Next month, thousands of LGBTQ advocates, activists, leaders, and allies will gather in New Orleans from Wednesday, January 17 to Sunday, January 21, 2024, at the Hilton Riverside for the 36th Creating Change Conference. Run by the National LGBTQ Task Force, this is the nation’s foremost political, leadership, and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ+ movement.
Since 1988, Creating Change has created opportunities for tens of thousands of committed people to develop and hone their activist skills, build community, and inspire. Attendees will enjoy a long tradition of compelling speeches, keynote presentations, annual awards, and more than 100 workshops and caucuses. The five-day program includes hundreds of workshops and training sessions, plus tons of networking opportunities.
The 2024 Creating Change Conference highlights include Raquel Willis, an award-winning activist, author, and media strategist dedicated to Black transgender liberation, as its host. Actor, dancer, and choreographer Jason Rodriguez, who starred in the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Pose, will be presenting a workshop on the history, importance, and elements of vogueing. There will also be a special performance by Big Freedia, the larger-than-life Ambassador of New Orleans Bounce music, TV personality and cultural influencer.
Willis has held such posts as director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women; executive editor of Out magazine; and national organizer for the Transgender Law Center. She co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action with civil rights attorney Chase Strangio and currently serves as an executive producer for iHeartMedia’s Outspoken, the president of the Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative’s executive board, and is a WNBA Social Justice Council member. Willis’ memoir, The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation, was published by St. Martin’s Press.
When asked about coming to New Orleans for the conference, Willis said, “It’s an honor to join the Creating Change family. One of my first introductions to National LGBTQ+ Advocacy and Organizing was at Creating Change in college. And, of course, I’ve seen many legends and powerful peers storm the stage. I can’t wait to join the calvary for collective liberation!”
Rodriguez mentored under the legendary voguing icon Benny Ninja, ballet expert Dorit Koppel, and choreographer Kevin Wynn. Rodriguez used his skills in dance, choreography, and creative direction in his role as the Movement Coach for all three seasons of Pose and choreographed Season Two. He also guest-starred on the season finale of The Deuce on HBO and worked with rapper JT as her Movement Coach for the Kiss Colors and Care campaign.
Big Freedia is known for her infectious energy and has released three critically acclaimed EPs, 3rd Ward Bounce (2018), Louder (2020), and Big Diva Energy (2021). She was featured on Beyoncé’s Grammy Award-winning single, Break My Soul (2022). The “Queen of New Orleans Bounce” has also appeared on numerous high-profile projects, including Beyoncé’s Grammy Award-winning Formation, and Drake’s Nice For What, and brings her distinctive voice and signature catchphrases to all her work. In 2021, she covered Judas on Lady Gaga’s Born this Way The Tenth Anniversary album.
Big Freedia observes, “I wholeheartedly support the Task Force as it creates safe spaces for all of us, that are welcoming and centered in community love and creating moments of joy, especially as our communities are experiencing attacks in every state, including Louisiana.”
The Creating Change Conference was founded in 1988, one year after the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The message of the 1987 March was clear: go home and get to work. It was because of this message that the Task Force soon found itself deluged with requests for resources, advice, and assistance. In response, the Task Force started a national organizing and training conference where organizers and activists could gather and teach each other – and build a stronger movement.
Registration for Creating Change 2024 in New Orleans is now open here: https://www.thetaskforce.org/creating-change/register/#register