Metro Weekly

Creating Change to be held virtually as omicron COVID case numbers rise

More information on the virtual conference's scheduled programming will be issued in the coming weeks.

A panel discussion from Creating Change 2018 – Photo by Randy Shulman.

Creating Change, the annual conference that brings together LGBTQ activists, advocates and influencers from all over the globe to discuss and share organizing strategies, has pivoted to holding a virtual event.

The 34th annual conference, which was slated to be held at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans from Jan. 12-16, will now be held virtually, due to the increasing number of infections attributed to the omicron variant of COVID-19, which is generally less severe, health-wise, for those who have been vaccinated, but is much more contagious and can still be spread by vaccinated individuals.

“While disappointing, we must put the health and wellness of our attendees, volunteers, staff and other conference supporters first and have decided to move forward with a virtual only conference,” Kierra Johnson, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement.

“Despite the strict protocols we instituted, given the surge of the Omicron variant cases, we feel the safest and most responsible decision is to gather virtually as we did in January 2021,” Johnson continued.

“We know that Creating Change is a unique and empowering experience for our community and everyone who attends brings so much love and passion to the conference but our responsibility first and foremost is caring for each other.”

The theme for the conference had originally been intended to be “Reunite and Reignite,” a reference to the fact that people would be meeting and congregating in person after Creating Change was held virtually in 2021.

Speakers that had been scheduled to appear at the conference included: Beverly Little Thunder, a two-spirit great-grandmother and enrolled citizen of the Standing Rock Band of Lakota, who is active in racial and social justice issues; ALOK, a nonbinary mixed-media artist, poet, writer and advocate for LGBTQ equality and gender inclusivity; Amy Walter, a political analyst and the editor of the Cook Political Report, who was supposed to speak about voter engagement and what’s at stake during the 2022 midterm elections; and Sandra Valls, a comic, actor, singer, and writer who was to serve as the emcee of the conference.

“We will announce what programming will look like for Creating Change 2022 and beyond as soon as possible,” Danny Linden, the conference director of Creating Change, said in a statement.

“We are grateful to all of the attendees, participants and sponsors for their understanding as we transition to a virtual experience and the opportunity to bring Creating Change to an even larger audience.”

For more information on the National LGBTQ Task Force, or for updates on Creating Change, visit www.thetaskforce.org.

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