Guest blogger Rick Zbur:
Rick Zbur is the Executive Director for Equality California
A few days ago I was invited to Comcast California’s regional offices in Livermore for the launch of OUT, their newest LGBTQ Employee Resource Group in California. I was pleasantly surprised with a $35,000 donation from the Comcast Foundation that will serve to continue to empower LGBTQ youth in our state.
The Equality California-Comcast Fellowship is a leadership development program in which six exceptional LGBTQ or ally college students are placed in the offices of California legislators or other government officials. Fellows gain first-hand experience working with legislators, government officials and their staff, and develop key leadership skills. Their presence increases LGBTQ visibility in the Capitol and gives government officials direct interaction with members of the LGBTQ community.
It is more important now than ever to make sure we have adequately prepared the next generation of LGBTQ leadership. Our partnership with the Comcast Foundation helps address the traditional under representation of LGBTQ people in government and helps advance equality by familiarizing people in the California Capitol with LGBTQ people and the challenges we face.
Meet the 2017 class of Equality California-Comcast Fellows
Severiano Christian, from Ukiah, is a senior double-majoring in comparative religion and multicultural and gender studies at California State University, Chico. Seve is the campus transgender program coordinator for CSU Chico Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center and was a representative for Transform California, the statewide campaign co-led by Equality California and Transgender Law Center to increase awareness of the transgender community.
Jacob Fraker, from Sonora, is a senior majoring in social work at San Jose State University. Jacob was appointed as a liaison to the National Association of Social workers and has planned and implemented anti-bullying programs for the Center for Non-Violent Community.
Daniel Gonzalez, from Fresno, is a senior majoring in sociology at California State University, Fresno. Daniel is a board member of the Fresno State LGBTQ Student Advisory Board, where he facilitates events for the campus LGBTQ community.
William Muetzenberg, from Tracy, is a senior majoring in political science at UCLA. He recently completed an internship with Equality California, where he helped coordinate communications campaigns and conducted interest group endorsement research.
Emily Paciulla, from Davis, is a senior majoring in management at Georgetown University. She is the President and a founding member of the McDonough Alliance, the first LGBTQ business group at Georgetown. She also hosts a two-hour, weekly program on Georgetown’s WGTB radio and has worked with middle school students on strategies to curb the spread of HIV in their communities.
Christina Parker, from Yucca Valley, is a senior majoring in Arabic language, culture and literature at California State University, San Bernardino. She is chair of the San Bernardino Chapter of California Youth Connection, where she empowers youth to use legislation, policy, and advocacy to transform the foster care system, and has met with state assembly members, senators and their staff to advocate for bills affecting foster youth.
This is an example of how corporations can help create a better, fair and more equal America for everyone. Together we’ll make California a shining example, a beacon of hope for the rest of the country, embracing the values of diversity, inclusion and love.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBTQ communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBTQ Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBTQ people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org