Author Archives: Our Family Coalition

Announcing the LGBTQ History Stakeholder Forum

We have an exciting change of plans to share: in putting together California’s inaugural Make History, Teach History: An LGBTQ History Symposium over the past few months, we have connected with many stakeholders who’ve been eager to help co-create a high quality LGBTQ-inclusive professional learning program for teachers and administrators. During this process, one thing has become clear: many more organizations want to contribute than we’d anticipated.

So we’re shifting the focus of our October 12 event:  it will now be an LGBTQ History Stakeholder Forum.  Its goal: to convene key stakeholders to provide input on the best way to deliver the state’s inaugural LGBTQ-inclusive professional development program for K12 history and social science educators.

Rather than exploring lesson plans, classroom engagement, and school community trouble-shooting and advocacy, we’ll be inviting interested community members and thought leaders – this means you – to influence the larger planning processes, with facilitated sessions on key questions such as:

  • What are the best structures, content, and strategies to provide professional development for administrators and teachers around implementing the teaching of LGBTQ history in our schools?
  • What does the research inform us about teaching LGBTQ history?
  • How can we best collaborate and leverage the resources we each have, to get the best materials to educators?
  • What academic institutions, education professionals, organizations, companies, and others should be involved?
  • How do we support school districts in the implementation of policies consistent with the FAIR Education Act and of LGBTQ history teaching that is aligned with the new state History/ Social Science Frameworks?
  • How can we impact the education of all students so they are more engaged in learning, in a way that improves retention and graduation rates, and leads to more college- and career-readiness?

We’ll facilitate discussion among educators and educational stakeholders, bringing all our collective insight to bear on the content and structure of the inaugural LGBTQ history professional learning program (to be hosted in Spring 2019).

We look forward to planning this important work together with you October 12th, at the Google Community Space in San Francisco, and in the months to come.

For further info and to register, visit the event page here.

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS CHANGED.

SEE THE LGBT HISTORY STAKEHOLDER FORUM FOR FURTHER INFO. 

Schools across California are now, for the first time in our state’s history, required to include Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) representations of the LGBTQ community in K-12 History and Social Studies curriculum. Now it’s time to ensure ALL teachers and administrators receive the necessary support to properly implement and incorporate the new material into their lesson plans and school districts across the state.

“We want to make sure that the people that come after us are better off,” says Rick Oculto, Education Manager of Our Family Coalition. “And not just better off but better than us: better understanding, better caring, better at empathy, better at creating a world where we understand that we all belong.”

Our Family Coalition is proud to invite you to the inaugural “Make History, Teach History Symposium (MHTH),” a groundbreaking conference in San Francisco where attendees will access successful strategies to teach and effectively incorporate this subject matter into existing teaching practices. All will receive sample lesson plans and opportunities for 1:1 coaching on best practices for mitigating and addressing potential concerns from parents or schools as we move to incorporating LGBTQ inclusive instructional materials. Mark your calendars for October 12th!  Continuing Education Units provided.

Audience: K-12 Administrators and Teachers.

Subjects covered include:

► Elementary, Middle, and High School Lesson Plans and Curriculum
► Respectful Language for Identities of Historical Figures
► CA Textbook Adoption Criteria
► Communicating with Resistant School Communities
► Legal Responsibilities and Connecting with SEL Initiatives
► Building a network of teachers and learners to teach LGBTQ history

The “Make History, Teach History (MHTH)” SF & LA initiative is brought to you by Our Family Coalition in collaboration with the Committee on LGBT History, the GLBT Historical Society, and San Francisco State University. Symposium promotional partnership and sponsorship opportunities still available. The L.A. Symposium will be hosted in the Spring. Please complete this form should your organization be interested in becoming a sponsor or promotional partner. Make History By Teaching History! Please contact education@ourfamily.org to join us!

We can and must defeat this anti-LGBTQ family amendment

Every week we are faced with another gratuitous challenge to the gains LGBTQ people and our families had so recently made, or an affront to human decency. This week it’s both.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a harshly anti-LGBTQ family amendment to an existing bill, allowing child service agencies widespread license to discriminate against LGBTQ people –or against interfaith couples, or single parents, or any other prospective parents who don’t pass the agency’s or its staff’s religious muster.

