BRONX LGBTQ CENTER Launches Outreach Initiatives
JUNE 7, 2013, THE BRONX, NY: “The Bronx LGBTQ Center (the “Center”) has gathered you here to announce a series of outreach initiatives to combat the anti-LGBTQ sentiment that begets incidents of hate violence highlighted by recent media reports of thirteen anti-gay attacks in Manhattan since May, as well as let the community know that we are here, and we are here to stay,” Tym Moss, the Center's president, announced.
“We are working closely with the NEW YORK CITY ANTI-VIOLENCE PROJECT (AVP), SCAN NEW YORK, NYS Senator Jose M. Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., UNION COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, the BRONX PRIDE COALITION, IN THE LIFE MINISTRIES, and the NYPD, all of whom support our efforts, in developing programs to diminish the ignorance about our LGBTQ communities that results in homophobia, transphobia, and hatred,” Peter C. Frank, the Center's secretary, stated.
Also in attendance were Chanel Lopez (New York City Anti-Violence Project's Community-Based Counsel/Advocate), Minister Nakia Alford-Saunders, Cesar Sanchez (Bronx Pride Coalition representative), Kevin Kiadii (one of the victims in the recent attacks), Nick Stryker (the first of the victims in the recent attacks, whose attackers remain at-large), Cynthia Thompkins, Esq. (founder of WAVE-NYC (women against violence everywhere), president of the 46th precinct community council, activist, and community leader) and Lovari (Activist, Recording Artist, SAG/AFTRA member).
The Center announces six outreach initiatives we are working on: First, we will bring AVP's “Friday Community Safety Nights” program to The Bronx starting Friday, June 21st. Second, we will hold monthly town hall meetings, beginning in August. Third, we are partnering with SCAN-NY's GLAS program to bring their “Over the Rainbow” panels to The Bronx and some of our Town Halls.. Next is our 2013 Bronx LGBTQ Pride & Health Fair on July 20th at Crotona Park, where speak-outs and safety demonstrations will be held. Next, we are co-sponsoring self-defense workshops with NYC Council Speaker Quinn's office that will be held in The Bronx. Finally, we will be sharing information and working on other programs with our partners and sponsors.
“We welcome the input of the community to guide us. Anyone can join our Center as a member and have a voice in our operations. We also want to let our LGBTQ communities know that there is a new center—a new resource—for them,” Moss advised. “Our initiatives will become a fixture in The Bronx for as long as they are needed,” Frank added.
Borough President Diaz proclaimed, "Our LGBT community is filled with hardworking, loving individuals who work each day as teachers, doctors, business men and women to uplift our neighborhoods and help shape the minds of our children. These are individuals who are being judged and harassed by close-minded criminals simply because of how they choose to live their lives. Enough is enough. We need to put a stop to these senseless acts of violence against our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. We need to educate our communities with outreach programs like the ones being launched by the Bronx LGBTQ Center. The Bronx continues to be a partner in the fight for the human rights of our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community."
“The LGBT community consists of vibrant, talented and hardworking individuals who are our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. These individuals should be celebrated and respected like all members of our community. It is extremely unfortunate that violent hate crimes targeting the LGBT community still occur. We must continue to work together to prevent and discourage hate crimes and create a safe environment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation,” Senator Serrano stated.
“AVP will continue working to create safety in all communities across New York City. We want to bring safety to every neighborhood and we encourage everyone to join us,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director, New York City Anti-Violence Project, “We also know that people are deeply affected by this violence and AVP is here through our free, confidential, bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline: 212-714-1141.” For more information about AVP's Community Safety Nights, visit AVP's web site at http://www.avp.org/.
“Daily, LGBTQ folk confront such hatred, in every borough of our city. SCAN New York, and, its GLASS (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Supporters) participants call for all New Yorkers to stand together in support of our LGBTQ community,” noted Lew Zuchman, Executive Director, SCAN New York and Billy Green, Director, SCAN GLASS.
New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn was unable to attend but provided a statement in support of the Center's efforts and condemning the recent attacks: “I commend the Bronx LGBTQ Center for its advocacy on behalf of the people of the Bronx,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Like many New Yorkers, I am outraged and appalled by attacks against members of our community. Those who attack us may believe that they will succeed in driving our community back into the closet. What they don't know is that they are only strengthening our resolve to demand full equality and security. We will not retreat in fear. The New York City Council has announced a number of initiatives to keep New York City safe for all New Yorkers, including an anti-hate crime initiative in city schools, supporting AVP’s Friday Community Safety Nights Out, a public awareness campaign in partnership with NYC & Co., an Interfaith Weekend Against Hate, and self- defense classes for the LGBT Community. I thank President Tym Moss and everyone at the Bronx LGBTQ Center for calling attention to this important issue.”
The Center, AVP, SCAN-NY, and the NYPD LGBT Liaison's Office encourage anyone who has been the victim of or a witness to bias crime to immediately report it to the Center or local police precinct. Additionally, incidents can be reported to the Hate Crimes Task Force at 646-610-5267, the NYPD LGBT Liaison's Office at 212-614-6748. If people are uncomfortable reporting to the police, they can call the New York City Anti-Violence Project's free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1 41, where you can speak with a trained counselor and seek support. You also can report violence online, anonymously, at http://www.avp.org/get-help/report-violence.
The Bronx LGBTQ Center hopes to begin operating its helpline in the near future. A number has already been reserved for that purpose: 347-LGBT-HLP. Currently, calls to this number are sent directly to voicemail.