WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today announced the launch of Clergy Call 2009, a year-long educational effort to facilitate faith-based mobilization within congregations and local communities. The effort builds off Clergy Call 2007, where the HRC Religion & Faith Program brought 230 religious leaders from all 50 states to Washington, D.C. Beginning this summer, HRC will support faith-based trainings throughout the country with a particular targeted emphasis on transgender education in 40 communities. The trainings will lead into the national Clergy Call event May 4-5, 2009 and will propel faith leaders to organize and advocate locally for GLBT equality.
"America's clergy are transforming our nation one congregation at a time and making it easier for Members of Congress to stand for equality," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "These trainings will encourage participants to take their conversations to the next level and work for change in the public sphere."
The theme for Clergy Call 2009, "Moving from Acceptance to Advocacy," reflects the vision of a faith-based movement for GLBT equality built from the ground up: in local churches, synagogues, mosques. The series of trainings will utilize HRC's faith-based Transgender Curriculum and Online Resource written by transgender religious educators and edited by Rev. Chris Glaser. The curriculum will also include an accessible biblical piece, "Gender Identity and the Bible." In addition, a study guide to accompany the award-winning film, For the Bible Tells Me So, will be offered for the first time. Both the faith-based transgender curriculum and For the Bible Tells Me So study guide provide hands-on training designed to engage communities in rich and faithful dialogue on GLBT issues.
"When I think of the power of tikkun olam -- of healing the world -- I think of HRC's Clergy Call for Justice and Equality," said Rabbi Denise Eger, of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, CA. "This event showed Congress and the country that religious people are willing to stand up for the marginalized and the disenfranchised. By building on the success of Clergy Call 2007 to mobilize people of faith locally in anticipation of another Clergy Call in 2009, HRC is practicing tikkun olam -- justice work at its most profound."
"Clergy Call 2007 was a life changing moment for all who participated," said Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program. "Watching clergy come together to demand justice for LGBT people brought hope to even the most cynical observer. Those clergy sparked a flame that is igniting a movement for justice and equality around the country. Clergy Call 2009 will build on that momentum."
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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