Advancing LGBT Civil Rights

National Politics Panel

Tuesday, July 26, 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
National Museum of American Jewish History

Dell Auditorium
101 South Independence Mall East
(5th and Market Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19106


Sponsored by Mel Heifetz

Richard Socarides (Moderator)
Democratic Strategist and Commentator

Richard Socarides is an attorney and longtime gay rights advocate. He is also a writer for The New Yorker and a commentator on CNN. From 1993 to 1999, he served in the Clinton administration in variety of positions, including White House special assistant to the president and senior adviser for public liaison, during which he was President Clinton's principal adviser on LGBT civil rights issues. In 2011 Socarides became the founding president of Equality Matters, a campaign to secure full LGBT rights. Since 2013, he has served as Head of Public Policy at GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), the leading global professional learning platform.

Gregory Angelo (Panelist)
Log Cabin Republicans

Gregory Angelo is the president of Log Cabin Republicans. Previously, he served as the chairman of Log Cabin Republicans of New York State, where he led the organization as part of New Yorkers United for Marriage, a coalition that collaborated to make marriage equality legal through legislative vote for the first time in a Republican-controlled legislature. Angelo is also the executive director of the Liberty Education Forum, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates a message of gay acceptance among conservatives and people of faith throughout the United States. He was an alternate delegate for Newt Gingrich in the 2012 election cycle and has been featured in numerous media outlets, including “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNBC, ABC News, NPR, NBC and C-SPAN.

Mira Patel (Panelist)
Former Obama Administration Senior Advisor
U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of State

Mira Patel was appointed to the Obama administration in 2009, where she served as a special advisor on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. She was a principal architect of policies on LGBT, women’s and international human rights and launched multimillion dollar public-private partnerships, including the Global Equality Fund and the Women in Public Service Project. She is focused on furthering economic development and advancing human rights through technology, entrepreneurship and innovative public-private partnerships.

Jared Polis (Panelist)
U.S. Representative

Jared Polis was first elected to represent Colorado's 2nd congressional district in 2008. He serves on the Committee on Rules, the Committee on Education and Workforce, and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Polis believes that education is the single most meaningful investment in America’s economic future. He focuses his efforts on accountability, expanding successful educational models, and improving persistently failing schools with data-driven models to reduce achievement gaps. Polis also works across the aisle to reform immigration policies, advance civil rights and equality for all, and protect the environment. 

Gautam Raghavan (Panelist)
Vice President of Public Policy
Gill Foundation

Gautam Raghavan drives efforts of the Gill Foundation to ensure equal opportunity for all LGBT Americans. From 2011 to 2014, he served as President Obama’s liaison to the LGBT community and to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. As LGBT liaison, he directed outreach around major policy developments, including marriage equality and the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, along with an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers by federal contractors, the rollout of a presidential memorandum on international LGBT human rights, and other antidiscrimination actions. Previously, he served as deputy White House liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. He also served as a committee director for the 2008 Obama campaign and in prominent positions for the Democratic National Committee.

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