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(c) by Mary Griggs
Last night I attended the Town Hall conversation with the New Orleans Human Relations Commission. As part of the ‘One New Orleans’ program, they have made a commitment to speak to all the diverse communities that make up this wonderful city so that there voices are heard during the rebuilding efforts. Eight of the members of the Commission were there plus two members of Mayor Nagin’s staff.

As the only lesbian (and one of two women) there, I was struck by the sameness of the group. Gays and lesbians come from all ethnic groups and yet, there was only one African American and no Asians or Latinos. There were no young people and no transgendered persons.

Publicizing the meeting seemed to be exclusively from an ad in Ambush, a Gulf wide bar publication geared primarily to the happening young gay males. I don’t live la vida loca and the paper doesn’t speak to/for me. Unfortunately, it is the only gay centric publication in the city.

As Pridefest was this past Saturday, I was amazed that an effort wasn’t made to at least put a flyer on the table by the entrance or send an announcement through the various list serves. I was lucky to get the information from a email from a volunteer at the Community Center. How many other members of our community would have attended had they but known?

This brings me to my point, if the main diversity arm of the Mayor’s office can’t find us for a meeting, how do we expect the new arrivals, the questioning, and the visitors to find us? We must do a better job of communicating across the various interest groups to make sure that pertinent information is disseminated.

The Community Coalition of Greater New Orleans LGBTQ Business’ and Organizations is one such vehicle. One of the big projects we are working on is a community directory of business’ and organizations that are owned or served our community. Please visit the website (www.tccgno.org) or come to our next meeting on Thursday, July 19 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center (www.lgccno.net ) The address of the Center is 2114 Decatur Street, between Frenchman and Elysian Fields. Networking starts at 6:30 and the meeting at 7pm.

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