My organization, Family Equality Council, recently released the following statement on the launch of our newest initiative, Project Harmony. I'm happy to share it with you, and to participate in this important work!
The Family Equality Council is proud to announce the launch of Project Harmony.
Project Harmony is a new initiative designed to fill a void in the current work addressing LGBTQ parents and families. The project will deepen and broaden Family Equality Council's work, ensuring that the issues and concerns of families of color are part of the national dialogue on LGBTQ family equality.
Project Harmony will take a community-based approach to program development, as newly hired Program Manager Lisbeth Meléndez-Rivera plans a nationwide listening tour to inform the initiative. A report of findings from these town hall meetings will be released in early 2009.
"We are committed to building the most informed and effective national programs serving LGBTQ families of color and to fully integrating the voices, experiences and needs of these families into all of the work of Family Equality Council," said Project Harmony Program Manager Lisbeth Meléndez-Rivera. "Existing research shows that households including gay Latino men and African-American lesbians have the highest concentration of children among LGBTQ-headed families. We as a movement have much to learn from the struggles and successes of these families."
The Family Equality Council is the national advocacy organization dedicated to securing family equality for LGBTQ parents, guardians and allies. The work of Project Harmony epitomizes Family Equality Council's belief that parents should be directly involved in the advocacy work that affects their lives. Project Harmony will lift the voices of LGBTQ parents color into the national conversation being had about LGBTQ-headed families, integrating their concerns into a national model of service.
"As a long-time family advocate, I applaud the Family Equality Council for recognizing the gap in the national dialogue around LGBTQ families that includes our culture, traditions and language. And I congratulate them on the launch of Project Harmony to both address the needs of families of color, and--most importantly--to also bring the valuable information and experiences we have to the table," said Carolina Ramos, co-founder of the San Diego Children's Garden and Latino Services Coordinator for the San Diego LGBT Center.
"I'm thrilled to launch Project Harmony in 2008, a year in which so much is at stake for LGBTQ-headed families," says Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council. "All LGBTQ parents should have equal access to the resources our community provides. Our goals as a community should be shaped by the needs of all kinds of parents and families--it is imperative to lift the voices of families of color. I'm excited to welcome Lisbeth Meléndez-Rivera as the Program Manager for Project Harmony, and I'm especially grateful to the Arcus Foundation for the initial funding to carry out this important work."
To learn more about Project Harmony, visit the Project Harmony website.
On a personal note, I'm thrilled to work closely with Lisbeth on OUTSpoken trainings, our parent and ally advocacy program. Our first training of the year is in Indianapolis on March 22nd! Check out Bil's post about it here.