Believe Out Loud has announced the appointment of Joseph Ward as its Campaign Director. Gwen Ashby, who has been serving as Interim Director, will join Mr. Ward as Associate Director.
Joseph Ward is the former Director of Communications for Intersections International and has worked as a grassroots organizer and communications specialist for political campaigns including work on the field teams of Senator Tom Udall and former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2010, Mr. Ward was named a 21st Century Fellow, of the Pipeline Project, along with twenty people of color managers representing the nation’s leading LGBT human rights, services and advocacy organizations. His opinion pieces have been featured nationally with mentions in the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The Advocate. He is also a regular contributor to The New Civil Rights Movement and The Huffington Post.
Gwen Ashby has worked for Believe Out Loud since 2009. The former Assistant Coordinator for the United Church of Christ’s God is Stillspeaking campaign, Ms. Ashby has more than 20 years experience in non-profit development and management. She has raised more than $22 million for 13 organizations and has helped design successful collaborative models for after-school programming, school-based health care, job training and grassroots organizing.
Launched in 2009, Believe Out Loud is a partnership of the country’s leading LGBT advocacy groups, both religious and secular, which works to expand the number of individual Christians and churches that identify as LGBT inclusive and mobilize LGBT-inclusive Christians to advocate for equality.
Believe Out Loud currently includes some 35,000 direct constituents, in addition to thousands more represented through partnerships with:
- Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Religion and Faith Program
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- Progressive Christians Uniting
- The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
- Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance - Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Integrity USA – The Episcopal Church
- Lutherans Concerned/North America – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- More Light Presbyterians – Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- Coalition for LGBT Concerns – United Church of Christ
- Reconciling Ministries Network – United Methodist Church
- Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble – United Church of Canada
- Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests - Church of the Brethren Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada
- Room for All – Reformed Church in America
- Welcoming Community Network – Community of Christ
In May 2011, Believe Out Loud made headlines when its video advertisement depicting Christian welcome for a lesbian-led family was rejected by Sojourners’ magazine, a leading publication in progressive Christian circles. The ad’s rejection sparked a significant grassroots response, including more than 100 news and blog reports, and a petition on Change.org.
Believe Out Loud is managed by Intersections International, a New York-based organization that promotes justice, reconciliation and peace across religions, borders, races, ideologies and other boundaries that divide humanity. Founded in 2007, Intersections is a multi-faith, multi-cultural initiative of the Collegiate Church of New York; it’s programming promotes pluralism in emerging democracies, eradicates ignorance regarding Islam, nurtures global peacemakers, dismantles systemic discrimination against the LGBT community and initiates conversation among diverse individuals and groups. Intersections maintains special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and works closely with the UN’s Department of Public Information, Committee of Religious Non-Government Organizations (RNGO) and Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
Image Believe Out Loud