Affirmation Vice President Tina Richerson Reports on Her Trip to Utah
by Tina Richerson
This last weekend of Affirmation leadership meetings, combined with the General Conference, was packed full of goodness and surprises. Friday was a day of meetings. I am so moved by the passion and commitment that each person on the board of directors and leadership team display. It has been only eight short weeks since our first leadership training meeting in D.C. The amount of work that has gone forth from individuals and groups is blinding! I am moved by everyone’s level of involvement and love for the vision that is driving Affirmation to become a great and stable organization.
Friday night’s social was a complete success! There were about 225 people in attendance. It made my heart smile when hotel employees showed up to put out more chairs to accommodate all of us. Greg Prince gave an inspiring and insightful talk on David O McKay, then and now. My other favorite moment was watching Michael McClean sign copies of his song books owned by my friend Carl.
I had never been to General Conference before. How grateful I am to have had the company of my sisters and brothers in Affirmation to share this beautiful moment in my life. I must say, as a musician, hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir live was my favorite part. It was also really cool just to be in the Conference center and see with my own eyes the Prophet and the apostles. I also loved that my first session in the conference center was also the first session in which a woman offered a prayer.
After conference, we met up with a few members of North Star for a get-to-know-you lunch. Then a few of us headed up to the University of Utah to check out the space for our annual conference coming up in September. It’s going to be really cool and I hope *you* are able to attend. (Yes, you, the reader.) I was then dropped off at Sugar House Park, where I met up with Berta Marquez (Mormons Building Bridges, Safe & Sound) and members of SWIRL (a Utah group for lesbians) for a picnic, football, and music in the sun. Then we were off to the Ordain Women event at the University of Utah. After hearing the speakers on the panel, my eyes opened in a whole new way! I realized just how much of a follower I have been my whole life. Fighting for what I believe, within my church community, is vital, and change does not happen unless we ask for it.
I feel that I am now seeing both sides of the coin. God willing, change will happen in the direction of equality for all of us who are not straight, white, and male.