WASHINGTON, DC -- August 5, 1998 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has convened some of the nation's most outstanding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth leaders this week for its annual Youth Leadership Training Institute. Twenty-five young people are gathering today in rural Maryland for five days of intensive grassroots organizing training along with concrete skills-building workshops. The youth were selected after an intensive screening process.
The Institute will include specific skills training in areas such as media, meeting facilitation, leadership styles, and fundraising. In addition, youth will look at various types of organizing including running a grassroots campaign and campus and high school organizing. There will also be facilitated discussions on issues such as diversity and coalition building and what it means to be a youth activist in the age of HIV/AIDS.
A major focus of the Institute will be the actions in state capitols across the country next March, Equality Begins at Home (EBAH). The Task Force is the national coordinator of EBAH and will pair up graduates of this year's Institute with the state group in each youth's home state. The graduates will work on youth activities and aspects related to the EBAH events in their state.
The Task Force is committed to supporting GLBT youth. As part of this commitment, it created the annual Youth Leadership Training Institute, the longest running GLBT youth training in the country. NGLTF provides scholarships, including travel, lodging, food and all training expenses, for each participant in need of such assistance. In addition, the Task Force recently hired field organizer Alexis Sáinz, a graduate of the 1995 Youth Leadership Institute and coordinator of this year's Institute. This year's Institute is being supported in part by the Kellogg Foundation, United Airlines, and the Tzabaco.
"The Youth Leadership Institute is one of NGLTF's most exciting programs and of great importance to our movement," said Kerry Lobel, NGLTF executive director. "The young people gathered this week embody the richness, diversity, and talent in our community. They are not only our movement of tomorrow, they are our movement today," she added.
The following is a list of all 1998 NGLTF Youth Leadership Institute participants:
Dan Bustillos, Chico, CA
Dan is an 18-year-old Latino gay man. He is Youth Program Co-Coordinator of the GLBT community center. He also supports the on-line gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender youth community as a chat host for PlanetOut.
Romi Chandra, Port Coquitlan, BC
Romi is a 19-year-old Fijan/Hindu queer male. He started the first Gay/Straight Alliance group in British Columbia. He also organized a GLBT Youth Conference titled "Somewhere Under the Rainbow." Romi is on the board of both YouthQuest! and YouthCO AIDS Society.
Cullen Golblatt, Washinton, DC
Cullen is a 19-year-old white transgender queer. He was part of a student run and led organization in high school called Students Educating Each other about Discrimination (SEED). At Smith College he serves as a member of a residence Diversity Board.
Paul Harris, Chicago, IL
Paul is a 22-year-old queer of European American decent. He served as Co-director of the Michigan State University Alliance of LBGT Students. There, he organized dances and a cross-campus march. Paul also was one of the founders Homophobia Action Group, a group formed in response to a board of trustees' decision to delay provision of domestic partner benefits at the university.
John Harrison, Durham, NC
John is a 20-year-old African-American gay man. He is a Duke University student, and he initiated a campaign to allow same-sex marriages in the Duke Chapel. He helped implement the first mentoring program specifically for LGBT youth in North Carolina. John is on the board of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum.
Koren J. C. Hoard, Hyattsville, MD
Koren is an 18-year-old African American/Blackfoot Native American lesbian. She has been a member of a number of speakers bureaus, educating the public on important gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender issues. She also served as a volunteer at Milwaukee AIDS Project and as a phone operator for Gay Youth Wisconsin Hotline.
Wm. Brandon Hutchinson, Johnson City, TN
Brandon is a 21-year-old white gay man. He is active at his university campus at East Tennessee State University and helped coordinate events throughout campus on a variety of issues. He is currently the news editor and advertising manager for a new regional gay literary publication, The Triangle and has been elected as the coordinator for the Tri-Cities first pride celebration.
Susanne Marisa Kandel, Hanover, NH
Susanne is a 19-year-old Jewish lesbian. She is a student at Dartmouth College and Co-Chair of the Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance. She was also a participant and presenter at Panim el Panim, a teen Jewish leadership program in Washington, DC.
Danielle (Dani) Kirchoff, Silver Spring, MD
Dani is 22-years-old, white, queer, and transgendered. At Antioch College she effectively lobbied her campus group to add transgender to its mission statement. Prior to going to Antioch, Dani was involved in the DC-based Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, where she was elected to be the youth representative on the board of directors.
