Every year, the Creating Change LGBTQ conference selects a different city in which to hold its conference. As it moves from city to city, officials select a group of local co-chairs native to the area where the national LGBTQ conference is being held. Because this year’s event is in Detroit, BTL reached out to each of the four local leaders in a multi-part Q&A project that can be found in full online at pridesource.com. Below are snippets of those interviews in which BTL got their thoughts on Creating Change 2019 why they were motivated to take up their positions.
Cara Mitrano – Founder of Wayne State University LGBT Advisory Board
“I have connections to many LGBTQ-specific and supportive organizations in the Detroit metro area. For example, while Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan is not LGBT-specific, it has a mission of including and centering LGBT needs in its activism and advocacy. Additionally, as a student at Wayne State University, I wanted to invite students and other representatives of the university to participate in this work. As a young person myself (21 years old), I hope to be a role model for other young people looking for ways to be involved in LGBT activism and advocacy.”
Bridie Johnson – State-licensed social worker and is currently employed as the clinical supervisor of the Behavioral Health Department of American Indian Health and Family Services.
“The fact that I was nominated by friends and colleagues in the Metro Detroit area immediately created a sense of honor and devotion to assure the event goes smoothly for its 31st year here in Detroit. This along with my internal desire to consistently creating change in my life and in Detroit are both extremely important to me.”
Davis Nelson Jr. – Linkage to Care Specialist for Unified – HIV Health and Beyond.
“Creating Change is an opportunity for LGBT people and allies across the country and around the world to convene and build community. Not only do they create the unique short-term community during the five days of the conference, but they can use what they learn in the workshops to strengthen and improve their own communities back home. … So, once I got the phone call from Sue, the former organizer, we talked and she explained everything that comes with being a co-chair and I was even more excited.”
Lilianna Reyes — Former interim executive director of Affirmations and is currently serving as Ruth Ellis Center’s Second Stories director.
“I knew a trans women of color needed to be. I didn’t think it would be me, but when I was asked I couldn’t turn it down. When they chatted with me I was weary because of my schedule, but my dynamic fused with the other co-chairs worked perfectly.”