Category Archives: Announcement

Change at Our Family Coalition

by Judy Appel
Executive Director, Our Family Coalition

After over ten years at the helm of Our Family Coalition, I will be concluding my time as Executive Director next month. I will join California School-Based Health Alliance as Executive Director, building on the educational equity I am so passionate about in my role on the Berkeley School Board. I am deeply honored to have been a part of this organization, with all of you.

I am very pleased to announce that Renata Moreira-Bilella – Our Family Coalition’s talented Communications and Policy Director and last summer’s Acting Executive Director – has the Board of Directors’ unanimous endorsement as Interim Executive Director this fall, as the Board conducts a comprehensive search and review process for the next Executive Director.

Renata-Judy-NightOut - 1In my eleven years at Our Family Coalition, I am proud to have seen the organization grow from local, to regional, to national prominence. The staff has grown from only two of us to over a dozen, and its annual budget has grown from a few hundred  thousand to over a million dollars. Our family support work now includes over 200 events per year, reaching nearly 3,000 community members from across the Bay Area. We work in coalition with some 120 nonprofit and social justice partners, serving statewide as an LGBTQ-inclusive voice on family issues, and a family voice on LGBTQ issues.

Policy wins during my tenure at Our Family Coalition have been numerous, including most recently the passage of our first co-sponsored bill: AB 960, the Equal Protection for All Families Act. We’ve seen Our Family Coalition take the lead as the state’s training source for Welcoming and Inclusive Schools, ensuring all children are educated in an environment that recognizes, understands, and respects their families and their whole selves. Finally, Our Family Coalition has developed an approach to LGBTQ social justice which deeply accounts for the multiple, intersectional identities of our community, and prioritizes solidarity work with movements for racial and economic justice. The racial diversity of both our staff and our Board reflects that of our state, something that makes me not only very proud, but very confident in our capacities to make change in 21st century California.

Many of you know my interim replacement Renata – pictured with me at left in the image above at a recent Night Out gala. She brings nearly two decades’ experience in educational and nonprofit leadership to her work at Our Family Coalition, and has served in advisory roles to a range of organizations, from the California Immigrant Policy Institute to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. This past year, in addition to becoming a mother, she has been a Changemaker Fellow in the Spirituality and Social Change program at the Pacific School of Religion.  Her passionate, skilled advocacy has been at the center of so many of Our Family Coalition’s recent successes. In her words:

I’m thrilled to be stepping in as OFC’s Interim ED. This is a moment of personal honor for me as a queer mama who has been working to promote equity for LGBTQ people and our allies for over 15 years. It is also a moment of deep personal responsibility that I do not take lightly. I will work tirelessly, with my eyes on our mission, my ears open to the voices of all, and my heart committed to LGBTQ parents and our families.” 

With Renata as Interim Director, we are confident the organization will be will be in very able hands during the upcoming transition.

I want to thank you, the community, for the opportunity to spend my kids’ childhoods leading this incredible organization and its dedicated staff. I am proud of the strong team we’ve become, and I take my next step knowing the organization is well-positioned to take on the challenges to come.  From not so very far away, I will be looking forward to Our Family Coalition’s next chapter with Renata’s strong leadership of the amazing OFC team.

Standing together for change; lessons from Ferguson

policy-angerisalegitimateresponse

michaelbrownDear families and friends,

We are angry. As an organization committed to “equity for all families and children,” we cannot sit on the sidelines while our Black youth continue to face violence from those empowered to uphold the law, generation after generation.

We are hurt. Let us hold, for a moment, how it must feel to lose a child to violence; hold, if you can, how Michael Brown’s family feels at this very moment. Let what you feel strengthen the compassion that binds all of us together, parent to child and parent to parent.

We are saddened. The wounds inflicted in communities of color in our country are deep and old. In an effort to divert attention from the injustice served, the media coverage  – of predominately peaceful, youth-led protests against institutionalized racism – has sensationalized the response of our communities and powerful organizing work done by so many in the hundred days since Michael Brown’s murder.

As a social justice organization, we stand for the protection of all children. We stand with the victims’ families. And we call for action and justice.

Let us continue talking to all of our children about racism, how we can fight it, and how being an ally is a powerful tool for peace. At the same time, we:

  1. Commit to connecting with and listening to families everywhere who are being marginalized and whose voices are still not being heard.
  2. Ask our policy makers and government officials to change these archaic and oppressive systems; they must not shrink from action during these troubled times.
  3. Encourage you to continue the dialog on how LGBTQ communities can best stand in solidarity with racial justice movements.

Our hearts go out to Michael’s family and the greater community as we mourn, seek justice, and work together for change.

In solidarity,

Our Family Coalition’s Team

PS: Do you have innovative ideas that can help Our Family Coalition expand this often challenging, yet transformative, intersectional work? Talk to us! Email recommendations, along with your name and contact information, to policy@ourfamily.org. Thanks!

 

Welcome OFC families and our friends!

We are excited to “soft” launch our new website.  That means that we are taking the next month to get your feedback and help us make the best site possible. We have spent months developing this site, and are excited to hear your thoughts.Judy

Our Family Coalition has been going through a growth spurt. This new, fresh web presence is just a part of that change. Over the next few months you will see us not only launching this new website, but also rolling out new materials and increasing our social media footprint.

With acceptance of LGBTQ people growing daily, we see new opportunities for our families to be a part of a lived reality of inclusion and access.  Our family Coalition is at the forefront of that change. You are a part of that change, and we appreciate your helping us create the most vibrant, resourceful, active website possible to further our vision. We welcome your feedback at media@ourfamily.org.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

JudySignature

 

Judy Appel
Executive Director
Our Family Coalition