Advocates from across the United States traveled to Phoenix, Arizona last week to participate in the inaugural LGBT-University hosted by Freedom for All Americans.

AmandalgbtuLGBT-University, organized and facilitated by Katie Belanger, an Equality Federation Board member, is the first of its kind training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of movement leaders to spearhead work that will advance nondiscrimination protections for all Americans.

The apprenticeship program provides participants with hands-on opportunities to learn skills like campaign organizing, communications, staff management, voter data and targeting. The trainings focused on everything you need to run a successful campaign — from lobbying and communications to fundraising and coalition building.

Equality Federation staffers Fran Hutchins, Amanda McLain-Snipes, and Roey Thorpe traveled to the Grand Canyon State to join a 20-person training team of movement professionals that also included Federation alums Gunner Scott, Kasey Suffredini, and Jace Woodrum. Fran, Amanda, and Roey provided trainings to the apprentices on movement history, cultural competency, field tactics, information management, and nondiscrimination messaging. Equality Florida’s Policy and Outreach Coordinator, Hannah Willard attended as an apprentice in the inaugural cohort.

franroeylgbtuPrograms like LGBT-University and campaigns like Freedom for All Americans are absolutely essential as we look at the hard reality many Americans face day in and day out: discrimination exists. Thirty-one states still lack statewide protections for LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. We are now charged with harnessing the momentum from winning the freedom to marry into our work to end discrimination.

Check out this great article by the Huffington Post about LGBT-University and the road ahead of us. Then, read more about Freedom for All Americans – the campaign dedicated to ensuring that every American, regardless of where they live, is protected under the law from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

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Amanda McLain-Snipes

Amanda is Equality Federation's Organizational Development & Training Manager. She provides direct support to our members in creating successful, targeted issue education campaigns.

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