Happy holidays from Prism United! Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to:
- We teamed up with our friends at Lifelines Counseling to provide a socially-distanced, outdoor event called “Mugs & Feelings“. The event gave our teens an opportunity to reconnect, to talk about life during the pandemic, and to enjoy some hot drinks.
- Exciting news: Prism is assisting a group of enthusiastic individuals in Niceville, FL in their effort to launch and develop a program for LGBTQ youth in their community. We’ll be providing consultations, facilitator training, content from our Prism Teens curriculum, and more to support their work. In 2020, Prism created the Prism Affiliates program to help motivated individuals in other areas get their youth programs off the ground.
- Numbers: to date, Prism has served 150 individuals at support groups and 175 individuals at Safe Zone Trainings. Since the start of the current school year, we’ve provided an average of 15 virtual gatherings per month.
This month, we’d like to recognize our sustaining members for believing in the work we do. Thanks to Daniel McGhee, Sarah Commiskey, and Darly M Luellen. Your generosity has lifted our spirits in an otherwise daunting year.
There’s still a week left in 2020. A lot of what we’ll do in the coming year depends upon what we raise in this one. We hope you’ll consider making a contribution to Prism or even becoming our next sustaining member.
Our sincerest appreciation to the folks at Campaign for Southern Equality who are awarding us a $1500 Frontline grant. Campaign for Southern Equality has been fighting for the rights of LGBTQ southerners for almost a decade.
FROM THE YOUTH
This month, we officially completed our first full draft of the Prism Preteens program. The program’s success is owed largely to the hard work of the phenomenal Kirsten Gentry. We recently asked a couple of the preteens what they thought of Kirsten and the program. “She’s laid back and also really fun,” said one of our preteens. “I’ve made a lot of new friends. Thank you so much for creating Prism Preteens.” Another preteen told us that Prism is “very important” to him, “not because it’s an organization but because it’s a community.”
Kirsten is a Mobile native. She has twice graduated from the University of South Alabama: first with a BA in secondary education and English, followed by an MA in education leadership. Kirsten has seven years of teaching experience with English learners and is currently coordinator of the MCPSS ESL & migrant programs. As the program director of Prism Preteens, she develops curriculum and facilitates preteen meetups. She spends her spare time going on adventures with her little girl.
A little over a week ago, Mobile’s LGBTQ community lost one of its own to gun violence—19-year-old Bella Pugh. We hold Bella’s family in our hearts.
Let us not forget that hate crimes are real and that our Black LGBTQ siblings are disproportionately more likely to fall victim to them.
Over the last three years, reported fatal violence against trans and gender nonconforming individuals—the majority of whom were Black and Latinx—has been on the rise in this country.
And the harrowing national picture for LGBTQ youth isn’t limited to violence: just this winter, Prism has heard from multiple individuals looking for shelter from the cold. Research suggests that a staggering 40% of all homeless youth may be LGBTQ.
Someday, we hope to have a response to the issue of LGBTQ adolescent housing insecurity. Someday, we hope that the social climate in our area will be transformed and that violence against LGBTQ people will come to an end. We’re devoted to the fight for that kind of world. We hope that you are, too.