One of the things I like to do any time I’m making a road trip in the South is to scroll through the radio dial to see what local stations I pick up. I like finding out what kind of music is popular in certain areas, and if I’m in a rural area, that usually means about as many country stations as I would expect (a lot) and more hip-hop and R&B stations than I would expect.
But more interesting to me is picking up broadcasts of random religious right stations that I wouldn’t typically get in Atlanta. Such was the case last weekend on my way down to Orlando for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s (NLGJA) 2017 LGBT Media Journalists Convening when I picked up American Family Radio, the official radio station (that I did not know existed) of the American Family Association, the longtime anti-LGBT hate group.
To my surprise, this would be one day the AFA and I were on the same page, because the topic was the American Health Care Act and the various hosts and callers were all strongly against it. I was against it for different reasons of course, but it was an eerie feeling nonetheless.
But there was still enough bigoted venom being thrown in there in one form or another, so after an hour or so of that, I flipped through the dial and was cleansed by the soothing sound of Audie Cornish’s voice on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
President Trump and the Republicans would bail on the healthcare bill the following day of course, something I found out about during one of the many worthwhile panel discussions at the NLGJA event.
On a lunch break during Saturday’s session, I ended up sitting next to Matt Foreman, senior program director of the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund – the primary funders behind the event. Foreman is in charge of the Fund’s support for LGBT rights, one of three causes the Fund supports along with immigration rights and education equity.
I was curious what drove the Haas family to support LGBT rights. Was a son or other family member gay? It turns out that wasn’t the reason. Walter Haas, who died in 1995, was best known as president and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., which is based in San Francisco. Haas and his family had a front row seat to the devastation caused by HIV/AIDS starting in the 1980s and they were moved to take action in support of the LGBT community in response. And that support continues to this day with events like the Journalists Convening.
I have numerous takeaways from the event, most of which would bore you to tears because they’re about the journalism process, but hopefully you’ll notice some new things in our coverage coming up soon that are directly a result of the Journalists Convening.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a 20-page pull-out section for our annual Wedding Issue for you. Take in the tips and trends and enjoy!