August 23, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Black Pride leader Fowlkes elected chair of DNC LGBT Caucus
Earl Fowlkes Jr., Black Pride, Washington Blade, gay news

Earl Fowlkes Jr. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Caucus voted unanimously on Thursday to elect D.C. gay Democratic activist and Black LGBT Pride leader Earl Fowlkes as the caucus’s chair.

The election took place during the DNC’s annual summer meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was among several guests speakers at the LGBT Caucus meeting in which Fowlkes was elected.

“The meeting was our first official Caucus meeting since the [Democratic National] Convention so it gave us an opportunity to celebrate the president’s re-election, all of the amazing LGBT victories last November at the ballot box and all the wonderful progress made in state legislatures over the past few months,” said gay DNC member Jason Rae of Wisconsin.

Rae, who has served as the LGBT Caucus secretary, assumed the position of acting chair in January, when then Caucus Chair Rick Stafford of Minnesota and Vice Chair Sue Lovell of Texas left the DNC after their terms expired.

Rae said he chose to run for a position representing the Midwest Caucus on the DNC’s Executive Committee rather than for chair of the LGBT Caucus.

“I wanted to help bring an LGBT voice to the executive team for the Midwest Caucus,” he said.

Rae said the LGBT Caucus on Thursday elected Laura Calvo, an official with the Oregon Democratic Party, as vice chair; and Lisa Goodman, co-chair of the statewide LGBT organization Equality Delaware, as caucus secretary.

Goodman played a lead role last year in campaigning for a same-sex marriage equality law and a transgender non-discrimination law that were passed by the Delaware Legislature.

Fowlkes served last year as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He currently serves as president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, an international LGBT advocacy organization that Fowlkes helped found. The organization, formerly known as the International Federation of Black Prides, among other things, organizes D.C.’s annual Black Pride celebration and conference. Fowlkes is also a member of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, D.C.’s largest LGBT political organization.

Fowlkes was attending DNC related meetings on Friday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rae told the Blade that the subject of the National Stonewall Democrats did not come up at the LGBT Caucus meeting on Thursday. NSD, an LGBT group, ceased operating last December due to financial problems.

LGBT Caucus member Raymond Buckley, the openly gay chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, told the Blade in February that he and other LGBT Caucus members were taking steps to resurrect NSD this year. In a phone interview on Friday, Buckley said he and the others working with him have made progress on the NSD front.

“We’re optimistic,” he said. “Some announcements will be coming soon.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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