On Saturday, April 22, Victory Institute, in partnership with Equality Texas, held its second LGBTQ leadership summit of the year in Houston, where 30 LGBTQ Texans participated in an all-day training held at the Montrose Center. Houston Leadership Summit sessions were designed to give participants first-hand knowledge and essential tools to seek public office as well as opportunities to network with LGBTQ elected officials and leaders.
Several of Texas’ out elected officials were in attendance, including State Rep. Celia Israel, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Judge Steven Kirkland, and Houston City Council Members Mike Laster and Robert Gallegos. They shared their personal stories and political expertise with participants. They also offered guidance on how someone who identifies as LGBTQ might navigate all aspects of public life.
Additionally, participants were treated to a panel of community leaders who are all working to make Houston a more inclusive place for LGBTQ people. The panelists included Melanie Pang, Co-Chair, Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and Data and Program Evaluation Manager for The Salvation Army of Greater Houston; Tammi Wallace, Co-Founder/Co-Chair, Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Founder and Principal Consultant for EnFocus Strategies; Jessica Zyrie, Community Outreach Specialist, Bee Busy Wellness Center; and Mike Webb, Legislative and District Aide to State Senator Sylvia Garcia and Director of Leadership Development for Delta Phi Upsilon’s Southern Region. Moderating the panel was Fran Watson, President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
Throughout 2017, Victory Institute is committed to training LGBTQ leaders in states with low levels of equality with the goal of building and strengthening LGBTQ political capacity in those communities. After all, representation is power, and true progress for LGBTQ people – too often than not – depends on the people elected to sit at key decision-making tables.