Grassroots + Netroots: Winning Equality in the Digital Age

Event Date

Thursday, January 21 2010 : 6:30pm – 8:30pm


The Center


YLC Panel
The first panel discussion sponsored by the Center’s Young Leaders Council (YLC) will focus on activism in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trangender (LGBT) communities and feature panelists whose involvement spans from Stonewall to what is now referred to as the modern LGBT civil rights movement.


Jason Haas
Jeremy Heimans
Corey Johnson
Ann Northrop
Gregory Angelo
John Blasco

Kerry Eleveld



Forum Topics:

- Movement Beginnings and Departures – the founding of the LGBT civil rights movement and evolution of priorities and tactics.
- Organizing in the Digital Age – how social networking tools and digital communication changed the game in community organizing.
- Activism Beyond Borders – thinking and acting globally in the struggle for LGBT equality and justice.
- Moving Ahead, Winning Equality – how to find your voice, get active, and motivate others to do the same.

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Speaker Bios:

* KERRY ELEVELD (MODERATOR) has worked as a journalist in different media for 15 years. She cut her teeth editing business journals in South Carolina, where at the age of 26 she became editor-in-chief of a startup business journal and was later voted Business Woman of the Year for her work in launching the journal. She is currently political editor of The Advocate, editing and reporting political pieces for both the print and online editions. Since she began covering LGBT issues, Eleveld's work has won: the "Best News Article" award in 2006 from the American Veterans for Equal Rights; second place for "Coverage of Election/Politics" in the New York Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest; and first place in the "Excellence in News Writing" category in 2007 from the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association. During this election cycle, she reported from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and conducted two one-on-one interviews with Sen. Barack Obama. Eleveld regularly gives interviews about politics to mainstream outlets such as The Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Company and often appears as a commentator on shows like Logo's news network, the Michelangelo Signorile Show and GRITtv with Laura Flanders.

* GREGORY T. ANGELO is a public relations professional based in New York City specializing in not-for-profit, political and public affairs consultancy for a wide range of clients. Mr. Angelo is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Political Action Committee (PAC) of the Log Cabin Republicans of New York State and the Northeast Spokesman for the Liberty Education Forum. For the latter, he most recently coordinated grassroots new media strategy for "What Marriage Means," an online campaign designed to make the conservative case for marriage equality to constituencies throughout New York State. He attends Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan where he is a Servant Leader of the Connection Young Adult Ministry.

* JOHN BASCO graduated from Edward R. Murrow high school in New York City in 2008 where he helped to coordinate his school’s gay/straight alliance as the G-S-A's President. In 2007, he became a member of FIERCE, a youth-led organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City, where he was an active member on the Outreach Team and FIERCE's Campaign Steering Committee. He became FIERCE's staff Organizer in January of 2009, heading up FIERCE's base-building & outreach programs. John works closely with FIERCE's social networking and online organizing tactics as well as FIERCE's grassroots organizing model which he uses to build the leadership of hundreds of LGBTQ youth of color and help end all forms of oppression.

* JASON HAAS is a political consultant and advocate for progressive issues.  In 1996, his landmark case — represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) — won critical resources for LGBTQ students in the Boston Public School System.  A graduate of Hamilton College and the Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University, Jason was awarded scholarships by the Posse Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. An engaging speaker, trainer, and strategist, Jason’s ability to communicate with audiences from diverse backgrounds and build lasting coalitions has informed his work in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He has been featured on National Public Radio, on NBC’s The Today Show, and in The Advocate.  Jason’s experience in public interest work includes positions with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Third Sector New England, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), as well as volunteer leadership with Rock the Vote, AIDS Action Committee, and the LGBT Community Center of New York.  He served in the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and John Kerry, and worked as the Senior Field Organizer for Barack Obama in New York. 

* Corey Johnson
Corey Johnson is currently employed by GFI Development Company as Director of Government Relations and Community Affairs, where he has worked with the New York City Council, Mayor’s office and a variety of New York City Agencies. He has overseen the re-zoning of a large mixed-use project and managed the GFI’s efforts to revitalize neighborhoods surrounding their developments. Prior to his work at GFI, Mr. Johnson directed and shaped political and communications strategy on a variety of mayoral, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns in New York. He has served on the media-strategy team of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and worked in the finance department of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Johnson has been quoted in The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle. He has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, NPR, Sirius-XM Satellite Radio and NY 1 to offer political commentary and insight. Mr. Johnson is also the Vice-Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, where he co-chairs the Chelsea Land-Use Committee and serves on the Business, Licenses and Permits Committee. He is the Political Director for, which is the highest-trafficked gay and lesbian blog on the Web.

* JEREMY HEIMANS is the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, and works with organizations and brands like and GE/NBC to build movements that mobilize millions. Jeremy has also advised the presidential candidacy of France's Ségolène Royal and helped create, a new international effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons led by Richard Branson and Queen Noor. In 2007, Jeremy co-founded, the world’s largest online political community, with almost four million members. In 2005, he co-founded, an Australian online political movement and internationally recognized social movement phenomenon that today has more members than all of Australia's political parties combined. In 2004, he co-founded Win Bank Respect, an advocacy group in the US presidential elections that ran a highly publicized new and traditional media campaign, raising millions of dollars in small online donations. In 2006, the World e-Government Forum named Jeremy one of the "Top 10 People Who is Changing the World of the Internet and Politics." His work has been recognized in publications like The Economist and the New York Times.

* ANN NORTHROP is a veteran activist and journalist, and the current co-host of TV news program “Gay USA.? Ann’s career in journalism spans three decades with news organizations like ABC, CBS, National Journal, Ms., Ladies Home Journal, among others. Ann served as the only openly-gay delegate at the Democratic National Convention (1992), an educator at the Hetrick-Martin Institute for Lesbian and Gay Youth, and helped create a think-tank, the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies. Ann Northrop became an active demonstrator against the Vietnam War and involved with the developing feminist movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  In 1988, she joined the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in New York City, became involved in "direct action" demonstrations, and was arrested approximately two dozen times for civil disobedience.


Free, pre-registration highly recommended


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