Let's Not Waste this Moment
I am not sure about you, but every time I turn on the news or scroll through a news feed, all I see is tragedy and injustice. School shootings. American cities being bombed with the targets being affluent African-Americans. Hate crimes against transgender people increasing over the last year. Gun rights activists sending children death threats for speaking their truths. An unarmed, young Black man killed by the police in his grandparent's backyard. All horrific. All want to make you want to put your head in the sand and hope the horror passes.
I, however, see hope. I see a new generation of activists, taking to the streets and demanding to be heard. I see the hope in the hundreds of thousands of young people who marched this past weekend for gun control reform. I see hope in the Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento in the name of the fallen Stephon Clark. I mostly see it in the youth of The Pride Network who are working to make their communities a better place. The events of the last year and a half have galvanized a generation to fight for the disenfranchised. So, let's not waste this moment. More than ever, the youth of The Pride Network need our support and guidance so that they can go out into the world and give it some much needed healing.
One way you can support is by participating in our Upside Down Triangle Project. For a $50 donation, you will receive a triangle pin and a hand written thank you card from myself. All proceeds will go directly to our youth social justice programming. The triangle is symbol of LGBTQ resilience. The Nazis made homosexuals wear pink triangles to categorize them with a scarlet letter of sorts. Decades later, the LGBTQ community reclaimed the triangle and made it a symbol of pride and a call to action.
Help The Pride Network keep the momentum of these young people going. You can support our Upside Down Triangle project by going Here.
We will be seeing you on the front lines of change!
Next NNJ Speak Summit Anounced
Just Announced: The Pride Network's next Speak Summit will be held at Rutgers Newark. A free, day-long social justice conference for youth where young people will be able to meet other LGBTQ Students from the tri-state, participate in amazing, innovative workshops, and meet gnarly professionals who are also changing the world. This a FREE event. Breakfast and lunch will be served. You can RSVP here:http://www.thepridenetwork.org/spring_2018_speak_summit. The theme for this Speak Summit is simply "The Power of Youth."
Brooklyn Donor Cultivation Event
Just announced: The Pride Network will be hosting a Donor Cultivation event in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. We are hoping to create stronger community support in NYC. If you are interested in empowering and uplifting LGBTQ youth, please join us. You can rsvp here:http://www.thepridenetwork.org/house_party_for_a_purpose.
The Pride Network thanks Sean Jackson for so generously allowing the use of his home for the event.
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Pride Network Family
My name is Steven Gordon. I am the Executive Director of The Pride Network. To briefly tell you a little bit about myself, I am a 36 year-old gay man who grew up in a small town in central New Jersey. Growing up, my dream was to move to New York City and make a living helping people. That dream came true. For the last 18 years, I have lived in New York City and made a career of working with non-profits that serve homeless individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ youth. Interacting with youth regularly, as I have for most of my career, you cannot help but to look back at your own adolescence and see how far society has progressed. I grew up in the age of Matthew Shepard, Columbine, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and Rodney King. I remember growing up a half African-American half Mexican boy feeling like I had no guidance when it came to my queerness. You hope things are better for generation that follows you.
Fast forward 20 years, I am not sure I can say we have truly progressed. Reported hate crimes have gone up in the last year, especially for transgender women of color. There have been 25 fatal school shootings since Columbine happened in 1999. While we have marriage equality, LGBTQ person's civil rights are being threatened by our current US Justice Department. Persons of color, especially Black men, are victims of police brutality exponentially more than Caucasian-Americans.
What remains the same in our divided country is the resilience and persistence of youth. Every major movement in America, from civil rights to Act-Up to Black Lives Matter to the current gun control debate, has been lead by the power of youth.
The mission of The Pride Network is empower and guide the next generation of LGBTQ leadership. Just because this generation is leading major social justice fights, does not mean they do not need the wisdom of LGBTQ people that came before them. I ask you to think back to your younger selves. How much easier and reassuring it might have been for you to know there was a safe, community of LGBTQ people who were there to provide support and offer direction. This is what The Pride Network strives to do. We cannot do it without your support. Please consider donating; your younger self would want you to.