Social justice crusader to inspire LGBT activists at Creating Change

Lisa Neff, Staff writer

The social justice crusader who made Moral Mondays a must-attend event for progressives in North Carolina will deliver the keynote address at the Creating Change conference in Philadelphia.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II will address thousands of LGBTQ civil rights activists Jan. 19 at Creating Change, organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“We are facing a pivotal moment in the history of our nation — one where we must work even more closely together to defeat the opponents of progress,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the task force. “Dr. Barber is a leader who brings an amazing array of people together for change.”

Creating Change is the largest annual gathering of queer activists and allies in the United States. In 2001, about 2,500 activists attended the conference in Milwaukee.

The five-day conference opens Jan. 18 in downtown Philadelphia and continues through the weekend with speeches, seminars and socials — as well as a Saturday opportunity for activists to travel 130 miles to the U.S. Capitol for the women’s march protesting Donald Trump as the 45th president.

Speech by Barber will be a highlight

Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, launched the massive Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina capitol in 2013 to protest efforts to roll back civil rights advances.

And in late July 2016, he was in Philadelphia to speak on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention. He delivered an electrifying speech, calling for action, justice, equality and mercy.

“When we fight for 15 and a union and universal health care and public education and immigrant rights and LGBTQ rights, we are reviving the heart of our democracy,” Barber said then. “When we develop tax and trade policies that no longer funnel our prosperity to the wealthy few, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. When we hear the legitimate discontent of Black Lives Matter and we come together to renew justice in our criminal justice system, we are embracing our deepest moral values and reviving the heart of our democracy.”

Others set to address Creating Change include Phill Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute, entertainer Alex Newell and Carey.

Carey says attending Creating Change can be life-changing — inspiring, chaotic and even transformational.

Creating Change is essential for the LGBTQ community in 2017, she says, for strategizing and organizing against a right-wing administration, a Republican-held Congress and GOP majorities in many states.