January 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Thousands attend Creating Change conference in Dallas
Monica Roberts, a Houston-based transgender activist and blogger, speaks at a rally against transphobic violence at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Dallas on Jan. 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the National LGBTQ Task Force)

DALLAS — Thousands of activists from the U.S. and around the world attended he National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference that took place last weekend in Dallas.

A rally against anti-transgender violence took place on Jan. 16 before the conference officially began with a keynote speech from Rev. angel Kyodo williams, founder of the Center for Transformative Change in California. The Task Force on the same night honored Monica Roberts, a Houston-based trans activist and blogger.

The Task Force’s annual “State of the Movement” speech on Jan. 17 was a plenary that focused on trans women of color. Executive Director Rea Carey and Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson joined Micky Bradford of the Transgender Law Center, Taffy Lei Johnson of the Seattle-based United Territories of Pacific Islanders’ Alliance, Jade Lenore of AIDS United and Jeynce Mizrahi Poindexter of Equality Michigan on stage.

“When we were talking about this conversation that we wanted to have together today, we talked about the power of culture change,” said Carey at the beginning of the plenary. “We all know that while policy and legislation having strong pro-LGBTQ legislative change is a necessary part of protecting LGBTQ people and our families, we also know that policy has and never will take care of all of it.”

Dyllon Burnside of “Pose” appeared at the conference later on Jan. 17.

José Gutiérrez, founder of the Latino GLBT History Project, and Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, a Puerto Rico-born LGBTQ activist who lives in Maryland, are among those from the D.C. area who attended the conference. Other attendees included Arizona state Rep. Daniel Hernández; Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Andy Marra; Quentin Hill of A Wider Bridge and Arianna Lint, executive director of Arianna’s Center, an organization that serves trans people in South Florida.

“The primary goal of the Creating Change conference is to build the LGBTQ movement’s political power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people and their families in the United States,” said the Task Force in a pre-conference press release.

The first Creating Change took place in 1988. Next year’s conference will take place in D.C.

From left: National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey and National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson at the Creating Change conference in Dallas on Jan. 17, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the National LGBTQ Task Force)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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