April 2013 Queens Pride House newsletter
Dear Queens Pride House friends,
The first months of 2013 have been busy and productive ones at Queens Pride House. Like every other member of the New York State LGBT Health & Human Services Network have been dealing with the uncertainty over funding for the LGBT health initiative that funds programs for us as well as so many other Network member organizations. But members of the board and staff have been working to attempt to diversify our funding sources, and in that regard, I’m delighted to announce that Queens Pride House has received grants from two funders that have never funded us before: Public Health Solutions, which has awarded us a grant for a major new condom distribution program; and the North Star Fund, which has awarded us a grant for a new advocacy project – our first-ever funded advocacy program. These two new grants have enabled us to hire new staff and expand our capacity to serve the LGBT community of Queens. We’ve also started a new women’s support group and a new youth group and we’ve appointed a new coordinator to lead the transgender support group. And we’re organizing a number of major public forums – on the trafficking of Asian women, on the Israel/Palestine conflict, and a forum for candidates for Queens Borough President – that we hope many of you will want to attend.
Queens Pride House
QPH referral program & staff additions
We’ve hired Jonathan Acevedo as health referral assistant for the work that we continue to do through our referral program funded by the NewYork State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and administered by the AIDS Institute; through that program, we offer referrals to LGBT-supportive health care and social service providers and other professionals in Queens and the other boroughs. Jonathan first came to Queens Pride House in July 2012 as a volunteer and created flyers, logos and advertisements for the QPH support groups and mental health program. Jonathan is bilingual in English and Spanish and will be providing information about QPH support groups and free supportive counseling and referrals through the referral program, including referrals to legal and social services, health care, HIV/AIDS services, and immigration services. If you would like information or a referral, just call Jonathan at (718) 429-5309 or e-mail him at .
Carlos M. Cubas has been promoted from health educator and outreach coordinator to program coordinator; to fill the vacancy left by his promotion, we have hired Juan C. Wilches as outreach coordinator.
North Star Fund grant & PRANA Project
Queens Pride House has received a generous grant from the North Star Fund to fund an advocacy project that we’re calling the Popular Resistance & Non-Violent Action (PRANA) Project. The North Star Fund is New York City’s community foundation supporting grassroots groups leading the movement for equality, economic justice and peace and this program is our first grant-funded advocacy program. The purpose of Proyecto PRANA is to address the increasingly serious problem of police harassment of members of our community, especially LGBT people of color. We’ve hired Edgar Díaz-Machado to staff the program as outreach coordinator, and he’ll be working with Pauline Park (executive director) and Carlos M. Cubas (program coordinator) to organize and conduct a series of workshops, trainings and public forums on the issue of policing and the LGBT community.
Queens Pride House has an internship program for candidates for a master’s in social work (MSW). Social work interns at Pride House train in the mental health counseling program offering treatment to members of the LGBT community under the direction of René Vázquez del Valle, D.S.W., the director of programs and services. Interns learn both clinical and community organizing skills.
Dr. Vázquez is now actively seeking candidates for internships for academic year 2013-14 and clinical practice students who will be enrolled in the fall in the second year of an MSW program and would be interested in an internship at Pride House should contact Dr. Vázquez at RVazquez@queenspridehouse.org or (718) 429-5309 for more information; Spanish language proficiency a plus.
LGBT immigration law workshop
On Jan. 31, Laura Matthews-Jolly, esq. conducted a workshop on immigration law at Queens Pride House for community members and staff. Laura is a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at the City Bar Justice Center of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY). Following on her immigration law workshop, Laura will be available at Pride House by appointment to meet with members of the LGBT community who may have questions about immigration law. For more info. or an appointment, call QPH at (718) 429-5309.
Queens Pride House support groups & free mental health counseling
Queens Pride House has long facilitated support groups for English- and Spanish-speaking men; we now have a new women’s support group, which is coordinated by our social work interns, Julie Jimenez (Jjimenez@queenspridehouse.org) and Rosemary Esperanza (REsperanza@queenspridehouse.org). The new women’s group is meeting twice a month; for more information, e-mail Julie or Rosemary or call QPH at (718) 429-5309.