And more: the bill not only enshrines discrimination based on “religious or moral beliefs,” but it would discriminate against states who ban anti-LGBT discrimination in child placement services – such as ours – by denying such states 15% of their federal annual adoption dispersals. The effect: the federal government would disproportionately fund adoption and foster placements in “religious recusal” or legally discriminatory states.

This is more than outrageous, this is inhumane. More than 440,000 children are in foster care right now; 117,000 are waiting for adoption; more than 20,000 age out before finding a permanent family. Two million LGBTQ adults have expressed interest in becoming foster or adoptive parents: it’s beyond time to end this pointless discrimination, in the best interest of the children.

Because the amendment is attached to the bill that provides funding for the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, to kill this amendment representatives need to vote against the entire funding package. But House Democrats and moderate Republicans could work together against, and they must.

We know from impacts on the Affordable Care Act and family separation that public outcry has an impact. Our voices can and will make a difference!

Here’s what you can do today:

  • Contact your representative. Demand they oppose this inhumane attempt to enshrine anti-LGBTQ discrimination nationwide. If they’re already on record in opposition, encourage them to raise their voice louder, and assure them you have their back.
  • Join the mailing list of the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign to stay updated: ECDF is a federal act – introduced last year by John Lewis (D-GA) in the House and Kirsten Gillebrand (D-NY) in the Senate – calling on child welfare agencies to make placement decisions on the basis of the best interest of the child, not an agency’s or its workers’ religious beliefs.
  • Share your story: Our Family Coalition is always interested in collecting and publishing your story, whether you are a foster parent or youth, an LGBTQ parent, a child welfare professional, or an ally. Or join the Speaker’s Bureau at Our Family Coalition. In print or in person, your voice will help spread real understanding about real families. We need this now more than ever.

We are here for one another; we are here for the children, and we will continue fighting against bigotry, together, in the name of love.

Families Belong Together

On June 20th the Trump Administration signed an executive order apparently stopping their policy of separating families at the border. This is a false victory, with severe repercussions. The executive order, known as “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation,” still allows for continued prosecution of immigrant families and will encourage their indefinite incarceration–only now, together. There is much work to be done to protect our immigrant communities, which include thousands of LGBTQ individuals and families escaping persecution.

If this inhumane executive order stands, babies and innocent children will continue to be incarcerated in tent cities, cages, and even federal jails indefinitely, while families are criminally prosecuted awaiting the outcome of their deportation cases. Furthermore, this order does not provide any redress  to families that have already been separated, nor does it include any plans to reunite children with their parents. 

We must continue to vigorously oppose any threats to the safety and well-being of all families at every opportunity, which brings us to “Pride with Action.”

As you know, we’ll be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade this Sunday, June 24th:

Contingent #22, meeting on Steuart between Mission and Howard as of 9am

We are humbled to have been awarded SF Pride’s José Sarria History Maker Award for our work helping to advance LGBTQ inclusion in California schools. It is fitting, then, to remember: history is made up of what we do–or don’t do–every day, and likewise history will judge us for those actions–or that inaction.

We remember that Pride commemorates a riot that launched the modern LGBTQ liberation movement, whose accomplishments make so much of the comfort and mobility of our queer lives possible. Let us reclaim the streets on Sunday and in the days coming, in solidarity with all our community, inspired to continue the necessary work before us.

What can you do?

TODAY 

  • Call your elected official and demand a NO vote on Paul Ryan’s Immigration Bill, which is designed to exploit this crisis and enshrine family separation. The vote has been postponed ‘til next week and its passage would be disastrous.
  • SUPPORT SB 3036
    • Dial 202-224-3121
    • Say your ZIP Code
    • When connected, simply say: “I LIVE IN City, State AND I SUPPORT SB3036”

THIS SUNDAY AT PRIDE

  • Bring signs in solidarity. Remember the struggle is intersectional; let’s call attention to all marginalized voices

GOING FORWARD

And may we all continue to educate ourselves, our families, and friends in our journeys toward being effective allies to all marginalized communities. We are, more than ever, in this together.

Win, lose, or draw: we still have work to do!

Dear families and friends:

This morning’s Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case wasn’t a win, or a loss: it was a draw.

