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GRATITUDE TO SUPPORTERS OF FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING

Dear Convening Attendees and Supporters,

It is with heartfelt gratitude I express THANKS to everyone for your presence, for your participation both during and after, for the beginning of a national movement/network, however you choose to define it, that will address issues pertaining to POC LGBT aging.  The First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging was a phenomenal gathering, please applaud yourselves for a job well done!!

Glen-Michael Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle.

To all the staff of GRIOT Circle…Bonnie Harrison, Anthony McPhatter, Victor Pond and Daniella Noel who went beyond the call of duty and put their brightest foot forward to create an outstanding Convening.

To Brian de Vries for always being informative and supportive, a man of truth and clarity.  To Kyaien O. Conner for your brilliance and impressive level of research that opened so many people’s eyes to the disparate needs of LGBT POC aging.  Your presentation was amazing!  Thank you.

Chezia Carraway, my Elder Mentor Sister Friend, lots of love!  Thanks!  And to Helena Bushong for being the voice of our Trans-elder community that is far too often invisible at these important gatherings.  You rock!

Aisha Young for continuing to be the leader that you are!  Laurens Van Sluytman for always being in GRIOT’s–and my–corner, a guy you can count on!  Much Love!  Jay Blackwell you know how I feel about you and your support!  Louis Colbert for your kind words, as you know, we got work to do!!!! 

Carmelita Tursi for always being so very understanding and supportive, and for being available and open to the new kids on the block! Talk soon!?   Hutson Inniss for coming in and doing the work necessary, thanks man!  Jewelle Gomez for being a great elder and movement leader.  Nancy Bereano, your mentorship and love is felt!   Brendalynn Goodall, my SISTA friend, for always having my back and just being a great supporter friend!

To Michelle Alcedo, my SFAM, for your continued energy and support!  Hope Barrett great seeing you as always, thanks for your words of encouragement.  Rev. Jaynce Jackson thanks for your words and for keeping everyone focused on why we were there.  To Sharon Day for bringing our native brothers’ and sisters’ voices to the table!  Don’t forget to say hi to Jackie for me!

Pauline Park thank you, it’s always good to have your voice in the room!  Tony Sarmiento what can I say, let’s make some noise, your brother in the struggle!  Mr. Bryan Epps from the moment I reached out to you, you were on board and have remained consistent in the process.  Thank you.  Let’s have lunch soon!

Mario Tapia we have got to do some more work together, let’s present our own initiative to the City Council and get it funded.  Call me!  Carmen Vazquez thanks.  That’s all I can say, thank you!!   Dion Wong  you brought a new clarity to the meaning of working in POC communities, I am humbled.

Dr. Rawha Haile, who was scheduled to be at the convening, was unable to attend because her father passed away.  I want to take this time to send out special thoughts of comfort, and a blessing to you and your family in celebration of your father’s amazing life!

Cheryl Reese thank you for being that voice in the room!  We got your information.  Imam Daayiee Abdullah thanks for lending your expertise to  this conversation!  Tracy Cooper you hit this one out the ballpark!  I knew you would!  To Edwin L. Walker, Senator Benjamin Cruz, the ASA/LAIN and all the participants I met … WE THANK YOU ALL.

GRIOT Circle is committed to working within and with the systems/committees to develop structure and support for the network.  We are also here to help with whatever else we can to move this project forward.  As I said during the closing plenary, it was not designed for GRIOT to be in charge of the network, that power is yours, it has to be organic and coming from the members, much like how we run GRIOT Circle.  We were the vehicle to bring us all together, now let us all build a network we can all be proud of.

With warm regards,

Glen-Michael Francis

Executive Director

GRIOT Circle, Inc.

PHOTO GALLERY: THE FIRST CONVENING

Over fifty aging professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. on October 12-13, 2011 for the First National Convening of POC LGBT Aging Professionals hosted at the AARP Brickfield Center.

The idea of organizing a National Convening targeted to POC leaders of organizations and POC elders in the community to create a cross-cultural aging Network to promote LGBT POC aging on a national platform came during the American Society on Aging (ASA) LAIN (LGBT Aging Issues Network) Retreat held 2010 in New Mexico and sponsored by the Arcus Foundation.

From the meeting emerged The POC “Hot Spot” committee of LAIN to help address the gaps and help inform an inclusive practice for future educational efforts of ASA.

This Convening is an occasion for discussion and an opportunity to develop the strategies for building a common vision among LGBT POC professionals, activists and allies committed to aging issues.  The Convening has been realized and the work of building a formidable network for aging professionals who serve the POC LGBT community has begun.  Here, we share some outtakes from the first day of facilitated discussions and group workshops.  Subsequent posts on the GRIOT Blog will record and report on this historic event, and the outcomes.

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Photography by SeanDrakes.com