4Ward Americas LGBTQI Human Rights and Business Symposium

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4Ward Americas LGBTQI Human Rights and Business Symposium

Feb 14 - 15, 2020
eb 14, 2020, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM & Feb 15, 2020 9:30 AM - 6:30 PM

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By: Ian Maloney | Jan 6, 2020

The Miami Beach Convention Center will host the 4Ward Americas LGBTQI Human Rights and Business Symposium on President’s Weekend, February 14-15, 2020. New topics abound as the organization builds off of the success of their first symposium, which accompanies the Gay8 festival in Little Havana the same weekend.

In 2019, the Symposium was focused on hearing from LGBTQ leaders from neighboring countries about the issues that they are working to improve, as well as sharing their successes, with the local community in Miami.  The goal was to find common ground on what issues are similar to the ones faced in Miami, and to identify best practices that have proven successful in different parts of our hemisphere.

For the 2020 installation, an amazing team of volunteers is donating their time, resources and expertise to produce the varied tracks of the symposium. There are six tracks: Financial Perspectives and Lifestyle, led by Damian Pardo, Gay8 founder and financial advisor at Morgan Stanley; Business and Trade, led by Steve Adkins, CEO of the Miami –Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; Health, led by community healthcare advocate, Paul Thomas; Spirituality, led by author and spiritual teacher, Christian de la Huerta; and Human Rights and Civic Resiliency, led by Lynare Robbins, International Affairs Consultant. 

Some of the topics addressed within these tracks are: Accountability and Building Trust with Corporate Engagement on the Rights of the LGBTQI Community, The LGBTQI Tourism Landscape: Pink Power and Marketing, Global health in LGBTQI communities, and Global policies regarding legal gender recognition.

According to Lynare Robbins, one of the original volunteers for Gay8 weekend who is also a GMCVB LGBTQ Tourism Advisory Committee member and organizer of the event, “The Symposium is meant to have a collaborative energy because in coming together and having conversations, people are able to reach a level of understanding with a broader picture in mind. In that sense, ‘4Ward Americas’ is a fitting title, both because it is a program of the non-profit organization, 4Ward Miami, and also because we are ‘thinking forward’ as an informed hemisphere as we move further into the 21st century. “

Various organizations are already confirmed to present throughout the weekend. The United Nations Association- Miami Chapter will be presenting their commitment to educating the community about the United Nations Sustainable Development #5, which is focused on gender equality and advocacy to eliminate violence and discrimination. Kyle Knight, Senior Researcher of the LGBTQ Rights Program at Human Rights Watch will be presenting the status on global policies regarding legal gender recognition. A meteorologist from Telemundo will join a Climate Change panel and some of the business related topics feature speakers such as Fabrice Houdart, incoming Manager of Out Leadership and their Global Initiative program. Houdart will discuss accountability and achieving greater corporate engagement in LGBTQ communities. The YES Institute will be conducting a workshop on Business, Hospitality and Tourism for LGBTQ Communities. 

According to Robbins, “There are a few other new elements for the Symposium that have been shaped by the nature of the New Year that we are in. As 2020 is an important year for representation and having each voice counted, a non-partisan ‘Get Out the Vote in LGBTQI Communities’ drive will be conducted by the League of Women Voters of Miami Dade County on both days of the Symposium. Also, the National LGBTQ Task Force will conduct a U.S. Census information session.  We also felt that it is important to address hate and racism during the symposium, so we have partnered with the South Florida People of Color who will be presenting a conversation on race, followed by an ‘Awkward Coffee Session.’"  (An Awkward Coffee Session is a mini version of the South Florida People of Color's "Awkward Dinner" series, where people from all races and ethnicities have an organized dinner together and discuss race.)

The Symposium will bring attention to confronting hate and will have a mini field trip planned during the Symposium where attendees will go to the Holocaust Memorial across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center.  Attendees will view the 1998 documentary The Sculpture of Love and Anguish, staring Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and the sculpture by Kenneth Treister, which recounts the story of six million Jewish people who were murdered during the Holocaust. The film and tour of the Memorial will shine a light on how despair and hope collide through the symbolism of the sculptures. The Symposium is a platform to support "Never Again," and fight against all forms of hate that drive inhumane and unjust actions committed in our communities. 

Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to take a deeper dive into the issues that are facing the LGBTQI community and to take part in important discussions which will help shape our community as we move into a new decade. For more information or to sign up for the event, visit 4WardMiami.org.

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