New Jersey LGBT organizations host unique activism conference

United 2017 conference

Jersey Pride, Inc. is joining with Garden State Equality to produce a unique conference on community activism and organizing to be held this month at the Asbury Hotel in Asbury Park. Intended to inspire and inform, the conference comes at a critical time in the wave of resistance efforts across the country and coincides with the ending of the new administration’s first 100 days in office.

United 2017: Community Activism & Organizing in an Age of AltReason will be a one-day conference on Sunday, April 30, from 8:30 am to 5pm. It is intended to help engage, direct, and enable those interested in community organizing and activism to take steps knowledgeably, responsibly and with confidence and community say organizers.

“Our goal is for attendees to leave the conference with an understanding of and confidence in how to engage with the activism community,” said Laura Pople, conference organizer and president of Jersey Pride, Inc. “We also hope they learn how to prioritize issues they feel strongly about, how to use and interpret messaging and language, and, essentially, what to do with the energy, frustration and despair many are currently experiencing under the current administration, especially.”

One unique feature of the conference will be a political carousel held during the morning program. This session will offer informal question and answer sessions with four local politicians. It will enable conference attendees the opportunity to discuss critical issues with each other.

The conference will kick off with a plenary address by nationally recognized media and communications expert and LGBT leader Cathy Renna.  Reverend Gil Caldwell, a retired United Methodist minister and lifelong activist in the Civil Rights Movement, will close the conference with a presentation about his documentary From Selma to Stonewall. Other presenters include Kathy O’Brien and Axel Torres Marrero from the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, Aaron Potenza and Ben Fisher of Garden State Equality), trainer Lori Tarke, Michelle Julet from The Business of Doing Good, Carol Watchler of GLSEN, author Seth Rainess, Sue Doster from the National Equality March for Unity and Pride, Gordon Sauer from SAGE in Jersey City, Michael Billy representing Jersey City Stands, and Frank Van Dalen from Interpride.

The conference is sponsored by The Asbury Hotel and Out In Jersey.  The cost for attendance is $75, but scholarships are also being offered in an effort to increase accessibility. Information and registration is available online at