Friday, February 3, 2012

First South East L.A. Community LGBT Issues Forum Aims to "Make Things Better" by Increasing Family Acceptance Shared By New Age Of Activism Top 12: Eddie Martinez


Bilingual Workshops Focus on Youth Empowerment and Resource Matching for Families and Faith Leaders

(January 26, 2012, Bell, Calif.) The Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), established after Proposition 8 to increase support for Latina/o LGBT people and issues, along with more than 25 collaborating service organizations will host a community forum on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) issues in South East Los Angeles (SELA) on Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bell Community Center, 6250 Pine Ave., Bell, Calif.

The free event will include a panel discussion and workshops aimed at increasing understanding of LGBT people and issues as they relate to youth, family and faith in a community that lacks access to culturally sensitive support services. LGBT and ally community leaders, policy makers, LGBT youth and their families and friends are encouraged to attend.


The forum is part of the Latino Equality Alliance's "SELA LGBT Services Initiative," which has worked with community leaders to address the growing concern for LGBT youth that experience bullying, suicides, family violence, homelessness and conflict with religious teachings. The purpose of the forum is to bring community members and LGBT service organizations together to address the structural barriers and identify possible solutions in improving quality of life for Latina/o LGBT youth and their families so that, together, they can "make things better" now.

"This community forum is a good follow up to the briefing on Latino LGBT Health issues I hosted at the State Capitol last summer. Latinos value our large, tight knit families, family acceptance is critical to the health of the family unit," stated Assembly member Ricardo Lara. "It is important that all members of our community enjoy a safe and healthy quality of life. I strongly support the South East LA initiative for equal access to LGBT support services and hope the services provided in other communities will soon become available in ours."

The City of Bell welcomes the SELA LGBT ISSUES FORUM ON YOUTH, FAMILY & FAITHwith the support of Mayor Ali Saleh, Assembly member Ricardo Lara and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. Leading the panel and workshop presentations are The Wall/Las Memorias' Faith ProjectBIENESTAR's Youth and Family Programs, the L. A. Gay and Lesbian Center's Family Services and LAUSD/SPIN projects, Our Families Coalition, the GSA Network, Jovenes, Inc., and California Faith for Equality.

The panel presentations on each key topic -- Youth, Family and Faith -- will provide a "state-of-the-issues" overview of challenges and negative outcomes faced by LGBT youth and their families such as bullying, teen suicide, family violence, and health risk behavior. Workshops will guide community discussion within each key topic - Youth, Family and Faith -- and provide an opportunity for community engagement. A "next steps" component to the workshops will encourage community leaders and LGBT service organizations to identify what they can do moving forward to overcome existing barriers to LGBT family acceptance.

"I grew up in South East L.A. and graduated from Bell High School. I wish we had this type of event in our community when I was growing up to help me and my family," explainedEddie Martinez, Co-Chair of the Latino Equality Alliance. "The coming out process is hard for everyone. It is important that we work to make sure our LGBT youth and their families have the support locally that they need to assure a safe and healthy home life," he added.

For more information and to RSVP for the February 4 Forum, please visitwww.LatinoEqualityAlliance.com or call 323-423-9340.
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The Latino Equality Alliance, a 501(c) 3 fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners, was established after Proposition 8 to increase support for Latina/o LGBT people and issues in the Latino and LGBT communities like South East Los Angeles, which voted 60% in favor of the measure that removed legal marriage rights from same sex couples. The Liberty Hill Foundation and HAAS Jr. Fund has funded outreach programs.