Eyes on the Prize
The history of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, like the LGBT community, is rooted in activism. In 1969 a group of volunteer activists in Los Angeles began working together to provide services to LGBT people in need. The organization they formed eventually became today’s Center, which provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world.
In the wake of last November’s election, the Center evaluated how its policy and advocacy work–to build a world where LGBT people can thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society–should adapt to protect our clients and the LGBT community. That process began the day after the election when the Center hosted a community gathering for those who were scared and upset.
With just a few hours of notice, more than 300 people filled The Village at Ed Gould Plaza courtyard to commiserate with each other and hear from Rep. Adam Schiff, a hero for LGBT equality, and Center CEO Lorri L. Jean.
“We must keep our eyes on the prize of the kind of world we want for ourselves and for those who are coming next,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Now, more than ever, progressive and
fair-minded people of all parties must stand tall, strong, and together to fight for our values and the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society.”
Days after the election, the Center reached out to leaders of dozens of other progressive organizations in Los Angeles to form even stronger collaborations with each other. The first in-person meeting of the group was hosted at the Center’s Renberg Theatre. Representatives from more than 50 organizations attended.
“So much is happening in Washington that is either a potential or real threat to our community,” said Center Director of Policy and Community Building Dave Garcia. “Our team is working every day to analyze those threats and mobilize effective responses, in conjunction with our community partners, to help protect LGBT people.”
The Trump administration’s early days have been marked by a rollout of an ultra-conservative, anti-equality agenda. From the anti-Muslim travel bans that make it more difficult or impossible for LGBT people in the Middle East to get asylum in the U.S. to policies that harm transgender students and deport LGBT immigrants, the administration is targeting the most vulnerable members of our community.
“We’ve always put the health and well-being of our community first, no matter the change in political winds,” said Jean. “Under the new administration, funding for many of our health and social services—and others like them around the country—are at risk, as are the people who depend on them. More than that, our basic civil rights and equality may be at stake. We need people to stay informed, and we need people ready to respond.”
SHARE YOUR STORY
We want to hear how you’re helping to build a world where LGBT people can thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society. Share your activist story now at lalgbtcenter.org/mystory.