by Aeryca Steinbauer
It’s been a year since Causa launched our Uniting Communities initiative! In this newsletter we bring you an update on our work to integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality into the core work of Causa. While we have always worked as an ally with LGBT organizations, in this past year we included the struggle for LGBT equality as a core part of our organizational values.
Our understanding of and commitment to LGBT issues has grown in many ways.
We educated ourselves on the issues that LGBT Latin@s face, and forged relationships with LGBT Latin@ groups such as SOMOS, whose leaders helped organize our most recent Equality Assembly in Portland. Causa’s own LGBT Latin@s group has expanded to meeting every Monday in Salem, currently the only group to organize LGBT Latin@s in the mid-valley.
We increased the broader Latin@ community’s understanding of LGBT issues by bringing queer DREAM Activist Yahaira Carrillo to speak at Immigrant Action Day and including Causa’s LGBT Latin@s group in the May Day program. We launched a new series of leadership classes and community Equality Assemblies that include LGBT issues. In partnership with Basic Rights Oregon, we launched a Spanish-language radio advertising campaign that addressed the importance of family acceptance and marriage equality.
Throughout this year we’ve been asked many times why we’re doing this work. We work for LGBT equality because it’s a part of our organizational values of dignity and respect for all. We work for LGBT equality so we can better serve all members of the Latin@ community, especially since LGBT Latin@s are disproportionately affected by issues such as immigration reform, driver’s license access, and health equity.
Finally, we support LGBT equality because it is strategic. We simply can’t move forward a pro-immigrant agenda in this political climate alone. We must build alliances around common values with many sectors, including the LGBT community. Alliance building already made us stronger in our ability to mobilize, raise funds, and develop leadership in our base. Alliance building will be crucial in achieving driver’s license restoration, tuition equity, immigration reform, and justice for ALL Latin@ families, including LGBT families.
We were honored to accept a 2011 Equality Champion award at Basic Rights Oregon’s annual dinner, and we recognize the many ways our alliance has made us stronger, from joint fundraising to strategizing on legislative and electoral campaigns to mobilizing our bases in support of each other’s issues.
To recognize Causa’s year of working for LGBT equality more intentionally and publicly, we are throwing a Coming Out Party! Join us on December 8th to celebrate and support this work. Causa’s Coming Out Party will take place from 6:00-8:00 pm at theSlate (2001 NW 19th Ave #104 Portland, OR). Learn more about the event and purchase tickets for $15 online by linking here or contact Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 737-7014.