FUSION members thrive in Los Angeles

During Valentine’s Day weekend, the Human Rights Campaign made history with their first ever “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas, Nev. and Linfield sent four students from Fusion to attend.

The conference’s goal was to educate its patrons on how to help protect and support the LGBT community.

“Too many LGBTQ youth face significant challenges to being supported and empowered in their communities, schools and even homes because of who they are. I’m grateful Time to THRIVE is bringing people together to raise awareness and find solutions to ensure every young person can be empowered, for their future, and ours,” said Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Hilary and Bill Clinton, who spoke during the conference.

Linfield students were able to listen to keynote speakers and attend workshops to further their awareness and cultural competency.

“We brought back a ton of information,” sophomore Connie Mathews, Fusion co-president, said. “We got more aware of some issues in the community and we got tons of resources, a lot of information, a lot of contacts that we can utilize so that we can help make the Linfield community more inclusive and safer for the LGBT community.”

The conference, with its 600 attendees, has been the focus on several news stories, most of which focusing on actress Ellen Page, who publicly came out at the conference during her key note speech.

The conference featured several other speakers.

“They had a lot of different speakers. They had Constance McMillen who protested at her high school because she couldn’t take her date to prom… There were just a lot of cool people that came out to inspire us and since it was such a low-key conference, we actually got to talk to some of them one on one,” Matthews said.

Fusion itself was inspired by the conference to further its mission in making the campus safe and accepting.

“We had a pretty strong last semester. This year the leadership is focusing on doing things that we haven’t done before,” Mathews said. “I know that some people have reported that campus isn’t the most inclusive and isn’t the most safe place, so with the gender neutral bathrooms that we’re having on campus, we have learned how to approach gender neutral bathroom and pretty much establish that it is an option and learned where we can go from there in terms of making campus more gender neutral.”

Fusion is currently working very hard towards Sexuality Week, which will take place April 7-11, which includes Day of Silence.

Paige Jurgensen / Columnist

Paige Jurgensen can be reached at Linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

(From left) Juniors Caitlyn Hertel and Ariana Lipkind, director of multicultural programs Jason Rodriguez, freshman Robin Seiler-Garman and sophomore Connie Mathews represent FUSION at the Time to Thrive conference in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of Jason Rodriguez