GALA has been a proponent of Advocacy Day in Austin since GALA's inception. In the early years that meant raising local awareness about the event and facilitating carpools from North Texas to Austin. In 2013 and 2015, GALA expanded that effort by chartering buses to bring even more advocates from North Texas to Austin to share their stories with their elected officials.
Last November, the 2017 effort was launched with the goal of mobilizing the largest group of North Texans ever to attend Lobby Day. GALA board member Bob Shimmin took the lead and reached out to leaders of the region's LGBTQ organizations to make this a reality. The result was a unified effort that included the Cathedral of Hope, Coalition for Aging LGBT, Stonewall Democrats, ACLU Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Transgender Education Network of Texas, LULAC 4871, Resource Center, Lambda Legal, DFW Human Rights Campaign, and Equality Texas.
On Monday, March 20, at 7 AM, five chartered buses departed from Plano and Dallas carrying over 200 passionate advocates for equality. Some participants have been involved in LGBT advocacy for years and many, many others were embarking on their first journey to tell their personal stories about why equality is so important to them.
This video was captured by videographer George Leonard who traveled with GALA and documented the 2017 Advocacy Day event. It shows the essence of GALA's mission -- bringing together people to advocate and educate in their local communities. GALA will continue to work in North Texas to raise up and give voice to LGBTQ advocates with the hope that our vision of a truly equal community will be realized.