Help John Aronno of Alaska Commons go to Netroots Nation

I was delighted to learn that John had applied for the scholarship for Netroots Nation 2011; & I’m even more delighted to support his candidacy — both as a progressive blogger per se, and as a tremendous ally to LGBT Alaskans. Please vote for him!

Help John Aronno go to Netroots Nation!

Click through to help John go to Netroots Nation!

Netroots Nation is an annual conference dedicated to providing progressive activists and candidates for office a forum to strengthen the online community and grow the progressive movement. This year’s conferences will be held June 16–19 in Minneapolis.

John Aronno of Alaska Commons wants to go; and to that end he’s applied for one of the scholarships offered by Democracy for America and America’s Voice to help him get there.  To get it, he needs your help! — just follow the link the the Democracy for America website, sign up (if you don’t already have an account), & vote!

I was asked on my Facebook wall why there were no LGBT candidates from Alaska for the Netroots scholarship.  Here’s why: because none of us applied for it.  In fact, I ran into Shannyn Moore at the Bear Tooth a few weeks ago and she suggested that I apply, but since I’m trying to steer myself toward my writing — which feeds my spirit in a way that political blogging does not — I didn’t actually want to go to Netroots Nation.  But even if I had applied, why, it’s always possible to send two people, not just one.  If I’m not mistaken, Netroots scholarships were awarded last year to both Shannyn Moore & to Jeanne Devon of The Mudflats.  (Here’s Jeanne’s report on Netroots 2010.)

Three bloggers all in a row

Three bloggers all in a row: John, Heather, and me at the Anchorage Assembly on tha night the Anchorage equal rights ordinance (AO-64) passed, 11 Aug 2009. (AO-64 was vetoed a few days later by Mayor Dan Sullivan.)

In any case, I was delighted to learn that John had applied for the scholarship; & I’m even more delighted to support his candidacy for a scholarship — both as a progressive blogger per se, and as a tremendous ally to LGBT Alaskans.  I first met John in the trenches of the fight for the Anchorage equal rights ordinance, AO 64, in 2009, along with his then fiancee, now wife Heather.  We all three of us sat side-by-side at most of those horrendous public testimony sessions in the Anchorage Assembly, all three of us blogging about it. It’s safe to say that John and Heather kept kept me sane throughout that Summer of Hate.

Masingka Dancers & Singers

John and Heather, with Diane Benson, join in dancing with the Masignka Yup'ik dance group at the True Diversity Dinner in Anchorage, 25 Sep 2009.

It was also John and Heather who did more than anyone to put together the True Diversity dinner in September 2009 as an alternative to Mayor Dan Sullivan’s hypocrisy-in-action “Unity Dinner” in the aftermath of Sullivan’s veto of the ordinance.  The event was a tremendous success, drawing a large cross-section of the Alaska progressive community in support of diversity and LGBT equality — including several Assembly members, candidates for statewide offices, and Senator Mark Begich.

Since then John has gone on to take a vigorous role in progressive politics in Anchorage as both an activist and a commentator on radio and other local media and blogs.  He was recipient of the 2010 Alaska Press Association’s Suzan Nightengale Award for Best Columnist in a small paper for his work with University of Alaska Anchorage’s The Northern Light, is a former radio talk show host of Studio 1080 on Alaska’s Voice: KUDO 1080 AM (before it got bought out by Fox); a guest host on the Shannyn Moore Show on KOAN 1020 AM; and is a contributor to the Anchorage Press, the Alaska Dispatch (be sure to read his commentary on anti-LGBT bigotry there), and Alaska’s LGBT blog Bent Alaska.  On Alaska Commons, he and Heather are currently keeping Anchorage voters informed on the candidates and issues facing us when we go to the polls in the Municipality of Anchorage elections next month.  They testified before the University of Alaska Board of Regents to add sexual orientation to the university’s nondiscrimination policy, and continue to write about issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans Alaskans, including the Anchorage LGBT Discrimination Survey, California’s Prop 8, the Alaska Hate Crimes bill (SB 11), and the homophobic rantings of Anchorage Baptist Temple preacher Jerry Prevo.

I am so pleased to have John as my friend and ally, & I feel privileged to support John for this scholarship. I hope you will too.

(I’m also really complimented that John’s Netroots scholarship application lists my blog Henkimaa as one of the two blogs — the other being The Mudflats — that he uses the most.)

John Aronno of Alaska Commons

John at the Anchorage PrideFest 2010 picnic, 26 Jun 2010.

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