June 15, 2011 at 8:30 am EDT | by Phil Reese
NETROOTS: Progressive Conference to put greater emphasis on LGBT issues this week

MINNEAPOLIS — Born in the last decade out of the “Yearly Kos,” where Daily Kos contributors and other liberal bloggers and organizers gathered to share best practice, Netroots Nation, now in its sixth year, offers officially for the first time, an LGBT pre-conference for gay and trans leaders.

Organized by Democracy For America (formerly Dean For America), the traveling convention is being held this week in Minneapolis and will be buttressed by a conservative netroots counter-convention called “RightOnline,” a much smaller convention held during the same dates in the same city as Netroots each year.

The convention will include best practice workshops, panels by leaders and organizers, and keynote speeches by former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, gay blogger John Aravosis, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Ala.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) among others.

Last year’s keynotes included then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Past convention keynotes include Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

The LGBT pre-conference will bring together LGBT leaders to discuss the issues most pertinent to the community, in an effort to push LGBT issues to the forefront of progressive leaders’ list of desired legislation. The pre-conference was organized by Washington, D.C., LGBT organizer and blogger, Michael Rogers.

Rogers told the Blade that he expects the pre-conference“to foster a community of mutual understanding and cooperation between activists, organizations and the online community.”

Chris Johnson and Phil Reese of the Washington Blade will be providing highlights for Blade readers throughout Netroots Nation, which runs through Sunday, and will live tweet some sections of the conference at their Twitter usernames @chrisjohnson82 and @ReallyPhilReese.


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