Wesley United Methodist Church of Cicero's Queer Youth Exploring Spirituality ( Q-YES ) group will be hosting a community strategy session, "Latin@ LGBTQA United For Action," Saturday, March 28, 12-3 p.m., at Wesley United Methodist Church in Cicero.
This will be the third Latin@ community strategy session of its kind. ALMA Chicago hosted the first session in July 2014 and United Latin@ Pride and Lambda Legal hosted the second session last October.
"The aim of this session is to come together to learn better ways to address our community needs by exchanging ideas, inspiring action and building stronger connections," said Sofia Sarabia, youth mentor at Wesley United Methodist Church.
"It was important for Q-YES to host this event because we value the inclusion of diverse and underrepresented groups in community organizing. That's what this event is all about. Q-YES's mission is about creating safe spaces for LGBTQ youth who have been shunned from their own communities. The people on our panel will be discussing how these groups have been underrepresented in Latin@ queer organizing," said Katya Mazon, co-founder and youth leader of QYES. "It's important for Q-YES to collaborate with other organizations so that we can all create more resources for the queer Latin@s in our communities."‹
The event will be comprised of a diverse panel of community members who will highlight specific topics pertinent to the Latin@ LGBTQ community: Maria Calderon ( older adults ), Reyna Ortiz ( trans community ), the Diaz Family ( parenting issues ) and Jackie Gonzalez, program director of El Rescate, ( LGBTQ Latin@ youth experiencing homelessness ).
"For this session we will be following up with some of the community members who have been underrepresented in our Latin@ LGBTQA organizations, so we planned the panel format in order for their voices to be heard and share with us their needs," said Sarabia.
An open forum will follow the panel discussion.
As for the information gathered during the session, Sarabia said that they plan on making sure organizations follow through with the specific needs that are addressed.
Sarabia explained that as a result of the previous sessions information materials are now translated into Spanish so Spanish speaking members feel welcomed and included, ASL interpretation is provided for those who need it and event locations are both ADA accessible and safe spaces for all attendees.
Sarabia noted that after the first session United Latin@ Pride created a social media manager list plus a google.doc link so participants have easier access to community events, lists of resources and are able to stay in contact with each other.
"At the end of each session other organizations are asked to host the next session," said Sarabia. "The next host will develop the format for the next strategy session and update what groups discussed previously including the progress in meeting our community needs. The sessions include other issues otherwise not raised."
An ASL interpreter will be on hand. Food and drinks will be provided. No registration is required.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Q-YES/122554657914806.