Pathways to Acceptance in Omaha
August 21, 2011
As part of the Road to Equality, HRC brought our Pathways to Acceptance conversation to Omaha. This conversation explored the impact of acceptance on youth and adolescence. The forum featured the brilliant work of Dr. Caitlin Ryan from the Family Acceptance Project and those on the front line in the community working with young people and families. Pathways to Acceptance epitomizes cross-community engagement–an essential feature of HRC’s Road to Equality.
This panel was the result of months of work with local LGBT advocates and faith leaders to create a forum that was not simply timely but also had programmatic and policy implications for the whole community–whether politicians, educators, social workers or ministers. The frame of family acceptance is an ideal vehicle for such an enterprise. While Dr. Ryan’s work focused on the impact of accepting and rejecting behaviors in families, the Omaha panelists broadened this discussion to discuss how the larger community can actively promote family acceptance.
Community change requires different sectors of the community strategizing with one another. With our Pathways to Acceptance panel we were able to ensure that cross-fertilization across the community occur. In the room as panel members were elected officials, school teachers, religious leaders, pediatricians, principles, school board members, hospital providers, the mayor and former mayor, social workers and much more. Because of this work Omaha is not only better positioned to push through a local ordinance for LGBT workplace protections but to also build smart and sustainable networks of care for LGBT youth.
Omaha is modeling for the nation a revitalized civic-mindedness on behalf of our youth. HRC is honored to be a partner in such vital work.