Uniting Communities, Uniting Across States
“With great regional success, comes greater national responsibility.”
It’s not often that we at the Center have the opportunity to play off a quote from comic book legend Stan Lee, but it encapsulates this year’s launch of the Uniting Communities: National Partner Project (UC:NPP).
Based on the continual success of the Uniting Communities: Oregon project and Toolkit, the Center had the opportunity to expand across the U.S. to work with organizations based in communities of color to advance LGBTQ equality. We are excited to facilitate this movement that will work to bring equality to more communities.
During this first year of the project, we are pleased to announce that we will be working with Greater Birmingham Ministries (Alabama), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (California).
“This project gives us the opportunity to work with constituents we don’t have access to in Oregon,” said Kalpana Krishnamurthy, the Center’s director of Gender Justice program. “All of these groups are interested in taking their work to the next level—they’re not only ready to continue what they’ve started but also go deeper.”
This sentiment is echoed by the participants. Scott Douglas, the executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) stated:
“GBM is a faith-based organization grounded in 21 different faith communities including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. We are also multi-racial and most of our constituency is low-income African American. We consider ourselves ‘reliable allies’ to LGBTQ constituencies and we serve everyone without discrimination. But we’ve never intentionally generated programs for our LGBTQ members or adopted specific policies for staff. We’ve assumed that it’s automatically included without asking ‘are you included in this, in our human rights and economic justice work?’”
The UC:NPP brings together groups that tackle different types of work: from inter-faith organizing and reproductive health and justice to immigrant rights.
“It’s important that organizations we work with really understand why we need to be explicit on LGTBQ issues. LGBTQ immigrants are our constituency,” said Patty Diaz from Mobilize the Immigrant Vote. “We cannot assume that because we are an organization working on immigrant rights, that we are going to agree or understand LGBTQ issues. We really have to do some more training, more education and have more dialogue – yearlong, not just when there’s a campaign or ballot initiative.”
Stay tuned to learn about how our work in UC:NPP develops as we reach beyond our region to bridge communities in the battle for comprehensive social justice.