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With all the commotion surrounding the XIX International AIDS Conference coming to Washington July 22 to 27, it might seem that the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) national conference, being held in the District July 19 to 22, is being overshadowed. Not a problem, assures Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA co-director of programs.
”We’re actually really glad there’s all of this stuff happening,” he says. ”It allows us to make different kinds of connections.”
Only the young alliance’s second national conference – the first held in Seattle in 2009 – de Guzman says that D.C. is the city and now is the time for the group to engage the conference theme: ”Presence, Power, Progress.”
”We’re doing more than just getting a seat at the table,” de Guzman says of the alliance’s work. ”It’s a historic time for us to be here. It’s our chance to really show our numbers, our presence.”
One important venue for delivering the alliance’s message is the White House, with a July 19 briefing scheduled with Obama administration representatives. That Gautam Raghavan, former director if the Democratic National Committee’s Indo-American Leadership Council, is now serving as LGBT liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs is particularly noteworthy, says de Guzman.
”Working with the White House has been good for us,” he says. ”When Gautam was first appointed to be the LGBT liaison, we were really excited. We just thought it was really important, not just with the White House, but that one of our own literally represents us.”
Beyond the White House, there is a full agenda for the alliance’s four-day conference, with most events happening at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, host hotel for the conference. Registration rates range from $75 to $250. To register, or for more information, visit nqapia.org.