Mission & Values
Prism United responds to the comprehensive needs of LGBTQ+ youth in Southwest Alabama. Specifically, Prism works to mitigate the psychological, socio-economic, and academic disadvantages caused by repression and victimization.
“The culture of Prism is full of wonder and imagination.”
Prism United Values and Their Practical Application
Diversity & Inclusion
Everyone’s voice matters. We value the breadth, depth, and diversity of experience that each individual brings to our organization.
- We commit to building a team of board members, staff, and volunteers that reflects the diversity of SW Alabama.
- We commit to developing and adhering to policies that will promote diversity and inclusion at Prism.
- We commit to using our public platforms to center the voices and perspectives of people of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual & romantic orientations, relationship structures, and abilities.
- We commit to creating a space that is accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities and processing needs.
- We commit to attending training, seminars, and conferences that raise awareness about issues of DEI.
- We commit to recognizing and responding to the ways in which implicit bias impacts hiring decisions.
Everyone deserves to feel safe and protected from harm. We believe that individuals have the best opportunity to be free and thrive in secure environments.
- We commit to communicating and behaving in ways that promote healing and prevent harm.
- We commit to being an organization that practices trauma-informed care with staff and program participants.
- We commit to developing conflict and crisis management protocols.
- We commit to providing facilitators de-escalation and Mental Health First Aid training.
- We commit to referring youth and their parents to affirming healthcare providers and services.
- We commit to putting in place and enforcing confidentiality norms.
The wellness of individuals is inherently tied to the systems within which those individuals exist. We believe that supporting LGBTQ+ youth requires a holistic approach, advocating for support in familial, cultural, and institutional contexts. Similarly, we believe that sustaining Prism’s work must be an ongoing effort of the community.
- We commit to efforts that seek to better understand the contextual needs of LGBTQ+ youth populations.
- We commit to supporting parents and other family members of LGBTQ+ youth on their journey towards acceptance.
- We commit to establishing relationships with administrators, educators, counselors, and other members of our local school systems to advocate for the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth in the classroom.
- We commit to establishing relationships with local city employees to advocate for the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth in the workplace.
- We commit to establishing relationships with other nonprofits to develop our available references and resources for LGBTQ+ youth and those who love them.
- We commit to keeping supporters and the broader community aware of Prism’s work through newsletters, social media updates, annual reports, and special events (e.g., Prism Celebrates!).
- We commit to “we” and “us” language, language that includes the entire Prism Team and the broader community when talking about the work and accomplishments of Prism.
Meaningful decisions should be data-driven. We strive to act in accordance with available social science that speaks to the needs and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth.
- We commit to making time to study relevant, emerging data on LGBTQ+ youth populations.
- We commit to helping produce data about the experiences and well-being of LGBTQ+ populations in SW Alabama.
- We commit to paying attention to the needs and desires of our program participants by collecting intake and reaction form data.
- We commit to responding to the needs and desires of our program participants by routinely disseminating surveys to measure the efficacy of our programs and services.
- We commit to working with healthcare providers who follow scientific, data-informed guidelines.
Exuberant self-expression is central to the queer experience. We celebrate the virtue of joy for building self-love, empowerment, and resilience in the individual and for fostering pride and solidarity in the community.
- We commit to bringing and/or welcoming joy to our work meetings.
- We commit to practicing gratitude internally, with the Prism Team, and externally, with supporters and the broader community.
- Staff and volunteer appreciation efforts
- Team engagement events
- Prism Celebrates!
- We commit to creating experiences where youth and other program participants can self-express and experience joy.
Trust allows us to speak to each other with openness and honesty and to listen with non-judgmental interest and compassion. We believe that trust is only possible when honesty, transparency, and personal and corporate responsibility are practiced.
- We commit to creating a non-judgmental space for disagreement, dissent, and vulnerability to be received with sincere interest and understanding.
- We commit to holding ourselves and each other accountable to fulfill the promises we make to the broader community.
- We commit to transparent workplace practices and reporting.
- We commit to keeping record of our actions and our reasons for taking those actions when responding to major conflicts that might impact Prism’s reputation.
- We commit to providing trust-building opportunities and activities for the Prism Team.
Traditional top-down business models perpetuate systems of inequity. We believe in power with, not power over.
- We commit to cultivating a cooperative governing ethos.
- We commit to minimizing hierarchical language, titles, posturing, and behavior.
- E.g., “Coordinating Officer” instead of “President” of the board.
- We commit to a 360-degree evaluation process.
- We commit to establishing a grievance process that protects staff from retaliation.
- We commit to developing an equitable pay structure:
- By paying staff a living wage and offering benefits to full-time employees.*
- By establishing a tethered relationship between the income of the Executive Director and other staff.*
*Pending the financial capability of the organization.
We believe in the sacred function of queerness—to make strange the familiar, to deconstruct heteronormativity, to dismantle systems of oppression, to upend social expectations, to “shake the sleeping self,” and therefore, to give people the opportunity to reexamine, reimagine, and recreate themselves.
- We commit to taking big, creative, unsettling risks.
- We commit to speaking truth to power.
- We commit to self-exploration.
- We commit to educating the Prism Team and program attendees about LGBTQ+ issues and identities.
- We commit to providing opportunities for the Prism Team and program attendees to learn about Queer History.