Human Rights Campaign Announces Sponsorship of California Activist Training Series in Wake of Propos

by HRC Staff

"Camp Courage" to provide activists practical, hands-on skills to organize for marriage equality.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, recently announced the sponsorship of "Camp Courage," an intensive two-day training institute organized by the California-focused Courage Campaign. The training program will provide grassroots activists the practical, hands-on skills to organize in their communities on marriage equality for same-sex couples. The issue-focused training program follows the passage of Proposition 8-the discriminatory amendment that eliminated the right of lesbian and gay couples to marry in the state. The San Diego training will take place from April 18 - April 19. The Oakland/Bay Area training will take place from May 2 - May 3. To learn more, visit:

"While we await the ruling of the California Supreme Court on Proposition 8, the critical work of organizing and training activists to educate their communities on marriage equality continues," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "No matter what the outcome of the Court, we know that our fight for marriage equality is rooted in both justice and fairness. We need to continue the important work of changing hearts and minds one conversation at a time."

"We are building a progressive movement by empowering the new leaders and tens of thousands of grassroots activists who have emerged since the passage of Prop. 8 and the Obama victory," said Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the more than 600,000 member Courage Campaign. "As part of our long-term strategy to promote progressive change in California, we plan to train not only our members, but the grassroots activists and organizers who have emerged all over the state since the election. Camp Courage provides the tools and training to translate their raw enthusiasm into real results."

The "Camp Courage" training, inspired by "Camp Obama," is based on models that have developed leaders and nurtured progressive social movements for many years, and will include: the fundamentals of community organizing volunteer recruitment and management voter persuasion and more.

Harry Knox, Director of the Religion & Faith Program at HRC, will also provide a training on Friday, May 1 leading into the Oakland/Bay Area camp in coalition with local faith and community organizations. Under his leadership the HRC Religion and Faith Program has seen the creation of a national speakers' bureau that reaches more than 10 million Americans monthly and a weekly preaching resource that provides scriptural commentary to ministers and lay people interested in an ecumenical lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender perspective on the Bible. Knox will help local clergy learn how to build advocacy for marriage equality into their routine ministry functions and train participants to utilize low-cost, high-impact public education techniques that extend their justice ministries. The training will end in time for Shabbat services on Friday evening.

The weekend trainings will be led by Torie Osborn, Mike Bonin and Lisa Powell. Osborn, a lifelong social justice activist who has most recently served as a lead organizer and volunteer for the Obama for America campaign. Osborn also is a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellow, and senior advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Bonin is a longtime campaign staffer and community activist who was a Regional Field Organizer for the Obama campaign. He also served as campaign manager and later chief of staff for Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. Powell is an attorney, longtime trainer, community leader and co-founder of United Lesbians of African Heritage.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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