On September 20, GLAAD’s Southern Media Field Strategist, Yana Walton, traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to meet with journalists and present a Media Essentials training to local advocates. That week, Equality Alabama, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, hosted their 7th Annual Conference, complete with workshops, a youth social and an awards banquet that included awards to local media outlets. The banquet fundraiser was especially moving and honored lifelong social justice activist and one of the original founders of Equality Alabama, Ken Baker, who recently passed away. Terri Greene, a features writer at the Montgomery Advertiser, won an award for two beautiful pieces on the work of Ken Baker. Yana met with Terri to congratulate her, and also met with another nominee for that award, Crystal Jarvis of the Birmingham Business Journal. Yana was able to pass along copies of our GLAAD Media Reference Guide to both journalists. The highlight of the evening was a beautiful performance by the Birmingham men’s Magic City Choral Society. The Tuscaloosa News covered the event, and detailed the recipient of this year’s Vanguard Award – presented to the University of Alabama for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their non-discrimination policy. After some wonderful Southern hospitality, including a reception and dinner for award nominees and speakers, Yana presented a two hour spokesperson training to local PFLAG members, University of Alabama faculty and students, an MCC pastor and Equality Alabama members. Yana also passed along our College Media Reference Guide to the University of Alabama’s student paper, The Kaleidoscope. Two days after the training, Ed Wilson (a PFLAG dad who attended) got his wonderful letter to the editor about teen suicide prevention printed in the Birmingham News. Congratulations to Equality Alabama and Danny Upton for such a well-organized and inclusive event - one that GLAAD is always honored to be a part of.