Posts tagged with "LGBTQIA"

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Marsha's House in the Bronx for 360 MAGAZINE.

Marsha’s House: Shelter for LGBTQ+

In Greenwich Village near where Stonewall Inn resides, a monument will be built to honor the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, trailblazers and history-makers for the LGBTQ+ community. Marsha P. Johnson was a black transgender woman and drag queen, whose outspoken activism and radical vision during the Gay Liberation Movement continues to inspire people today.

A monument isn’t the only place bearing her memory. Marsha’s House- operated by the nonprofit Project Renewal- opened on February 15, 2017 to continue to serve the community as Marsha did, by taking in homeless LGBTQ+ young adults. With the added risks and discrimination that they face, Marsha’s House seeks to provide valuable resources and shelter to these LGBTQ+ youth.

According to a report done by the National Institutes of Health, around 62% of homeless LGBTQ+ youth have faced discrimination from their families. Jazmine Pérez, Program Director of Marsha’s House, stressed the importance of having a “safe space dedicated to [LGBTQ+ homeless youth]” as “New York City had never had housing tailored to their needs.”

These youth face particular adversities that are further complicated when alternative housing options do not have the facilities to aid them, or are outright discriminatory towards them. A study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows that 41% of homeless and runaway LGBTQ+ adolescents they interviewed have major depression, in comparison to 28% of homeless heterosexual adolescents interviewed.

 Marsha’s House boasts a variety of programs catered towards some of the issues that LGBTQ+ individuals face. Pérez outlines services which include “referrals to legal supportive services, education, healthcare, and employment programs.”

Additionally, clients that come to Marsha’s House are assured personalized living arrangements that assist each individual in finding employment and housing. “Our Case Managers and Peer Counselors meet with clients to ensure compliance with their individual living plan. They work closely with our Job Developer, Vocational Counselor, and Housing Coordinator to secure employment and housing.”

Concerns over Covid-19 pandemic are ever prevalent in the context of shared living facilities, like homeless shelters. However, Marsha’s House eases some of this concern by screening potential clients for the virus, enforcing social distancing, and cutting down accommodation from 81 beds to 60 in its 5-floor-walk-up facility. The facility maintains 20 rooms of various sizes, from single rooms to larger rooms that accommodate up to 6 people.

But Covid-19 hasn’t been the only adversity Marsha’s House has faced in recent years. The Trump administration has continued to be a source of disparaging policies and remarks against the LGBTQ+ community. On July 23, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development formally announced a proposal that would reverse the 2012 Equal Access Rule, which warrants protection for homeless transgender people against discrimination by homeless shelters and other federally funded alternative housing. 

This comes as a setback and large blow to the transgender community. A 2015 survey done by The National Center for Transgender Equality shows that “70% of respondents who stayed in a shelter in the past year reported some form of mistreatment, including being harassed, sexually or physically assaulted, or kicked out because of being transgender.” The HUD’s rollback on the Equal Access Rule would only serve to undo the progress that has been made to make homeless shelters more safe to the marginalized people that need them.

    “The rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration have disregarded the very identities of our clients and staff, especially when it comes to the intersectionality of our existence,” said Pérez. “Speaking personally, as a woman of color with trans experience, I feel like I have three strikes against me in the eyes of this administration.”

Despite these incredible challenges they face, Marsha’s House continues to receive equally incredible help- from the support coming from their progressive state of New York, to the generous donors that help fund Project Renewal, to the operations staff that help run things every single day. “Our Marsha’s House Heroes are our operations staff. As essential workers, they have not skipped a beat with reporting to work and providing the support our clients needed. Being that we are a shelter, we operate 24/7/365, and our operations staff members are always here for their full 8-hour shifts.”

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

banging gavel illustration

Landmark Supreme Court Rulings

By Eamonn Burke

A series of historic and liberal rulings have been passed in the Supreme Court within the last few weeks, the latest being an abortion decision, the first under Trump as President.

The Louisiana law dictating that doctors must have certain privileges at local hospitals in order to perform an abortion was ruled out by the Court on Monday by a 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts tipping the scales to the Democrats. It comes as somewhat of a surprise as many expected Trump’s court, including two of his appointees, to remain restrictive against abortion. The decision comes following multiple occasions of criticism towards Justice Roberts from Republicans in cases concerning the national census and the Affordable Care Act. One such Republican, Senator Ted Cruz, reacted with a scathing remark that the Justice “sided with abortion extremists who care more about providing abortion-on-demand than protecting women’s health.” Progressives simply chalked it up to committing to precedent. It is most definitely not a certain signal that Justice Roberts would uphold Roe v. Wade. The law, if passed, would have limited the state of Louisiana to just one abortion clinic.

The decision also comes on the heels of two other landmark cases in favor of liberals, one being a civil rights law pronouncing job discrimination against lgbtqia+ people illegal, and the other being to protect the young immigrant DREAMERS by upholding DACA.

ICYMI Historical Win + Upcoming Events

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status, a major victory for advocates of gay rights and for the nascent transgender rights movement — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court. By a vote of 6-3, the court said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.

