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2008 Climate for Freedom Award winner recommendation

TO: Concord Carlisle Human Rights Council Executive Board FROM: Judging Committee: Bridget Saltonstall, Chair; Court Booth; Adelaide Walton SUBJECT:2008 Climate for Freedom Award winner recommendation DATE: October 20, 2008

The committee reviewed four nominations: Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) Gaining Ground Concord Chapter of P-FLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) 2 Volunteer

The judging committee recommends the Concord Chapter of P-FLAG for the 2008 Climate for Freedom Award.

P-FLAG’s mission is to provide opportunities for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity. Since 1990, the Concord chapter’s commitment has been to promote a ‘climate for freedom’ in our towns by

  1. Advocating, to protect the rights of a group that is discriminated against in society, institutionally, and personally

  2. Educating for understanding and promoting acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, among a wide range of groups through numerous initiatives of active outreach. In the last 2 years, to give recent examples, this chapter has either initiated or participated in:

  3. The Laramie Project at First Parish in Concord, March 2007; a performance based on the death of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming

  4. The Concord Project, May 2007 – a panel discussion on safety for LGBTQ people, especially students

  5. Marching in Gay Pride parades in Boston, June 2007 and 2008

  6. Information tables at Picnic in the Park, July 2007 and 2008

  7. The Safe Schools and Communities Project – ongoing

  8. Monthly support and information meetings-ongoing

  9. Attending student orientations at local colleges and universities

  10. Attending high school health fairs

This education and consequent understanding has strengthened the feeling of acceptance in the community for many LGBTQ residents and their families. One member of P-FLAG wrote: “Underlying many human rights offenses/violations/transgressions is the notion of fear: fear of “the other” based on an assumption of “wrongness” because the other person or group is perceived or imagined to be different in a dangerous way. P-FLAG, through its advocacy and support, actively works to counteract fear and discourage discrimination. The members of this group may be different from their children or friends, but they want their children, and all children, treated with dignity and respect and accorded the same human rights as everyone else.”

It is the committee’s sense that Concord’s P-FLAG’s family voice and grassroots network has contributed significantly to strengthening our communities, serving as a resource and support for LGBTQ residents and their families, as well as a group advocating for the fundamental rights of all individuals to be treated with dignity and respect.

[NB: Using the Award criteria as a guide, the committee found that three of the four contenders were worthy of the Award. However, as much as we felt it an exciting and beneficial organization, we are not convinced that 2 Volunteer meets any of this Award’s criteria.]

Respectfully submitted,

Bridget Saltonstall

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