Set in June, LGBT Pride Month presents not only an array of rainbow flags and dazzling parades, but also a reminder that intolerance is a hurdle we must continue to work on overcoming. The attack that transpired this past weekend against a primarily Latino LGBT group of people in Orlando highlighted that truth in the most horrific and devastating of ways. During this difficult time, United Way Worldwide offers its condolences and support to all affected by these events.
As the community begins to heal, Heart of Florida United Way has been and will continue to provide emotional support through 2-1-1, which is open 24/7. Through 2-1-1, callers are connected with trained professionals who are there to assist with crisis management as well as provide information about other community resources. If you need help, you can also text your zip code to 898-211.
The hate unleashed on Sunday is not new to the LGBT community, which has faced seemingly insurmountable challenges of intolerance before. It is due to this intolerance, for example, that of the total population of homeless youth, an estimated 40% identify as LGBT. LGBT youth also face bullying and harassment, and workers can face discrimination in the workplace. Each of these issues undermine our mission to improve the lives of all people.
That’s why the work of United Ways within the LGBT community and beyond has been and will continue to be so critical.
- In Minneapolis-St. Paul, through Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Arise Project leadership giving community focuses on LGBT youth homelessness. This community not only connects youth with housing, but also helps them to transition by offering peer support, leadership opportunities and counseling as needed.
- In Chicago, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago (UWMC), in partnership with local corporate and community leaders, launched United Pride as a means to serve the LGBTQ community’s diverse range of needs and foster a culture of generosity and inclusion. Throughout the city there are various events, volunteer opportunities, and programs that directly address complex LGBTQ issues such equity, homelessness, health issues, bullying, and more. UWMC also partners with local health, youth centers, and other community partners that service the needs of this community.
- United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County (UWGMWC) is a proud supporter of Project Q, a youth development program and safe space serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied youth ages 13 to 24. Additional investments ensure that Milwaukee’s young people are well informed. Healthy Girls’ programs address sexual health within the LGBT community, as well as self-esteem and empowerment. UWGMWC also requires LGBT inclusivity training of all its youth-serving partners.
- And to make sure diversity and inclusion remain entrenched in the culture that drives decision-making, the United Ways of both Delaware and Central Ohio have Pride Councils which focus on initiatives that provide a support system and promote community change.
All over the world, United Way supporters are finding a way to be of service in fighting for the health, education and financial stability of all people -- no matter a person’s race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. In the midst of such darkness we must all find a way to Live United against hate.
Learn more about #OrlandoUnited, United Way’s role during this time and how you can help.