When we lost our space on Decatur from damage due to Hurricane Isaac, we took this as a sign- a time to take inventory.
We paused for a moment of reflection on the Center, we took the time to examine the role we play in our community and listen to our constituents’ needs. Listening may not seem proactive but if you want to build a community center- truly by and for a community, listening is the most important thing you can do.
Through community meetings, surveys, and coalition building, we determined the greatest needs existing in our community and how we could shape our organization to fulfill those.
These reflection led to our new Mission and Vision:
- Mission:Our mission is to combat homophobia, transphobia, racism and misogyny by supporting community-driven projects and organizations in the greater New Orleans area.
- Vision: The Center will create a greater New Orleans area where gender and sexual minorities are equitable and empowered.
We want to provide the things we can- information, referrals, advocacy, and communication. In fact, our online community resource directory will be launching in January providing accessible information about LGBT and allied doctors, lawyers, and other services in our area.
Moving forward, we will focus especially on issues of economic and racial injustice, which we know disproportionately affect the LGBT community. In New Orleans, the income gap is severe, and LGBT people feel the effects through un- or underemployment- and we know that economic instability is a risk factor for HIV and suicide, which already ravage our community.
Most importantly, we want to balance the trend of creating top-down programming with community-driven projects. We will support individuals in our community to pursue their own visions for LGBT equality- offering the tools for one person to create the veterans’ support program and another an LGBT youth book club. Nothing will move this community forward faster than enabling the individuals within it to realize their own power and their own ability to organize and make change.
Thank you for your support as we forge our new way forward.