QPH has a new youth support group for youth between the ages of 14-24. The group is meeting weekly and is coordinated by our social work interns, Evangelos Karfakis (Ekarfakis@queenspridehouse.org) and Piyumi Buddhakorala (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more info., e-mail Evangelos or Piyumi or call QPH at (718) 429-5309.
The QPH transgender support group has a new coordinator, Don Dominic Gatto. The group meets twice a month and is open to everyone in the transgender community, wherever they may be on the ‘gender spectrum.’ For more info., e-mail Pauline Park at PPark@queenspridehouse.org or call QPH at (718) 429-5309.
And QPH offers free counseling through our four social work interns, under the direction of René Vázquez del Valle, DSW, QPH director of programs and services. For more info., e-mail Dr. Vázquez (RVazquez@queenspridehouse.org) or call QPH at (718) 429-5309.
Queens Chronicle op-ed re Queens Pride House & City funding
In its March 7 issue, the Queens Chronicle published an op-ed on the lack of funding Queens Pride House written by Pauline Park, president of the board of directors & acting executive director. In “State and city must fund LGBT services in Queens,” Pauline noted that Pride House is the only LGBT community center in the borough as well as the only full-service, year-round staffed LGBT-specific social service provider in Queens and provides approximately 4,800 individual client services a year, and yet currently receives no discretionary funding from the LGBT Caucus of the City Council or any individual Council Member.
“In fact, the speaker and the two openly gay members of the Queens delegation even funded the Bronx Community Pride Center (which never recovered from its executive director’s embezzlement of $339,000), while blocking funding for Queens Pride House through the LGBT Caucus when we requested it,” Pauline wrote in the op-ed, adding, “Our ability to serve the diverse but marginalized LGBT community of Queens depends on funding, and the reality is that Queens Pride House is underfunded and understaffed…”
April 25 Queens Borough President candidate forum
On April 25, Queens Pride House will hold a forum for candidates for Queens Borough President, including Sen. Tony Avella, former Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Council Member Leroy Comrie, former Council Member Melinda Katz, Sen. José Peralta and Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. Candidates will be on hand to meet and greet members of the community at 6:30 p.m. and the forum itself will run from 7-9 p.m.
May 1 forum on the human trafficking of Asian women in Queens
On May 1, Queens Pride House will host our first forum on the issue of the human trafficking of Asian women in Queens. The forum will take place from 7-9 p.m. and will feature a panel of experts from Safe Horizon and the Sex Workers’ Project of the Urban Justice Center. Please come join us for this forum on an issue of vital importance to all of our communities in Queens.
May 2 forum on Israel/Palestine
On May 2, Queens Pride House will hold its first forum on the Israel/Palestine conflict, with author and activist Sa’ed Adel Atshan, documentarian Nadia Awad, author and activist Sarah Schulman, and Pauline Park, who along with Sa’ed Adel Atshan participated in the first US LGBTQ delegation to Palestine in January 2012. The forum will take place from 7-9 p.m. and will be open to the public; all members of the LGBT community are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Pauline Park named to the Trans 100 list
On April 9, We Happy Trans and This Is How released the inaugural Trans 100 list of ‘100 amazing trans Americans you should know.’ The inaugural Trans 100 list “celebrates groundbreaking work being done by trans people across the country,” and is the branchild of Jen Richards of We Happy Trans and Antonia D’orsay of This Is How. Among three honorees from Queens, Pauline Park was recognized for her activism and advocacy work, including her work as president of the board of directors and acting executive director of
Queens Pride House. Also on the list are Ida Hammer, a longtime member of the QPH transgender support group, and Cristina Herrera, coordinator of the Gender Identity Project at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan, who facilitates the translatina group that meets periodically at Pride House.