Carey: “when faced with choices, we should move towards our core value of inclusion and opportunities for constructive dialogue”
Chicago, Il, Jan. 19, 2016 — “Having taken in a range of information and seeing what has happened over the last couple of days, I have decided to reverse our decision to cancel the ‘Beyond the Bridge’ reception hosted by A Wider Bridge with guest speakers from the Jerusalem Open House. It is our belief that when faced with choices, we should move towards our core value of inclusion and opportunities for constructive dialogue and canceling the reception was a mistake. Our decision was made by staff; neither our board members nor the local Host Committee were involved. We are aware that our original decision made it appear we were taking sides in a complex and long-standing conflict, which was not the intention, and that in cancelling the reception we deeply offended many people, and our reversal will offend others. In reversing the decision today, we want to make it quite clear that the Creating Change Conference will always be a safe space for inclusion and dialogue for people with often widely different views. It was not at all our intention to censor representatives of the Jerusalem Open House or A Wider Bridge at Creating Change and I apologize that our actions left people feeling silenced.
“What has made our Creating Change Conference so transformative over the years is that it is a place where all attendees are and should feel welcome, have space to be themselves, have an opportunity to freely share their views and perspectives, and to learn from others. In fact, it wouldn’t be Creating Change without disagreement, but we hope for a movement in which we can show how we can come together to discuss difficult issues. We know that many people at Creating Change share our belief in the self-determination of all people. Towards that end, we will also be creating a facilitated session for dialogue around these issues and welcome people who want to have a constructive conversation and learn more about other perspectives.
“I have been concerned about the intense escalation that has occurred over the last couple of days and the threats towards people who hold a range of views. Enough. We are a community of people coming together at Creating Change and no one should be threatened for their opinions no matter how much you disagree. We call upon anyone who may be organizing protests to take place during Creating Change — related to these or any other issues — to be peaceful.
“While we clearly make mistakes, and will make others I’m sure in the future, we also have a strong record of being a leader in advancing freedom, justice, equality and equity for all LGBTQ people. We call upon all conference attendees and members of the wider Task Force family to join us in moving forward,” Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force