The second day of HRC Foundation’s fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference wrapped on Saturday after a day full of featured speakers, special guests, breakout panels, workshops and film screenings.
The event is held in partnership with the American Counseling Association and the National Education Association, with AT&T, BBVA Compass and Toyota as presenting sponsors. In its fifth year, HRC Foundation’s premier national event addresses safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth, and brings together youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their faimilies in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond.
During the morning plenary, attendees heard from Congresswoman Val Demmings (D-FL); Cheryl Greene, Deputy Director of HRC Foundation Welcoming Schools; Rey Ocañas, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation at BBVA Compass; Nikos Giannopoulos, Rhode Island Teacher of the Year; Zoey Luna, who serves as an HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador; Dr. Kathleen Ethier, Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Daniel Downer, an HRC HIV 360° Fellow; and more.
We must realize our differences are our #STRENGTH. God made us exactly the way God wanted us to be. It's okay to celebrate you and be your #AUTHENTIC self. It's time to thrive! @HRC pic.twitter.com/ikoAX8FEDd— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) February 17, 2018
The Time to THRIVE contingent spent the remainder of the morning in breakout training sessions and workshops – including on the legal rights of LGBTQ youth in K-12 public schools and creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, resisting racism in our communities and achieving an HIV-free generation.
There are not enough words in the world to express what it means to have my daughter’s Kinder teacher present at @HRC #TimeToThrive. Teachers save lives. #ThankATeacher #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/6XpwzPAiuO— Vanessa Ford (@VanessaFordDC) February 17, 2018
The lunch plenary featured inspiring speakers, including Rick Wilson, AT&T’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources; and Native two-spirit couple Adrian Stevens, artist and dancer, and Sean Snyder, designer and dancer.
Additionally, producer and author Jacob Tobia facilitated a panel discussion on non-binary and gender non-conforming idenities with HRC Youth Ambassadors Sean Bender-Prouty, Sameer Jha, Jonathan Leggette and Tyler Yun. The group discussed navigating the gender spectrum and what it means for each individual to identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming.
"Gender is like ice cream, there's a whole spectrum of flavors and toppings." Producer and author @JacobTobia hosts a non-binary panel discussion with @HRC Youth Ambassadors during the #TimeToTHRIVE afternoon plenary. pic.twitter.com/HpVL4YdGGH— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 17, 2018
Following an afternoon of workshops, the night concluded with screenings of the movies “Crowning Change: The Erin O’Flaherty Story” and “15: A Quinceañera Story with Zoey Luna,” followed by question-and-answer sessions with O’Flaherty and Luna, respectively.
Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. Time to THRIVE is taking place Feb. 16-18, 2018 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.
Matthew Shepard will never know his story changed the trajectory of my life; solidified in me a knowing that I could not live in this world without working everyday to make it safe for ALL people. So honoured to meet Judy and Dennis Shepard at #TimeToTHRIVE. pic.twitter.com/ldt7WTPSFe— JJ at the Y �� (@delctautonomist) February 17, 2018
“We’ve made diversity and inclusion a priority at @BBVACompass because it is a business imperative. That purpose of opportunity would mean nothing if we didn’t stand for equality along with the @HRC.” -@ReyOcanas #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/fm5lDsNutU— BBVA Compass (@BBVACompass) February 17, 2018
Ever feel like there’s more on the inside that people may not see? Love the Welcoming Schools program for helping elementary kids students learn about identity and acceptance. @HRC #TimeToTHRIVE pic.twitter.com/hVNGDvdd74— Dr. Joshua Stanley (@drjstanley) February 17, 2018