Its been over two years since I was last in North Dakota, and when I was asked to speak at the 3rd annual GLBTQA conference I was overjoyed at the progress they have made over the past couple years. The Folks with the North Dakota Department of Health, Tobacco Control Program (DOH) are steadfastly working on LGBT inclusion efforts. While facing multiple challenges they are dedicated to ensuring comprehensive inclusion whenever possible. One of the key messages we tell states is to partner with local LGBT groups. We cannot stress this enough, if you show up to community events, conferences etc. you forge partnerships that will be invaluable in serving the community. It was the dedication of staff at the DOH, which lead conference organizers to allocate a specific slot in their agenda focused on Health and Tobacco, thus making it very difficult to say know to my friends at the DOH. This is the importance of collaborations, and making your presence known.
My presentation: LGBT Health & Social Justice will take a look at our movement with a social justice framework, taking a walk through the LGBT movement, with a focus on tobacco use in the LGBT community. I will also be sitting on a closing panel to recap the day, visioning for the future.
The conference aims to discover where the LGBTQA movement is; nationally, statewide, and personally. With an emphasis on what the movement mean for individuals, identifying interest and direction for folks in attendance, and what folks in North Dakota can accomplish as a unified collective! With workshops designed to dig into these issues, they have various panels with community members, and Natalie (Klueg) Clark as their opening keynote.
The conference stands as a longstanding reminder of the tradition of support, education, and advocacy in GLBTQA activism in North Dakota. I look forward to a great day and most of all continued progress in North Dakota.