Forum promotes safety, support for LGBTQ youth in Long Beach

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LB gay lesbian youth forumThe City of Long Beach Human Dignity Assistance Team in coordination with The Center Long Beach, youth, and numerous local partners will host an educational forum for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning youth (LGBTQ) and their allies.

The forum is free and open to the public. The forum will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2010 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Immanuel Center for Conscious Living, 3215 E. 3rd Street, Long Beach.

“The purpose of the forum is to shine the light that any arbitrary action of prejudice and discrimination should never be tolerated for it can always escalate into dire circumstances. Let’s stop it now for a safer school campus for every single student,” said King Chan, a student from Reid High School and one of the event organizers.

“This forum is critical because LGBTQ youth and their allies continue to be one of our city’s most vulnerable groups. They are vulnerable to alienation, bias and even violence,” said Raúl A. Añorve, co-chair for the event.

The Human Dignity Assistance Team is a group of volunteers who help to educate the community about the diversity of Long Beach and respond to incidences of intergroup conflict, bias and hate crimes.

“My hope is that this forum will be the beginning of a renewed commitment to making our LGBTQ youth feel safe and welcomed in their community as the intelligent and worthy persons that they are.  To do less for our youth would be a great injustice to society as a whole,” said Karen Miyahara, Co-Chair for the event.

Stephen Jimenez, with the Los Angeles Unified School District Educational Equity Compliance Office, will provide a workshop for educators on school safety laws and help teachers and administrators understand the often confusing statutes surrounding education and LGBTQ youth. In addition, community members will learn about hate crimes from Dr. Kevin O’Grady, Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League. Finally, LGBTQ youth and their allies will be provided an opportunity to understand their rights and where to find support.

“This is a call to action. Our youth must be loved and supported to reach their full potential in safety,” said the Rev. Jane Galloway, Spiritual Director at Immanuel Center for Conscious Living.

Supporters include: City of Long Beach Human Dignity Program, Assistance Team; City of Long Beach Human Relations Commission; The California Conference for Equality and Justice; The Center Long Beach; Anti-Defamation League; Long Beach Police Department; Orange County Human Relations; Los Angeles Unified School District; GLBT Resource Center, Jane Addams Committee and the California State University, Long Beach, Department of Social Work; Women’s & Men’s Resource Center at Long Beach City College; Rev. Jane Galloway, Immanuel Center for Conscious Living; Food Finders; Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, 2nd District; Councilmember Robert Garcia, 1st District; Councilmember Gerrie Schipske, 5th District; Gay Straight Alliance Network.

For more information, please call Rene Castro, The California Conference for Equality and Justice, at 562.435.8184.

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