Construction Services Showcase LAGLCC Supports ACA 5 One Billion in Contract Dollars Lost Annually by Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color Due to Prop. 209 ACA 5 will allow Californian voters to remove an outdated and antiquated law that restricts local and state leaders from minimizing inequality, and promoting economic fairness. This measure seeks to prevent continued discrimination against women and people of color by allowing gender, racial and ethnic diversity to be considered as one of many factors in public employment, public contracting, and public education. California is one of only eight states to have an anti-equal opportunity ban. ACA 5 has passed the State Assembly and is currently headed to the Senate. Add your name to the list of endorsers at Opportunity4All.org Join our Slack Community Information on new economic relief, events and other resources is fast-moving. Join our Slack channel message board to get information in real-time. You will also be able to join interest-specific channels to ask questions and share resources with other LAGLCC members. You may have been unable to sign up for our slack due to an expired link in a previous email but you can navigate directly to our slack at laglcc.slack.com EID Loans & Advance Program Re-Opened To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 APPLY NOW Individual, Institutional, and Structural Racism: Policing Join our partners at Culver City Chamber of Commerce, Culver City Ad Hoc Equity Subcommittee, and Culver City City Council Members Lee and Sahli-Wells, for an ongoing series of teach-ins and conversations around individual, institutional, and structural racism.

The series aims to meet the urgency of the moment by listening to community voices and recognizing how racism shows up in interpersonal interactions, institutions, and cultural, historic, and ideologicalstructures. Together we will talk about, seek to understand, and address the root causes of the racial inequities we see today. Each conversation will focus on how racism shows up in healthcare, education, employment, policing, housing, and other systems. The first conversation focuses on policing and will take place on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 5PM. June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, holds incredible significance by commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. We will begin our discussion with recognition of this special day.

Upcoming Virtual Committee Meetings & Networking Events

June 16 – Young Entrepreneurs Committee (Register)

June 17 – LAGLCC Virtual Luncheon (Register)

June 25 – Construction Suppliers Showcase Event (Register)

June 30 – Virtual HH for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs of Color (Register)

July 2 – Online LAGLCC Networking Mixer (Register)

July 7 – How to Drive Sales through Corporate Storytelling (Register)

July 8 – How B Corps are Creating Shared Prosperity (Register)

July 17 – Ask a QuickBooks Online Proadvisors (Register) Historical Victory!

Pride Month Promotions

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets announced today that it is offering month-long promotions in honor of Pride Month. Additionally, the world-class shopping destination will host a Block Party on Saturday, June 22, 2019, as a way to show support for LGBTQIA+ rights, culture and communities.

All month long, Woodbury Common is offering all shoppers a complimentary Pride Pass, which includes special retailer savings exclusively for Pride Month. Participating retailers include: Barney’s New York Warehouse, Columbia Factory Store, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Frette, J.Crew Factory, La Perla, MaxMara, Molton Brown, Theory, Theory Men, Tommy Hilfiger and Vince. Visitors are encouraged to stop by Guest Services in Market Hall through June 30 to pick up their passes.

The I LOVE NY heart at the Hudson Valley/Catskills Welcome Center will be colored rainbow for the month, and pride accessories will be available on a first come, first served basis at Guest Services. Additionally, the Hudson Valley’s only Shake Shack location at Woodbury Common has updated its menu to include a Pride Shake available throughout the month of June.

On Saturday, June 22, the Outlets will host a Block Party which includes property-wide retailer activations, a Pride tattoo tent, a DJ, giveaways and the Woodbury Common Treat Trike. Shoppers will also gain access to exclusive in-store specials such as ‘Happy Hour’ at Sugarfina with samplings of the retailer’s favorite alcohol-infused sweet treats, food demonstrations at Le Cruset, and gifts with purchase at Theory Men and BCBG.

Swag bags filled with retailer goodies and Woodbury Common-branded items such as water bottles and sunscreen will also be available along with the Pride Pass on June 22.

“Woodbury Common welcomes more than 13 million visitors annually – from all over the world and every walk of life,” said David Mistretta, General Manager at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. “We want to show our support for members of the LGTBQIA community and offer them an unforgettable experience when they visit our center. Throughout the month of June, shoppers will be able to take advantage of retailer discounts in addition to our everyday savings of up to 65 percent. Plus, our block party will provide festivities for members of our local community to engage in and show their support for this important initiative.”

This year marks the first WorldPride celebration in the U.S. honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Throughout the month, New York City will welcome visitors and residents alike for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

WorldPride is a statewide celebration, with events taking place from Pride on the Beach on Long Island to a special exhibit at the State Capitol in Albany featuring the AIDS quilt, to Pride at the Falls at Niagara Falls with a free concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic, fireworks and the falls lit rainbow. In the Hudson Valley, there will be additional commemorative WorldPride events such as Picnic with the Roosevelts: A Human Rights Celebration in Hyde Park, and NY Pride at the Vineyard at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.  

Visitors are encouraged to sign up for the VIP Shopper Club to receive the latest updates and exclusive offers from the most sought-after retailers. Membership is free. To learn more, visit premiumoutlets.com/vip. 

About Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

Conveniently accessed from New York City via the New York State Thruway at Exit 16, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets features 250 stores including Tory Burch, Celine, Nike, Bottega Veneta, Michael Kors, Burberry, Coach, The North Face and more, all at a savings of up to 65 percent every day. Market Hall offers a variety of dining opportunities including Chipotle, Pret A Manger, Pinkberry and more. To learn more, visit  premiumoutlets.com/outlet/woodbury-common.

About Simon

Simon is a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE: SPG). Our properties across North America, Europe and Asia provide community gathering places for millions of people every day and generate billions in annual sales. For more information, visit simon.com.

About Simon Premium Outlets®

The global Simon Premium Outlets portfolio offers exceptional brands at extraordinary savings through a diverse mix of luxury, designer and homeware retailers. Our Simon Premium Outlets in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico and South Korea are some of the most iconic and productive shopping destinations for residents and travelers including Woodbury Common (New York City), Orlando Premium Outlets, Desert Hills (Palm Springs), Las Vegas Premium Outlets and Wrentham Village Premium Outlets (Boston). For more information visit premiumoutlets.com or follow Premium Outlets on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.