MEDIA ALERT -- August 18, 2005
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jamie Rich (816) 931-0738 -- email@example.com
Spiritual Progressives & Gay Activists
Gather for National Training Summit in the Heartland
(Kansas City, MO) Author, activist and scholar Paul
Loeb, editor of the progressive guidebook, THE IMPOSSIBLE
WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE, will be the featured presenter
at the Fairness Project Summit to be held in Kansas
City on October 21-23, 2005. The focus of this year's
summit is "Strengthening the Bond: Progressive
Values, Gay Rights and the Faith Community." The
three-day summit brings together gay and straight activists,
allies, students, ministers, lay leaders, and committed
progressives from all walks of life grappling with the
issues of fairness, equality and religious bigotry.
The Fairness Project Summit is being convened by Dr.
Robert N. Minor, Professor of Religious Studies at the
University of Kansas. "Religious conservatives
have used gay rights to divide and alienate secular
and religious progressives," says Dr. Minor. "As
I travel the country working with social justice groups
and ecumenical organizations, people keep telling me
how shell-shocked and hopeless they feel. The triple
punch of the 2004 elections, the gay marriage amendment
battles, and the rising tide of religious bigotry overtaking
politics and public discourse, have left many bluer
in all senses of the word."
Dr. Minor sees the 2005 Fairness Project Summit as
an important step in taking back religious and political
discourse: "Now more than ever, people in the heart
of America need to know how to speak from our values,"
says Dr. Minor. "We need to understand that the
right-wing is not compromising, and to stop apologizing
or expecting them to do so."
There are four primary events in the 2005 Fairness
Project Summit: a public lecture with Paul Loeb on Friday,
October 21st; a full-day training conference followed
by a documentary film showcase on Saturday, October
22nd; and, an ecumenical workshop service and brunch
on Sunday, October 23rd.
Seattle-based scholar and activist Paul Loeb will start
the three-day summit on Friday, October 21st with a
7:30pm presentation at Unity Temple on the Plaza based
on his "citizen's guide to hope in a time of fear,"
THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE. His latest
book profiles progressive heroes such as Nelson Mandela,
Maya Angelou, Marian Wright Edelman, Alice Walker, Howard
Zinn and Cornel West who, according to Loeb, "inspire
people to keep on working to create a more humane world,
no matter how difficult the journey."
"The voices I've gathered remind us history isn't
some inevitable pendulum", says Loeb. "It's
contingent on the hope that enables us to act. Change
is rarely immediate, but the process of working to achieve
it can itself be immensely rewarding. Even goals we
think might be impossible — say, bringing about
global justice — are no more so than the seemingly
unreachable ones of the past, like ending slavery or
getting women the vote. They may simply take a little
Loeb and Dr. Minor will team up with other regional
presenters for a full-day training conference on Saturday,
October 22nd at the Broadway Church. A fixture in midtown
Kansas City for more than a century, the Broadway Church
was expelled from the Southern Baptist convention for
taking a progressive stance in support of gay rights.
Minor says the training conference will offer participants
the opportunity to "remember who we are and why
we believe what we do, what unites the progressive movement,
why progressives of different faiths should work together,
why this has been so difficult until now, and what actions
we can take to promote our shared values."
In addition to Loeb and Minor, other presenters at
the Fairness Project's training conference include Lewis
Diuguiud, Kansas City Star/Knight Ridder columnist;
Executive Director Martin Rafanan and Program Director
Cherisse Jackson of the St. Louis Chapter of the National
Conference for Community and Justice; and Brenda Bobo-Fischer
and Mahrya Monson of HumanityWorks! A complete training
conference schedule with all breakout sessions and presenters
is available for download at www.fairnessproject.org
Also on Saturday, October 22nd, conference participants
and the general public will have the opportunity to
watch an original short film and documentary showcase
held in conjunction with the summit. Filmmakers whose
submitted works chronicle or inspire grassroots activism
will compete for special awards voted on by the audience.
The Fairness Project Summit will conclude on Sunday,
October 23rd with an ecumenical service on "Being
Progressive from the Pulpit" beginning at 10:00am
at the Broadway Church. Paul Smith who has guided the
Broadway Church as pastor through forty years of social
change will lead the service which will be followed
by a community brunch in the church's fellowship hall.
Everyone is welcomed.
For more information and a complete schedule of all
2005 Fairness Project Summit's events, times and directions,
visit www.fairnessproject.org or call (816) 931-0738.
Registration is available online, by mail or over the
The complete registration fee which includes single
admittance to all summit events is $89 in advance, $99
at the door.
Single summit events may be purchased separately as
Friday, October 21st - 7:30pm
Paul Loeb Public Lecture at Unity Temple on the Plaza,
707 West 47th Street
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
Saturday, October 22nd - 9:00am to 3:00pm
Fairness Project Training Conference at Broadway Church,
40th Street at Broadway
$75 in advance, $85 at the door
Saturday, October 22nd - 7:30pm
Fairness Project Videographer's Showcase at Tivoli Theater
$7 in advance, $10 at the door