Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reflections on the NGLCC National Business & Leadership Conference

Living in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, it is easy at times to become depressed over the lack of progress on LGBT rights and start to wonder if things indeed will ever get better. Spending yesterday here in Washington, D.C. at the NGLCC National Business & Leadership Conference has truly helped re-energize me. It was a true honor to stand up on the stage with HRBOR's current president to formally receive the Rising Star Award and a framed commemorative stamp series complete with engraved plaque from the U. S. Postal Service as we looked out across a room of hundreds of LGBT business and chamber leaders from across the USA. Likewise, networking with other local NGLCC affiliates and share ideas and war stories was an amazing experience as well.
The day concluded with a formal dinner sponsored by IBM and the Argentine Tourism Ministry held in the Great Hall of the historic National Building Museum (the exterior is shown above and the great hall - which is huge and seven stories high - is pictured above) where a number of businesses and individuals were honored. Among those recognized was Fort Worth city council member Joel Burns who is a truly wonderful individual who I enjoyed talking to and with whom I hope to talk further. His amazing statement on coming out and bullying continues to be inspiring and I feel privileged to have met him. Another surprise of the evening was Martina Navratilova acting as auctioneer for the top items in the silent auction at the event.
It will be a bit of a let down as I head back to Hampton Roads this morning, but having seen how much other chambers have accomplished, I definitely feel motivated to continue to work with HRBOR to create change for the better for LGBT citizens and business owners. It can get better - we merely need to refuse to take no for an answer and refuse to not be treated equally.

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