Sally Kohn, New York, NY
Sally is a 21-year-old white lesbian. She is currently an intern with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and prior to that interned with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She has also been active on the campus of George Washington University, working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance.
Andy R. Mejia, Boston, MA
Andy is a 22-year-old Latino gay/queer man. He has work at the Fenway Community Health Center for the past two years. He has recently been asked to be part of the planning committee for the 6th Annual Ryan White National Youth Conference.
Megan Nealis, Portland, OR
Megan is a 20-year-old white lesbian. She has worked on a variety of environmental and social justice issues. She was organizer of a two day conference that brought together social justice groups to discuss accessibility issues and networking strategies among rural and urban groups.
Holly (Tyler) Pullis, Durham, NC
Tyler is a 22-year-old gender-questioning white dyke. She was a member of North Carolina Lambda Youth Network's (NCLYN) first summer leadership institute and is now on its of board of directors. She is currently in charge of organizing this year's NCLYN's institute.
Jason Rasmussen Madison, WI
Jason is a 22-year-old white gay man. He is a student and organizer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been on the executive board of the Madison Ten Percent Society. He helped successfully lobby the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to pass "Plan 2008," a mandate for promoting diversity, which will be distributed to the Chancellors of the entire University of Wisconsin system.
Patrick Rodgers III (Sky), Berkeley, CA
Patrick is a 16-year-old gay black man. He is a junior at Encinal High in Alameda, California where he helped form the Gay and Lesbian Education Group. In addition to his organizing work, he is a figure skater and qualified for the Junior Olympics during his first season of competitive skating.
Malaka S. Sanders, Cincinnati, OH
Malaka is a 19-year-old African American lesbian. She currently conducts outreach for the Welfare Rights Coalition and writes for Streetvibes, the "street paper" produced by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Malaka helped start the first high school gay-straight alliance in her state
Erin Schultz, Worcester, MA
Erin Schultz is 20-year-old white lesbian. She is a student at Clark University and was the co-director of the Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay Alliance. She is currently completing an internship at the Cambridge, MA office of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Amanda D. Smith, Tacoma, WA
Amanda is a 21-year-old white lesbian. She is a psychology and women's studies major at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She is one of the original creators of The Matrix, a student driven journal for social justice. She is currently helping to organize the second annual Tacoma Pride March.
Sara L. Smith, East Lansing, MI
Sara is a 21-year-old African American lesbian. She is an active organizer on her Michigan State University campus, serving as a co-director for the Alliance of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay & Transgendered Students. She has served with the Department of Residence Life as a Resident Advisor and worked at the university paper, the State News.
Sarath Suong, Revere, MA
Sarath is a 21-year-old Asian Pacific Islander gay man. He has been active in the local youth and community development center, Reaching Out Chelsea Adolescence. There he worked with his home Khmer/Cambodian community as an HIV/AIDS educator.
Lonnie Emmanuel Tapia, Tesugue, NM
Lonnie is an 18-year-old Hispanic gay male. He has served on the advisory board for the Lesbian and Gay Community Funding Partnership. In addition, he has taken on several leadership roles at his high school, including serving as the Vice President of the National Honor Society.
Aubry Dustin Threlkeld, N. Charleston, NC
Aubry is an 18-year-old white gay man. He helped organize a petition to the United States Senate to oppose HR9, a resolution regarding environmental justice law, on the basis that it discriminated against the poor. He also helped organize a group of fellow students at his local high school to talk about sexual orientation issues, informally called "Queer Lunch."
Mariana Toledo-Hermina, Washington DC
Mariana is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican lesbiana. She has been involved in local, campus, and national organizing. She served as a community volunteer for Fundacion SIDA of Puerto Rico. She is currently working as a Technical Assistance Manager for the National Latino/a Lesbian, Gay, Transgender & Bisexual Organization (LLEGO).
Darnell Christopher Williams, Durham, NC
Darnell is a seventeen-year-old black gay man. He worked to bring together 25 young people from his local surrounding counties to create a coalition of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning high school aged young people. He is involved in Youth Voice Radio (YVR), a non-profit youth run organization dedicated to educating and getting youth voices heard.
Penelope Williams, New York, NY
Penelope is a 22-year-old Les Bi An woman of color. She has been doing HIV/AIDS street outreach for the homeless, especially youth. She served on the steering committee of Mano a Mano, a training produced by the Latino/a Commission on AIDS, and she is also a BiNET and Bisexual Youth Initiative regional organizer.