PLAN organizer Christopher Preciado highlights PLAN’s LGBT work to Senate Democrats in Washington, DC
At the invitation of US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, I participated in a roundtable discussion with national LGBT leaders from organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, HRC, ACLU and Freedom to Marry to talk about the work the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada has done for the LGBTQ community in Nevada before the Senate Democrats Steering and Outreach Committee.
Chair of the committee, Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, got the discussion started on how we can all work together with Congress to advance LGBT inclusive policy across the country. It was clear that while all states are working hard to reach full equality for all citizens, there is still much work to be done.
I was able to highlight work I do as organizing lead for Uniting Communities Nevada (UCNV). Uniting Communities is a project of the Western States Center that supports organizations like PLAN working in the racial justice and immigrant rights movements to proactively engage and include their members and constituencies who are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people of color. LGBTQ people of color have been leaders in movements for justice, from Bayard Rustin to Sylvia Rivera. Accepting, embracing and engaging LGBTQ people of color make racial justice groups stronger and represent their entire communities.
UCNV had its first ever lobby day on Valentine’s Day. More than 20 members from all over the state traveled to Carson City and lobbied legislators on issues like marriage equality, driver authorization cards, comprehensive sex education, and mining tax reform. PLAN knows from past experience that the best way to pass legislation is by building diverse coalitions and lifting up all voices. That was the message that resonated with everyone at our roundtable.
The steering committee happened to fall on the same day as a historic immigration reform rally, aptly named A10 to coincide with the rally’s date of April 10th. Everyone at the committee roundtable said it is important for their organization to see that comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship becomes law this year. It was among the top priorities of almost every group represented, including PLAN.