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Change From the Ground Up

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Change From the Ground Up

In 1961, President Kennedy asked the famous question in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, leading the way for an entire generation of community activists to become personally involved in societal change. Today, our lives seem to be over saturated and over scheduled whether from work, family or even an active social life. Honestly, when we think about social activism it may be easier to just write a check instead of adding another responsibility to the list. But, in a time when so much is at stake in the advancement of full equality, some of us may want to find a way to do more.

One way to become involved is through GLAAD’s Leadership Councils. The GLAAD Leadership Council program provides individuals with a commitment, passion, and belief in the power of media to shape public opinion on LGBT issues and the opportunity to make change in their own communities. Currently, there are six councils located in Atlanta, Boston, South Florida, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Two more councils are launching in Washington DC and Chicago by January, 2010, with plans to expand further in the next three years. These councils offer locally tailored events and messages, monitor and respond to local media coverage of LGBT people, and build support for GLAAD’s work.

In Los Angeles, the Leadership Council partners with grassroots organizations in the region, like the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, to increase the reach of GLAAD’s message. Spearheading these collaborations is Los Angeles Leadership Council Chair, Rose Eustachio. Rose came to GLAAD as a volunteer in 2005, with a curiosity to learn more and to focus her efforts on improving the images of LGBT people in the media.

Since her start, Rose’s has championed GLAAD’s work within this growing demographic and has seen significant change from the world in which she grew up. “With media so pervasive, I believe telling our stories is the best way to combat negative images and eliminate stereotypes.” Rose explains, “I remember growing up, feeling that I didn’t connect to the role models that were being portrayed to me on TV. It is such a blessing that kids today can tune in to see healthy and happy images of gay and lesbian couples. It’s a start, but there is so much more to do. Personally, I like the fact that I can participate in moving things forward though GLAAD’s Leadership Council.”

While not everyone can take the time to become a GLAAD Leadership Council member like Rose, everyone has the ability to become an ambassador of the organization and its message. And so, next time you are talking to a neighbor or co-worker, or the next time you see or hear defamation in the media, you can do more and GLAAD can help.

Do you want to be part of the change in your community by giving just a few hours a month? If you would like more information about GLAAD Leadership Councils or about other ways you can get involved, please call GLAAD Senior Director, Juan Barajas at (323) 679-3032 or email him at barajas@glaad.org.