St. Louis, in so many ways, is a microcosm of today’s America. From racial tension and a broken justice system to the horrific murders of transgender individuals, LGBTQ leaders in St. Louis have, time and time again, stood up and with other communities to make their voices heard.
On September 30, Victory Institute and PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ equality, joined together to train 23 talented LGBTQ Missourians at the St. Louis LGBTQ Leadership Summit – Victory Institute’s third summit in a “low-equality” state this year.
LGBTQ Leadership Summits are designed to give LGBTQ activists, advocates and leaders as many tools and skills as possible to enter public service or run for office as an openly LGBTQ individual. Additionally, leadership summits serve as places for local LGBTQ leaders to share best practices, organize, strategize and prepare for the future.
Throughout the St. Louis LGBTQ Leadership Summit, participants were given helpful advice from several openly LGBTQ leaders, including former Missouri State Representatives Jeanette Mott Oxford and Mike Colona, St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, Dr. Christopher Lewis, Rev. Mike Angell and PROMO’s Elizabeth Fuchs.
However, it might have been an LGBTQ ally who provided the most insightful comment of the day. Responding to a question about how LGBTQ people elevate their voices when so many people are struggling to make sense of growing inequality and hatred, Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks, Jr. said: “We do it with love. Everyone has a superpower, and it is love. Everybody has the power to use it. Love is what it is going to take.”
If love is the superpower we should use more frequently, then political representation – as the means to achieving equality – is the power LGBTQ people must fight for as well.