Last Sunday I had the pleasure of joining Mel Heifetz, Brian Sims, Anthony Lombardo, Chris Bartlett, Sherrie Cohen, Kathy Padilla and other Philadelphians attending the Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington DC. It was a well-attended event with individuals coming in from across the country.
But what is the Victory Fund you may be asking and who cares about some brunch?
The Victory Fund, or simply known now as Victory, “works to elect LGBT leaders to public office for one simple reason. They change America’s politics.”
I’ve followed Victory for many years now and can attest to the great work they do at training out candidates and their staffs, both Democrats and Republicans, and everything in between, to win an election.
According to the Victory mission statement, they believe that, “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender office holders are our clearest and most convincing champions for true equality. As leaders in government, they become the face and voice of a community. They challenge the lies of extremists and speak authentically about themselves, their families and their community.”
How true this statement is! We require a seat and voice at the table, especially in our legislative offices. Locally, state-wide, and nationally, it is vital to the advancement of equality that out elected officials continue to be elected.
According to Victory, it was created in May 1991, “by advocates who believed democracy works best for LGBT Americans when our community is reflected in the political leadership at all levels of government. Our founders set out to grow the number of openly LGBT elected officials by engaging donors to support the campaigns of out candidates.”
In 1991 there were “just 49 openly LGBT elected officials served in the U.S. Today, the vision of Victory’s founders is being realized in remarkable ways. More than 500 out elected officials serve at all levels of government.”
This year there are over 200 out candidates running for office nationwide. Victory matters.
That’s why I’ve already registered for Victory’s LGBT Leaders 2014 International Leadership Conference, Dec. 4-7, in Washington, DC, where I will gather with hundreds of “openly LGBT leaders in government, politics, advocacy, business and community organizations” for the purpose of “training, skills building, networking and discussion of key issues facing out leaders and their communities.”
It wasn’t just a brunch, it was an opportunity to become inspired by the excitement in the room and the growing victories across the nation. The dedication of individuals and groups from our youth, our next generation, to this generation, victory is ours, but only if we are in the race in the first place.