Tuesday was a big, full day. Chad Griffin, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, came to Omaha his second day on the job. Among other events and meetings, he met with the leadership team of the Heartland Clergy for Inclusion, here at First Central. Then he met with leaders from our Equal Omaha coalition and Lincoln's Outlinc as we recapped recently victories and collaborated for the future. Finally, there was a big public celebration and q&a session at the Slowdon, emceed by yours truly.
Here are some pictures, followed by what I thought about Chad.
I was very impressed by Chad. He grew up in Arkansas and has spent much of his career working on local and state campaigns -- quite successfully, I might add. He's a year younger than me and makes me feel like I haven't accomplished much.
He has a great grasp of faith issues, is motivated by the need to help struggling gay teens now, and knows that we can only win if we can talk to those who disagree with us. When he spoke about teens at the big public event, the room dropped into complete silence for the only time that night.
Asked many times to address complaints people have had with the HRC, he said he could not speak for the past, but could only speak for how he would lead the organization. For example, the trans community will not be compromised. I specifically liked his response to questions about how to partner with local organizations instead of using them or taking over. He said that state and local work is what he's done throughout his career, and he knows it is successful when coalitions and partnerships are built. That's how he plans to lead the HRC.
Welcome to Chad. He'll be a great leader for the LGBT community.