CLGS Collaborates with US Government to End Anti-LGBTQ Violence

March 1, 2013

GTU Doctoral student Justin Tanis brought together representatives from The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and CLGS to offer a day of education and skill-building for religious leaders, theologians, seminarians, and other people of faith to meet with a variety of experts from the DOJ and local law enforcement agencies to find ways to address and put an end to anti-LGBTQ violence. On Saturday, February 9, 2013 Beyond Bashing: A Faith Response to End Anti-LGBTQ Violence took place on the PSR campus. This event was co-sponsored by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), Community Relations Service of the US Department of Justice, and New Spirit Community Church (NSCC), Berkeley.

At the beginning of the conference, attendees were welcomed by Rev. Jim Mitulski (NSCC) and Bernie Schlager, CLGS Executive Director and Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies.  A poem was read by local Oakland poet Marvin White followed by an overview of the day from Justin Tanis.

Melinda Haag, US Attorney, and Carol Russo, Senior Conciliation Specialist, Community Relations Service at the DOJ helped to define the problem of violence with statistics from a DOJ report on anti-LGBTQ violence. This was followed by a panel discussion with Rev. Mitulski, Rev. Kamal Hassan, Pastor, Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church, Richmond; Rev. Lynice Pinkard, United Church of Christ; and Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, Temple Beth Shalom.

Lieutenant Teresa Gracie, San Francisco Police Department, and Reverend Ruffus Robbins, Oakland Police Department, talked about what members of faith communities could do to respond to anti-LGBTQ violence.   Participants then went into break-out sessions to focus on faith-inspired strategies to end violence. .  These groups then reassembled and reported out the larger group.

The afternoon ended with a reception in the Badè Museum followed by The First Annual Bayard Rustin Concert featuring Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir. This annual concert celebrates the life of Bayard Rustin, organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States.