. “They are very active here in Michigan.” Allen cited donations of technical assistance and funding that the Task Force made to help fight the anti-family Proposal 2 in 2004 and the Task Force’s recent grants to the Triangle Foundation as examples of the national organization’s support of LGBT causes and organizations in Michigan.
This year, according to Allen, NGLTF has already signed on to the efforts to stop the California-funded ballot proposal to strike down affirmative action programs in Michigan, and NGLTF is working with the Ruth Ellis Center “on a study of best practices in the child welfare area as it relates to gay and lesbian young people.”
“Some of the most important work being done in our community is being done by the Task Force,” said Sean Kosofsky, director of policy for the Triangle Foundation. “They have always been committed to local and state victories, and that’s why Michigan people should support this event.”
In addition, according to Allen, Michigan sent “in excess of 50” people to last year’s Creating Change, a nationwide conference of LGBT organizers that is sponsored by NGLTF.
“Every year people who are active in all areas in Michigan go out and hone their skills and charge their batteries at Creating Change,” he said.