Friday, July 26, 2013

Road To Creating Change Houston 2014 Diary-Changes

I posted my initial Creating Change 2014 Diary back in May not long after we had our initial interest meeting with the goal in this ongoing series of posts being to give you readers a ringside seat what it's like to be part of the planning for one of the largest LGBT conventions in the nation.

It will be taking place in my hometown January 29-February 2 for the first time ever.  It's also my first Creating Change I'll be in the house for since 1999 and I can't wait.      

We have Host Committee meetings scheduled on the first Tuesday of every month at the Montrose Center in which we get together and review the overall progress of organizing Creating Change 2014 Houston style.

At the host committee meetings the 15 different subcommittees report on how they are progressing in organizing their respective portions of the CC14 conference.  We get updates from the Host Committee chairs about things CC National wants and needs us to know and what they are doing to support us on the various subcommittees so we're all on the same unified organizational page.  It also gives those of us on the various planning subcommittees an opportunity to ask questions directed at the convention co-chairs and get a big picture sense of where we are on our CC14 organizing journey at that particular point in time. 

The remaining Host Committee meetings in addition to the rapidly approaching August 6 one are scheduled for September 3, October 1, November 12, December 3, and January 7.  So if there are any of you peeps in the Houston area still wanting to do your part to help put CC14 together, there's still time for you to join us. 

The November 12 meeting is on the second Tuesday because we have a Houston city election happening on November 5 in which we'll be busy trying to ensure that Mayor Annise D. Parker will be speaking to you peeps as we roll out the rainbow carpet for you in January.   

We're bursting at the seams proud of the fact that since 2009 Houston has the distinction of being the largest city in the US to have elected an openly gay mayor.  If things break right, Mayor Parker will not only be standing in front of you CC14 attendees for her third term, we TBLG Houstonians hope we'll have another distinction to brag about in terms of being the largest city to elect an openly trans city councilmember  

We've held our June 4 and July 2 Host Committee meetings since my last diary post with the next one scheduled for August 6.  The 15 subcommittees are starting to solidify in terms of their leadership ranks, membership, getting zeroed in on their tasks now that Pride Month is over and all the organizing that revolves around that event is done.  We've gone through the initial brainstorming phase of our CC14 planning and are discussing and fleshing those ideas the various subcommittees

We even have a website and Facebook page to keep you abreast of what's happening and did some get the word out 'CC14 is coming' events during Houston Pride. 

Photo: The Houston Host Committee for Creating Change 2014 will be at Houston Pride on Saturday, June 29, 2013! We will have a booth at the Festival and will be walking in the parade! We still have some openings for anyone that wants to help work the booth at the festival or walk with us in the parade! If you are interested contact Lynette Ross (Promotions & Outreach Chair), Melissa Vivanco (Media Chair) or Justin Bryan Galloway (Media Admin Secretary)
How much organizing is done around Houston Pride we got an unexpected taste of when we discovered our June 4 Host Committee meeting at the Montrose Center was scheduled for the same day as one the Houston Pride Committee was having.  The room we normally hold our committee meeting in was double booked and we got bumped to another smaller one around to corner on the same floor.   

It was an interesting dilemma because some of our CC14 folks were also committed to representing at that meeting the various community organizations planning to take part in Pride.  It set up the situation where many of them, including my committee chair Melissa were rushing back and forth down the hall in order to attend both. 

As the POC Hospitality committee admin I was taking notes during this meeting anyway and was not only keeping her updated as to what was transpiring in our host committee meeting, but was prepared to give our committee report if she happened to be out of the room when Bryan or Christina called on us to do our report which is exactly what happened.

Speaking of the POC Hospitality committee, that chaotic June 4 Host Committee meeting also exposed the major weakness in us trying to trying to hold our POC Hospitality committee meetings just before the main Host Committee meeting.  Good idea, just didn't work, so we decided to find a different night and spot in order to conduct our business which turned out to be a Cafe Express location on Kirby Drive.  It's not far from the Montrose gayborhood and the Southwest Freeway.  It's fairly quiet, has food and drinks in case we get hungry and is centrally located enough for all of us on the committee in this ginormously spread out city to get to. 

Our committee also increased in size to 10 members and I got elevated to become the vice chair of it.  I'm handling both the vice chair responsibilities and the admin duties for now, but when we have that next meeting I'll need to hand that job off to someone else.  

The name of the POC Hospitality committee also changed to the Racial Diversity Committee.  Augie Augustine, our supervising co-chair pointed out to CC National last month in response to some complaints about it that the term 'person of color' gets erroneously interpreted to mean only Black people.  In some quarters, especially in the South there's a negative connotation to it.   I don't have a problem with the POC term, but others did to the point where a name change was suggested to either the "Diversity" Committee or "Multicultural" Committee.

The name change was approved by CC National, and now we're running with it because that uncertainty about the committee name did have us in a slight promotional holding pattern.   Now that we know it's officially the Racial Diversity Committee, we can continue to move forward on our outreach plans, programming, and get laser beam focused on getting our budget submitted with our next meeting scheduled for July 31.

Remember when I told y'all that the Creating Change all time fundraising record of $25,000 was in serious danger?  Fundraising has been handling their business since May and already hit that target.   We 're shooting to have 4000 people in attendance at this event with at least 500 of that record number of people from Texas.

The call has also gone out for Creating Change 2014 Workshop proposals.  Submission deadline is September 30 and you can click this link for more info about how to do so if you're interested. . 

The Houston Creating Change 2014 team realizes the clock is ticking and January will be here before we know it.   We're still focused on our overarching goal of making Creating Change 2014 a memorable, Houston flavored experience that reflects the diversity of our wonderful city and LGBT community and I hope you join me and our team at the Hilton Americas Hotel for it. 

We have a lot of work still to do to make that vision a reality. 

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