LGBT organizations leverage Stonewall anniversary in outreach

NEW YORK: LGBT organizations are building awareness of LGBT history through events and outreach surrounding the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on June 27, as well as leveraging the anniversary to promote their own efforts.

NEW YORK: LGBT organizations are building awareness of LGBT history through events and outreach surrounding the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on June 27, as well as leveraging the anniversary to promote their own efforts.

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is hosting a 40th reunion with members of the Gay Liberation Front, an organization founded after the riots. The event, on June 25 at the LGBT Community Center in New York, is about "presenting that history to younger LGBT people so they can take inspiration from it," said Tom Weber, the director of community services department for SAGE.

Videos from the event will be posted on SAGE's Web site and the Center's Web site. Renna Communications served as a media consultant for the group.

Renna Communications also works with the Ali Forney Center, which works to provide housing for homeless LGBT Youth. The Center hosted an event on June 13, bringing two men who were part of the riots to participate in a panel along with clients of the Center's transitional housing program. The PR strategy was to create more awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth, said Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center.

"We invited a bunch of media outlets, like NPR and people affiliated with gay TV channel HereTV," he added.

Earlier this year, NYC & Co., the city's marketing, tourism, and partnership organization, launched its Rainbow Pilgrimage campaign to encourage LGBT travel to New York.

"While we hope the Stonewall anniversary will be the focal point of the campaign, we are looking for other ways to keep the momentum going," said Christopher Heywood, VP of travel and tourism PR for NYC & Co.  The organization has travel deals, a calendar of events, and a Pride Survival Guide on its Web site and also uses Twitter to promote LGBT events.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) is focusing on media relations and "pulled together an online resource in order to provide journalists who are covering the story," said Rashad Robinson, senior director of media programs for GLAAD.

GLAAD, which does not work with an external PR firm, is also using its own blog, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook to continue the discussion on LGBT issues. And it is working to pitch Spanish-language media to make its outreach even more inclusive.

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