“Religious exemption” arguments may not be used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people. And LGBTQ people in the 19 states who are currently protected – as in California – remain just as protected today as we were yesterday.

But the court missed an opportunity to strike down those “religious exemption” arguments once and for all. The larger issues remain unresolved by the court, so we still have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure nondiscrimination protections nation-wide.

For those unfamiliar with the case, here’s a thumbnail sketch from the ACLU:

“In 2012, Mullins and Craig visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding.  After the bakery turned the would-be customers away because they were a same-sex couple, Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The commission found that the bakery had discriminated against the couple in violation of Colorado law, a decision the Colorado courts upheld. The Supreme Court today found that members of the Commission had made statements evidencing anti-religious bias, and thus had not given a fair consideration to the bakery’s claims.”

So: the ruling was in favor of the baker, but in a very narrow, “case-specific” way. What does that mean?

We still have work to do: we must continue to vigorously oppose “religious exemption” arguments to justify discrimination, and  we must continue to vigorously advocate for federal-level protections for all LGBTQ people via the Equality Act. Our Family Coalition Emeritus Board member and nationally-recognized family law expert Deborah Wald underscores the need for this kind of legistation:

“While we respect every person’s right to practice their religion, we cannot be a country where businesses can choose to cater to only one race, one religion, or one sexual orientation or gender.  Each of us must have the right to walk into any store on any street in America with confidence that we will be treated with respect.”

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees we all have the right to pracice our own religion, or no religion at all. But it has never meant that religion can be used as justification to discriminate. Father Richard Smith, Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco, clarifies how important this is for all of us, regardless of faith:

“If it was morally reprehensible in the Jim Crow south for business owners to refuse to serve people who were black, it is equally reprehensible for them now to refuse to serve people who are gay. For too long, bogus theological and legal claims have justified discrimination. Let’s call this one what it is: sheer bigotry that denies the dignity of human beings created in God’s image.”

What can you do today?

  • If they don’t already, urge your representative to support the Equality Act, which amends the Civil Rights act to include LGBTQ people – and if they do, thank them!
  • If they don’t already, urge your representative to support Do No Harm Act, which amends the Religious Fredom Restoration Act to ensure it’s not used in a discriminatory way– and if they do, thank them!
  • Join our Speaker’s Bureau and help amplify the voices of LGBTQ family in all these issues affecting us.
  • Support Our Family Coalition’s ongoing efforts to ensure equity for all of us.

It was never about the cake. And: the baker’s win is not, in simple terms, our loss. But we still have work to do. We’re honored to do it together with you.

Yours in solidarity,

Renata Moreira
Executive Director

P.S. Our friends at the National Equality Action Team and the ACLU have made it easy to find a rally in your area to show your support of nondiscrimination protections and opposition to the use of religion as a weapon.

Oh, What a Night Out!

Dear beloved community:

What a night! Thanks to all who made this year’s Night Out gala an unprecedented success. Hundreds of community leaders, sponsors, and donors came together to honor leadership, celebrate, and give very generously to help ensure we can sustain and expand our critical work.

We kicked off the evening by honoring SalesforceAssemblymember Evan Lowand Abundant Beginnings, for their exemplary work as allies and champions on behalf of LGBTQ families and the broader LGBTQ community.

At Night Out, we also premiered our 2018 video Making History: Our Family Coalition and the FAIR Education Act. Please take a look and let us know what you think! I hope you’ll be inspired by our Coalition’s efforts to advance LGBTQ-inclusive education in CA.

screencap_of_Making_History_video-YouTube

As you know, OFC is in a critical moment in our work and in our movement to advance equity for LGBTQ families and our children. We have accomplished so much in the face of a hostile political climate and know that our efforts are needed more than ever as we face daily threats to our hard won gains. We thank our generous Champions whose support helps make our work possible: Brio Financial Group, The California Endowment, Ettinger Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Fertility Center, Pure Storage, and Target. We also express deepest gratitude for all of our sponsors and donors. Please visit our website to check out the stellar list of Teacher and Advocate-level sponsors as well as more details about our honorees.

Finally, we are excited to report that the donations in the room exceeded our goals, and we will honor this generosity through continued, vigorous advocacy, education, and community-building!  Your generosity and commitment has and will continue to help make all this difference.

