FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2019
Contact: Marina Streznewski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Kennedy's Response Regarding Lack of Funding for Critical Resources for the LGBTQ Community
Washington, DC - In response to the critical lack of funding for programs in the District that serve the LGBTQ community, Patrick Kennedy, candidate for Ward 2 Council, released the following comments:
It is well-known by now that 15 respected LGBTQ groups signed a letter requesting $3 million in funding for the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs to create a grant program focused on vulnerable populations. This money would have funded programs to protect the most vulnerable and at-risk, including young people and especially young people experiencing homelessness, as well as trans people and LGBTQ seniors. The funding request yielded exactly zero dollars.
Ruby Corado told me last Sunday about one program in particular which she has been trying to get funded for the last three years. It’s an employment program for trans people, like her clients, who have a 50% unemployment rate and need job training and welcoming places to work. It's based on a successful program in San Francisco which provides a pathway to careers for young people and an alternative to sex work, which some young people do to survive. But Ruby has run into roadblock after roadblock in trying to get her program started.
Four days after our conversation, Zoe Spears -- who recently lived at Casa Ruby -- was gunned down on Eastern Avenue. Zoe was 23-years-old and known and loved by so many. She was murdered just blocks away from where Ashanti Carmon, another trans woman of color, was fatally shot on March 27th. Zoe, Ashanti, and at least eight other transgender people have been murdered in the U.S. in 2019.
This is Pride Month, and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. But despite the remarkable progress made by LGBTQ people here in the U.S. and around the world, we must be cognizant of the fact that the gains have been uneven and that many of those who fought back at Stonewall - young people, trans people, people of color - are still fighting for their lives.
The events of the past few weeks indicate that we have failed the most vulnerable members of our community.
As the councilmember for Ward 2, the historic epicenter of DC’s LGBTQ community, I will be a leader in the fight to deliver equitable funding for LGBTQ organizations during budget season. In the short-term, though, I urge the Council and mayor to revisit their decision to not fund these lifesaving programs -- either by including a supplemental appropriation in a revised budget or by using reprogramming authority.
This fight is not over.