Hispanic Federation creates the Advance Change Together (ACT) initiative to provide grants to underfunded organizations
All 25 organizations that received the grant serve LGBTQ+ Latinx people across the United States and Puerto Rico.
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Hispanic Federation recently hosted its first Advance Change Together (ACT) convening during the National LGBTQ Task Force’s 2023 Creating Change Conference.
The convening/initiative was created in response to the current political climate and to help underfunded Latinx LGBTQ+ organizations.
“We wanted to make sure that these voices are represented and empowered and uplifted,” Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation, told AL DÍA during an interview.
The organization decided to help this section of the Latinx community by giving out grants totaling $1 million.
To choose organizations to give the grant money to, Hispanic Federation issued requests for proposals (RFPs) where they explained the grant’s two year commitment. They then created an allocations committee panel made up of members of the organization who identify as LGBTQ+.
They received 40 applications and selected 25 organizations from all over the country that represent every letter of the LGBTQ+ acronym.
The ACT convening brought these organizations together to discuss the issues and barriers facing Latinx LGBTQ+ communities, as well as what the organizations need to serve this community. Hispanic Federation members left so that participants could speak freely, without worrying about saying what they thought the funders wanted to hear.
One issue that uniquely affects Latinx LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. is language access, or lack thereof. Not having information about things like services, job opportunities, or medical options in a language the person can understand can limit their options or make them miss out on opportunities.
Miranda added that language is, “also a big barrier when it comes to understanding the needs or being able to express the needs of our communities and the members of our community.”
Other issues include the more than 300 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that has been proposed, food insecurity, and low household income. LGBTQ+ Latinx are more likely to experience food insecurity and unemployment than non-LGBTQ+ Latinx people. Almost 40% of Latinx LGBTQ+ adults in a household with an income below $24,000 a year.
Ten of the organizations are in states that have proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Miranda commented that the messaging from politicians is being used to create divides in the Latinx community. For example, people are being told that being pro-LGBTQ+ — even supporting their children — is anti-family.
The ACT initiative is trying to counter it.
“So that’s what we’re trying to do. Making sure that even within our intersectionality that’s part of our true diversity and pride of our community, that that is not used against us. And trying to ensure that others understand the true value of listening and understanding the different colors and shades that our community has in order to have effective outreach, effective services, or even effective legislation,” he said.
According to their website, El/La Para TransLatinas “works to build a collective vision and actions to promote transgender survival against violence and disease in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
During the pandemic they gave members rental/cash assistance, as well as a safe space. They also provided information about COVID, safe places to get the vaccine or medication in different languages.
Nicole Santamaria, Executive Director of El/La Para TransLatinas, said of its inclusion in the initiative, “El/La Para TransLatinas is honored to be a part of Hispanic Federation's first ACT Convening, and heartened by their inclusion of the trans, intersex, and gender-diverse Latinx community as a grantee.”
She continued, “Together we are breaking down the many barriers that exist within the Latinx community for LGBTQI+ individuals, because we know that collaboration and inclusion are the path to justice and equity for all of us.”