Yours with gratitude and renewed determination,


Renata Moreira
Executive Director

P.S. If you were not able to join us at Night Out, please enjoy it vicariously by checking out our online Night Out 2018 photo album. And we invite you to give what feels good to you. All funds benefit LGBTQ families, our allies, and the millions of California schoolkids who will be learning LGBTQ-inclusive history because of your support.

New attacks against LGBTQ families & our community (under the guise of “religious liberty”)

Yesterday the Trump administration took another step toward conservative, evangelical theocracy.

Thanks to a sensational news day, this year’s declaration received less attention than last year’s “Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” But it’s no less concerning, since it continues to embolden and empower those who would weaponize religion against constitutionally recognized protections, pointedly of LGBTQ people and our families.

In a thorough piece covering the announcement, Daily Beast journalist Samantha Allen sets yesterday’s Executive Order in context, and conveys statements from  our colleagues at the ACLU and Lambda Legal, who are watching this closely. Allen notes:

Much like the HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the new White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative does not amount to major new policy—although Trump promised in his remarks Thursday morning that it will “help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.”

Overlooked in so many treatments of this subject is the fact that 81% of Americans believe the law should not allow companies or other institutions to use religious believes to decided whether to offer a service to some people and not others (per the ACLU, here). Likewise overlooked is the fact that a majority of LGBTQ people nationwide consider themselves active members of a faith community, most of them Christian (13% Evangelical, per the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Study here). That said, LGBTQ Americans are far more likely to be “unaffiliated” with a faith than other Americans. And too many of us have experienced exclusion from faiths in which we were raised. None of this dampens the vibrancy of the many open and affirming congregations that are home to so many of us.

The application of “religious liberty” arguments thus far have proved that these gestures are designed primarily to provide cover for unconstitutional denials of service (details in the recent report, Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster).  As always, we’ll remain alert along with our allies, and confident that our greatest power lies in our love. Please help us amplify the true stories about our families and our faiths. What do you believe in? What does freedom for and freedom from religion mean to you? Send us your words or join the Speakers’ Bureau; contact us at media@ourfamily.org.

Join us at Night Out to thank Salesforce for fierce advocacy

Night Out is a party with a mission.  Sure, it’s a night of festivity, food, and fellowship. But we’re also there to party with a purpose: we celebrate our wins over the past year, and we marshal resources for our work in the year to come. And perhaps most important, we express our deep gratitude to the people and organizations who have championed LGBTQ families over the previous year.

Salesforce Outforce members carry the Salesforce #EqualityForAll banner at San Francisco Pride.

We are honoring Salesforce as our private sector Ally this year, and for very good reason. The company is committed to equity and inclusion in the workplace, earning a number one ranking on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” as well as Indeed’s “Best Place to Work” list and the Employee’s Choice award on Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” list. With approximately 20,000 employees, that adds up to a lot of LGBTQ parents and caregivers experiencing a strong, supportive workplace.

Tony Prophet’s selfie with Salesforce staff at Pride in Hyderabad, India

But Salesforce’s allyship goes even further than this.  Their workplace equity advocacy is exemplary, with clearly articulated equality-driven values, and a record both of supporting LGBTQ relationship recognition and of fighting attempts to roll back protections of LGBT Qpeople in the states which have been doing so, signing a friend of the court brief in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and going so far as to cancel all corporate travel to Indiana and subsidize LGBTQ employee relocations when it proposed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  

The leadership on this issue comes from the top: CEO Mark Benioff and “the other CEO,” Salesforce’s founding Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet, who will be receiving the Ally Award on behalf of Salesforce.  In explaining his work, Prophet has said,

Naturally, companies are going to stand for equality and non-discrimination in the workplace. That is imperative. We are also dedicated to standing for equality in the communities where we serve not just our own interests but for the interests our customers, the interests of our partners and for the interests of our employees and their families.

Prophet’s own commitment to LGBTQ advocacy goes deep, and indicates that he’s every bit as devoted an ally as is Salesforce:

My son is a proud LGBTQ advocate and a member or the LGBTQ community. I’ve been on this journey with my son as a father and I’ve come a million miles on that journey with all the things that I have learned and seen through the eyes of my son how it feels to be LGBTQ. When you hear statistics, there are abstract numbers — thousands and millions. But when you see one person that you love and you’re putting yourself in their shoes, you see how they’re experiencing life and the things that they celebrate and the things that cause them great heartache, how it feels, those are things that change your life.

