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‘Moving Forward with Inclusion’ event aims to bring community together

Centre LGBTQA Support Network members held an emergency meeting after Donald Trump was elected president.

They had concerns about what policies might come or change with the new administration, said Tamar London, the group’s vice president.

So the group decided to organize an open forum aimed at bringing together all kinds of groups that have concerns or represent vulnerable populations such as religious minorities and immigrants, she said.

“We’re very proud to be living here in what feels like a very caring, supportive environment so we wanted to build on that,” London said.

“Moving Forward with Inclusion: A Community Forum” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at Foxdale Village in State College.

The event will begin with a question-and-answer session with a panel of Centre County leaders addressing ways organizations can protect vulnerable communities.

More than a dozen panelists will be present — among them are Commissioner Michael Pipe; Andrew Shubin, civil rights attorney; Kathleen Stehouwer, assistant director of the Centre County Women’s Resource Center; Michelle Saylor, Bellefonte Area School District superintendent; and Tom King, State College borough assistant manager and former police chief.

Then attendees will break up into small-action committees, an idea that piggybacks off of something that some members from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County were already doing, said Teresa Welch, recorder for Centre LGBTQA Support Network.

“This isn’t just a ‘we’re unhappy with the result of the election,’ kind of venting thing. This is specifically focused on policies that can be very harmful to people,” London said.

For example, one group will focus on the selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — who has argued the debate on climate change is “far from settled” and sued the EPA — to run the Environmental Protection Agency, she said. Another will look at protecting policies like the Affordable Care Act.

Part of what happened after the election was an “amazing empowerment of hate crimes and hate period,” Welch said.

These small-action committees are an opportunity to counter that hate, Welch said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

If you go

What: “Moving Forward with Inclusion: A Community Forum”

When: 7-9 p.m. Monday

Where: Foxdale Village Auditorium, 500 E. Marylyn Ave., State College

Info: www.centrelgbtqa.org

▪ Send questions to info@centrelgbtqa.org with the subject line “MFWI Question.”

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