Jane Clementi and Mitchell Gold announce that their organizations are joining forces during the Upstander Legacy Celebration held in New York, N.Y. during November.

FIA, Clementi connect against bullying

NEW YORK, NY. — Carolina-based Faith in America and The Tyler Clementi Foundation are joining forces to work to end religious-based bullying, the organizations reported.

In November at the Clementi Upstander Legacy Celebration, Jane Clementi, co-chair and founder of the foundation, and Mitchell Gold, co-chair and co-founder of Faith in America, made the announcement at the foundation’s Upstander Legacy Celebration.

Gold made the following statement about the cooperative effort during the event: “Faith in America was founded in 2006 to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ people, especially youth, by faith-based discrimination. In the early years, leaders and funders in our own LGBTQ communities worked against us because they felt the truthful word ‘bigotry’ was too strident. Many thought we could achieve full equality by avoiding religious issues entirely. Despite this resistance, Faith in America grew through donors and supporters who shared heartbreaking experiences of faith-based discrimination, organized around the inspiring vision of a world where religious denominations no longer teach that homosexuality is a sin. 

“The Tyler Clementi Foundation has become a critical partner in achieving this vision. Jane Clementi has a powerful voice as a mother and person of deep faith. And now with Jason Cianciotto as its new executive director, The Tyler Clementi Foundation will become an even stronger and more impactful leader. Faith in America wants to be a part of that. By joining forces and using precious community resources more strategically and efficiently, we can hit the grand slam needed to end faith-based discrimination.

“This is why I joined The Tyler Clementi Foundation Board in September and, in partnership with Faith in America’s Board, have begun the process of closing down our operations as a separate non-profit. All of Faith in America’s programs, staff, and resources will be transferred to the Tyler Clementi Foundation. These include the Save yOur Kids! Campaign, which informs anti-LGBTQ religious denominations and the general public about the immense harm and suffering caused to LGBTQ youth and adults, as well as our College Accreditation Project, which challenges religious institutions of higher learning that include anti-LGBTQ teachings in their programs that graduate accredited, mental health practitioners.

“I want to thank Faith in America and Tyler Clementi Foundation boards and staff for embracing this visionary plan to join forces. Now more than ever, as anti-LGBTQ religious fundamentalists have taken over our highest political offices, we must protect LGBTQ youth from the lifetime of harm caused by faith-based discrimination and rejection from their families and faith communities. I want to be the first to welcome and invite Faith in America’s donors and supporters to learn more about The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s programs and services by exploring TylerClementi.org. Please take the #Upstander Pledge, download and implement the #Day1 bullying-prevention program in your school, workplace, or faith community, and follow us on social media.”

info: faithinamerica.org. tylerclementi.org.

ENC seeks ED candidates

RALEIGH, N.C. — Matt Hirschy, interim executive director for Equality North Carolina (ENC), has asked the LGBTQ and progressive communities to assist the organization in finding its next executive director.

ENC is currently working with a consultant in the search process, but also realize that community members may know of a worthy candidate who would be a good fit for the organization.

An online form is available at bit.ly/2BnTyL2 for those who want to nominate, recommend or refer a candidate for consideration.

Candidates should have some previous leadership and management experience; fully understand queer and intersectional social justice issues, especially in the South; be able to work at the grassroots and grasstops levels; know North Carolina (even if they are working somewhere else now); understand the North Carolina political landscape and be able to advocate for LGBTQ issues with policymakers; be good at building relationships and coalitions and working collaboratively with partners; and be personally committed to equity, inclusion and diversity in all its forms.

The candidate also needs to be a “smart, dynamic leader whose lived and professional experience demonstrates a genuine commitment to equality and the ability to represent the full diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ community throughout the state,” Hirschy added.

A complete job description is available online at bit.ly/2hU3gMY.

info: equalitync.org.

Carolinians picked for POZ 100 list

RALEIGH, N.C. — Four North Carolinians, who have advocated each year for their work addressing HIV/AIDS in their communities, have been chosen for POZ Magazine’s annual POZ 100: Celebrating Women List. The honorees representing the state of North Carolina in this year’s POZ 100 list are Alicia Diggs, Diana Rowan, Rita McDaniel and Geneva Galloway-Pitts.

The magazine uses this format as a way of thanking activists for their service and this year focuses entirely on women’s contributions.

Diggs is a Greensboro-based advocate who works as a medical case manager for the Positive Wellness Alliance in Lexington, N.C. She raises awareness and shares her story through public speaking via local radio, newspapers and magazines, online videos and as part of BET’s “Rap It Up” campaign. In addition to being a doctoral candidate and penning a memoir, “Standing on My Healing: From Tainted to Chosen,” she is a member of Positive Women Network-USA, SisterLove’s 2020 Leading Women’s Society, the Lambda Tau Upsilon Christian Society, and is also a board member of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network.

Rowan serves as an associate professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has conducted research that centers on improving the lives of people living with HIV and those most at risk, with her work also extending to exploring strategies to address the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. As the principal investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Minority AIDS Research Initiative, Rowan works to build prevention research capacity in Black and Hispanic communities. In addition to serving as a board member for the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, she published a textbook, “Social Work with HIV and AIDS: A Case-Based Guide,” which was released in 2013.

McDaniel is the women’s facilitator at the Triangle Empowerment Center in Durham, N.C. She spends her time in advocacy, peer education and community outreach work. McDaniel founded the “It’s All About Me” support group, which works with minority women of all ages who are living with HIV to address short- and long- term goals, promote self-empowerment and encourage healthy living. Her work also includes organizing prevention programs around safer-sex practices and PrEP specifically geared towards women, including a pajama party event called “Pillow Talk.”

Geneva Galloway-Pitts is the founder and CEO of Trinity House CLT, which supports spiritual wellness among people living with HIV and promotes HIV education and prevention in places of faith throughout North Carolina. Her passions center on bridging the gap between communities of faith and people living with HIV. McDaniel’s work as an advocate, public speaker, mentor and volunteer has garnered various honors, including the North Carolina Governor’s AIDS Advocate Award and a Red Pump Project Community Service Award.

“We’re thrilled that four amazing advocates were recognized this year from North Carolina on POZ 100,” said Lee Storrow, executive director of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. “We’re honored to have Diana and Alicia as leaders on the NC AIDS Action Network’s board of directors, and Rita and Geneva’s leadership has been crucial to elevating the voices of women in our movement in North Carolina and across the country.”

info: poz.com. ncaan.org.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@qnotescarolinas.com.

Share your news with us

Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@qnotescarolinas.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBTQ issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBTQ rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.