ALLENTOWN, PA — Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center today announced that it has received a grant from Open Society Foundations Communities Against Hate Initiative to lead an effort to develop a community-wide emergency response plan for the Lehigh Valley LGBT community and to provide for emotional support for LGBT community members who are anxious about the rise in violence and hateful rhetoric in our communities that has resulted since the 2016 election.
Through this grant, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will lead a team composed of LGBT community-based organizations, local law enforcement, and clergy to develop an emergency response plan so the Lehigh Valley LGBT community would be prepared in the instance of a hate-related emergency. Additionally, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is providing 14 weeks of free individual counseling sessions and support groups to address the emotional support needs of the local LGBT community.
“Since the 2016 election, many vulnerable communities, including the LGBT community, have seen increased violence and violent rhetoric targeted at us. Recently, we’ve seen LGBT community centers and statewide equality organizations in six states targeted with violence and anti-LGBT hate. Thanks to Open Society Foundations, we are leading this important project in the Lehigh Valley because planning for emergency preparedness is our responsibility, and because we are sensitive to the real anxieties many in our community are experiencing. We must change the current narrative that is normalizing hate and we must push our society toward viable solutions.” said Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.
Nancy Youman, who is managing the grants to front-line organizations as part of Open Society Foundations Communities Against Hate initiative stated “The surge in hate incidents since the 2016 election is profoundly disturbing, and the LGBT community has been particularly hard-hit by slurs, vandalism, graffiti and the like. We are proud to support the efforts of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center to set up a rapid-response team and develop a community emergency protocol involving activists, clergy and law enforcement. We believe this work, and indeed the work of all the front-line organizations we are supporting as part of the Communities Against Hate initiative, will not only help people experiencing hate incidents in real-time, but will help build the community’s ability to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center (www.bradburysullivancenter.or
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Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center