The last few decades have seen enormous changes in the movement for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. But while the movement has grown and achieved important victories in the years since the Stonewall riots in 1969, the leaders of LGBT organizations have remained overwhelmingly white.
“The plain truth is that our movement’s leadership has not reflected the real diversity of our community, and that has limited both our reach and effectiveness as a force for justice and equality,” said Matt Foreman, director of gay and immigrant rights programs at the Haas. Jr. Fund.
Reflecting the Movement’s Diversity
Seeking to bring more diversity to the leadership of the movement, the Haas, Jr. Fund joined with the Arcus Foundation and the Gill Foundation in supporting a new initiative designed to provide intensive leadership support to people of color managers at LGBT organizations.
The movement’s leadership has not reflected the real diversity of our community, and that has limited both our reach and effectiveness as a force for justice and equalityMatt Foreman
The 21st Century Fellows Program, launched in 2009, enrolled 22 individuals in a year-long program of leadership retreats, skills training and peer learning opportunities. The program Fellows were matched with experienced consultants who helped them designed individual leadership development plans. Among the goals of the program were: to support and retain those managers who have committed themselves to a career in the movement, and to provide them with the assistance they need to further develop their leadership abilities.
The 21st Century Fellows Program is managed by the Pipeline Project. “We are incredibly excited about this program,” said Clarence Patton, the Pipeline Project’s executive director. “This program both acknowledges the excellence and accomplishments of the Fellows, as well as the commitment of their organizations and the program’s funders to honoring that excellence and furthering those accomplishments.”