Our Uniting Communities Project brings together racial justice and LGBTQ equality.
The Uniting Communities program supports organizations to advocate for LGBTQ justice, which includes:
- Providing an analysis of how their mission intersects with LGBTQ justice;
- Ensuring that the organizational culture and internal policies are inclusive;
- Coaching their leaders and members to be allies and public advocates;
- Reflecting LGBTQ justice values in their programs.
We are stronger when we work together. A movement that includes multiple issues and identities ensures that we advance collectively.
Since 1988, more than 27 cities in Oregon have passed anti-LGBTQ laws. By 2013, Oregon had 35 anti-LGBTQ measures on the ballot; one of the highest number nationwide. Race is increasingly being used as a wedge between communities by the Far Right. One of the strategies in the Right’s playbook is to portray people of color as more homophobic and transphobic than Whites. This is accomplished by intentionally hiring high profile people of color to be the spokespeople of anti-gay campaigns.
In response, the Center created Uniting Communities to counteract this wave of intolerance in our region. Communities of color and the LGBTQ community have a great deal in common - being targets of discrimination and leaders for positive change. It is critical for communities of color to proactively support LGBTQ justice to improve the conditions for LGBTQ people of color. Additionally, LGBTQ people of color will be better served if organizations based in communities of color aim to be inclusive.
Since 2008, we have worked with 15 organizations using a cohort model. The focus of these groups has included everything from immigrant rights to tribal sovereignty. We've trained their staff and membership to better serve their LGBTQ constituents.
Some of our successes include:
- Publishing Uniting Communities: The Toolkit, a compilation of training materials and case studies;
- Organizing communities of color to win the freedom to marry in Washington;
- Training a diverse group of organizations from Alabama to Illinois including faith communities and immigrant rights groups.
In 2013, we launched an 18-month long multi-state cohort to work with the following organizations in Nevada, Oregon and Washington:
- Center for Intercultural Organizing (Oregon)
- Community to Community (Washington)
- Confederated Tribes of Siletz of Oregon
- Educate Ya (Oregon)
- Entre Hermanos (Washington)
- One America (Washington)
- Oregon Student Association
- PFLAG Portland Black Chapter (Oregon)
- Portland African American Leadership Forum (Oregon)
- Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
- Urban League of Tacoma (Washington)
The cohort model enables these groups to learn from and support one another in addressing the intersection between race and LGBTQ justice. The Center provides coaching, group training and program development consultation with the goal of creating an inclusive organizational culture and incorporating LGBTQ equity into future campaigns.
Check out our Uniting Communities column in Street Roots, a local Portland street paper:
- Two Spirit People Work to Keep Traditions Respect Alive
- A Chosen Family Deepens Connections to their Communities
- Creating a Space We All Can Share
- Gay Straight Alliances Raise Awareness, Courage in Youths
- The Road to Basic Rights for all Oregonians
- Uniting Communities Highlight: CAUSA