July 13, 2020 at 2:21 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
SMYAL, HRC to host virtual events to boost leadership skills, voting
hate crimes, gay news, Washington Blade
HRC President Alphonso David said, ‘Together, united, we will defeat Trump’s attempts to divide us and keep us from voting.’ (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The local LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL and the national LGBTQ civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign, both based in D.C., are hosting separate events this week to boost the skills and awareness of LGBTQ youth in leadership and voting related endeavors.

SMYAL was scheduled to hold its annual “Rise Up! A National Conference for Queer and Trans Youth Organizers” on Monday, July 13-Sunday, July 19 in a virtual online platform for which SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir says more than 270 youth from across the country have registered.

With the conference moving online this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions, “SMYAL is able to host youth from across the country as well as expand the types of workshops that will be presented,” the group said in a statement. “Whether youth organizers are just beginning their journey into activism or they have been leading movements in their own communities, participants will be able to attend workshops focused on transformative justice, structures of power and privilege, maintaining self-care, and intersectional allyship, among others,” the statement says.

In its own statement, HRC says it would hold a one-day live-streamed “Vote Equal, Vote Safe” Town Hall meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 14.

The statement says the event will be hosted by activist and Pod Save the People host DeRay McKesson “to help reach and engage young people, primarily of color, and educate them about mail-in voting and inspire them to make their voices heard in November.”

HRC President Alphonso David said in the statement he was honored to team up with McKesson and others to provide important information for LGBTQ young people.

“Together, we will help demystify the vote-by-mail process and give young people – many voting for the first time – the tools and resources they need to make sure their voices are heard this November,” he said.

“With extremists like Donald Trump continuing to spread disinformation about the vote by mail process, it has become more important than ever to ensure that Equality Voters have accurate information to know how to cast their ballot,” David said. “Together, united, we will defeat Trump’s attempts to divide us and keep us from voting.”

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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