Allies like this indeed change our lives. Join us on May 11 to help celebrate and give thanks. And if you have even more to give: some sponsorships are still available: contact jenny@ourfamily.org or call 415-981-1960 for more information.

Guess who’s being honored in this year’s SF Pride Parade?

Hello, beautiful families and friends,

Our Family Coalition is honored to be among this year’s San Francisco Pride Community Grand Marshals and Honorees!

We will be accepting San Francisco Pride’s José Julio Sarria History Maker Award * on behalf of the FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition, for which we’re the convening and lead agency.  We’re honored to accept the award on behalf of our many FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition partners: The Committee on LGBT HistoryGSA Network,  the LA LGBT Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, the Safe Schools Coalition, and leaders such as Don Romesburg, Carolyn Laub, and Judy Appel, who worked hard in or alongside Our Family Coalition for years to get LGBT history into CA’s textbooks.

Fourteen individuals and organizations have also been recognized among this year’s Community Grand Marshals and Honorees for the inspiring work they have been doing on behalf of our community. We offer them our hearty congratulations, and invite you to check them out here.

San Francisco Pride’s José Julio Sarria History Maker Award is given to “Bay Area people who make extraordinary changes in the way society views the LGBTQ community.”  And what an honor for the FAIR Ed Act Implementation Coalition to be awarded it! Because that’s exactly the aim of our work.

Our goal, shared by the half-dozen-plus agencies we lead in this coalition, is to ensure that the six million students in California’s K-12 public schools – along with all our future generations – receive an education that includes knowledge about LGBTQ people, our families, and our contributions in history and social science.

It has taken more than a village and more than a decade to get this far, and the work is far from done to make this goal into a reality.  Please help us keep working county by county, district by district, to ensure that teachers are able to receive the training and support they want and need to deliver this curriculum effectively. For our kids, and for the generation that’s growing up alongside them.

And stay tuned for more! Because we just may be marching a little closer to the front of the parade this year. 😉

With pride and gratitude,

Renata Moreira,
Executive Director, Our Family Coalition

Join us at our Night Out Gala on May 11th! Announcing our 2018 honorees.

Hello, friends and families!

It’s time for another Night Out! For ten years, Night Out has been the only event exclusively supporting LGBTQ families with children in the Bay Area. Night Out brings together hundreds of the Bay Area’s most committed leaders and partners in the LGBTQ family justice and education movement. Elected officials, corporate sponsors, community partners, and major donors gather together to celebrate our families and our accomplishments, and marshal the resources for Our Family Coalition’s future.

On Friday, May 11, 2018, at 6pm, we’ll gather and celebrate at the InterContinental, San Francisco. Will you join us? Early Bird tickets are on sale through midnight April 15.

This year we’ll be honoring three powerful advocates for our families. We’re proud to announce:

  • Tony Prophet, founding Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce,  will be receiving our Ally Award on behalf of Salesforce for their work advancing gender, LGBTQ, and racial equity at Salesforce and beyond.
  • Evan Low, California State Assemblymember representing 28th District, will receive our Luminary Award for his work advancing equity for LGBTQ Californians as the co-chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
  • Shayna Cureton, of Abundant Beginnings, will receive our Community Partner Award on behalf of their team for Abundant’s amazing activism work to create social change in our schools and our communities.
  • At Night Out this year we’ll also be launching a thrilling new Emeritus Board that will harvest the brain trust of OFC’s over twenty years of change-making and support. Stay tuned!

We offer our thanks to the dozens of leading companies, organizations, and individuals who have already committed to making this year’s event a huge success, including Brio Financial Group, Ettinger Foundation, Pacific Fertility CenterPure StorageTarget, and many more.

Sponsorship opportunities and benefits are still available! Please email Jenny@ourfamily.org by April 20 if you’d like to join these visionary advocates for LGBTQ families.

It’s an evening of inspiration not to be missed. I’m looking forward to welcoming you on May 11th.

Warmly,


Executive Director

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