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A Bright Future for One Iowa
Submitted by matty on Wed, 2012-02-15 13:00
A message from Interim Executive Director Calla Rongerude
Yesterday, we read the heartfelt goodbye message from One Iowa Executive Director Troy Price, who is leaving the organization to work as Political Director for the Obama for America’s Iowa campaign. As a colleague and a friend, this news was bittersweet. All of us at One Iowa will miss Troy’s leadership, his political instinct, his unwavering commitment to equality, and his hard work. We know that he will do a fantastic job and he will continue to be an advocate for equality in his new capacity.
In 2010, my wife was recruited to work in Iowa. When she asked me if I was open to moving our family from San Francisco, my first instinct was yes because Iowa respects equality.
For years, I worked on marriage equality in California—from the ecstatic day when we won the freedom to marry to the heartbreaking day when a marriage ban passed on the ballot. In the wake of this loss, I read the incredible news when the Iowa Supreme Court handed down the Varnum decision. Iowa changed the course of our movement. Because of that decision, we now live in Iowa and are deeply grateful for the life we now have here.
When I began working with One Iowa, my role was to draft and implement a multi-year public education plan with the goal of moving public opinion and support for marriage equality in the state. Over the past year and a half, our staff has worked tirelessly and just last month we launched Why Marriage Matters Iowa that will transform the conversation about marriage.
Since 2009, politics has dominated the conversation about the freedom to marry. As we wade through news coverage about campaigns and caucuses, the very essence of this issue and has been forgotten—people. Marriage says you’re family like nothing else does. Marriage is about love and commitment. Marriage is about being there for each other in good times and bad, to celebrate joy and mourn loss.
Why Marriage Matters Iowa facilitates conversations about marriage in a way that we all can understand--conversations about how we share the human experience of bonding with the person we love and create a life with each other. We know that by equipping our supporters with the tools they need to have personal and heartfelt conversations, we can reach more Iowans and change more hearts and minds.
Prior to coming to Iowa, I worked as Director of Communications for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where I oversaw the communications and public education strategies for California’s historic marriage equality case, contributed to the No on Proposition 8 campaign, and the subsequent legal challenge to Proposition 8. My experience in building coalitions, creating public education campaigns, and ties to national partners have contributed to the new direction that we are taking here at One Iowa as our public education work takes priority for the organization.
And the One Iowa Board has already begun a search for our next Executive Director who will have the vision and skills necessary to lead One Iowa into a bright future. During this time of transition, however, we will not waver in our focus. One Iowa’s committed staff continues to work hard every day to protect equality. I am proud to lead this team of passionate and committed staff.
But, as always, we cannot do this without your help. We know that there will be future battles. Bob Vander Plaats continues to attack LGBT Iowans and legislators still have plenty of time to introduce harmful bills. Just today he made headlines for targeting the most vulnerable members of our community, youth, who endure bullying and taunts simply because they are gay or are perceived to be gay. Our work is more critical than ever, especially as we head into a contentious election. I make this promise to you: One Iowa will continue to fight as hard as it can to protect the rights of ALL Iowans.
So, as I begin this new role, I need your help. Please donate today to ensure that One Iowa does not miss a beat over the coming weeks and months.
Without the active engagement of our supporters, we would not be able to protect equality. Without your commitment to protecting equality and fighting for ALL Iowa families, One Iowa simply would not exist.
We have a new direction and a bright future and today I look toward that future with optimism and confidence. We look forward to continuing to build public support for marriage equality in Iowa and the Heartland. We look forward to protecting our crucial gains. And I look forward to working with all of you to make this happen.