We Are Family in the Media

We Are Family in the Media

LGBT people have been under attack in South Carolina, and WAF was on the front lines advocating with and for our community. We worked with our youth and their families to help them develop as speakers and advocates on their own behalf.

Here are links to media coverage we received in 2016:

 

 

Executive Director- published pieces

Charleston City Paper:

Post & Courier:

Other

TV/Local Broadcast News

VIDEO: Help us Build a Youth Drop-in Center!

In this hostile political climate, where lawmakers spout anti-LGBT lies and debate policies that imply transgender people are predators, our young people are falling through the cracks. While LGBT youth represent an estimated 7% of the total population of young people, they make up 40% of the youth who experience homelessness each year. Every city needs a place where youth can go to get help and improve their situations. We can all do more to help young people feel less alone in the world. That is why We Are Family aims to open a LGBT youth drop-in center and thrift store by the end of the year. We organized a successful popup thrift shop earlier this year to test the viability of having a thrift store, and we raised over $6,000 in one weekend!

Instead of making it harder for transgender people in our state to access public facilities, we should be working to make our public places safer and meet the needs of young people.  If decision makers really want to make a difference for youth, they can stop spouting anti-LGBT lies, look for forward thinking policies, and identify funding for evidence-based programs that will truly make a positive difference for the health and lives of young people.

If you would like to give to this project, you can donate online today at by clicking HERE. If you wish to mail a donation, please send a check made out to:

We Are Family- P.O. Box 21806, Charleston, SC 29413

Our long-term goal is to offer the menu of services listed below.

Case Management to include individualized treatment plans to address the needs of the client:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling- (contractual employees)
  • Referrals to other resources in the area when needed
  • Mental Health treatment and counseling – (contractual employees)
  • Group counseling-(contractual employees)
  • Resources for parents / educators / churches / community
  • Group meetings / Peer to Peer

Employment training and Access

  • Interviewing techniques
  • Completing applications
  • Resume writing
  • Teamwork
  • Getting along with co-worker / supervisor
  • Listening skills
  • Info on Job fairs
  • Job shadowing
  • Matching client with employers
  • On-the-job training @ thrift store

Computer lab

  • Job searching
  • Resume development
  • Computer application classes
  • Coding classes/IT workshops

Educational Services – referred to appropriate school personnel and follow up if K-12

  • Tutoring and homework help
  • Peer to peer tutoring
  • Assistance with college applications, financial aid forms
  • Budget and Finance workshops

Health services – as appropriate based on age of client

  • HIV screening
  • STD screening
  • Pregnancy screening
  • Resource list of LGBT friendly doctors
  • Housing assistance- referrals to area providers if over 18

Legal Services – provided by volunteer attorneys

  • Name changes
  • Assistance with medical issues
  • Expungement of misdemeanors
  • Coordinate community service
  • Family law issues
  • Provide speakers for other organizations – LGBT focused trainings

Drop-in Services

  • Food bank on site
  • Laundry facilities
  • Showers
  • Food drives to collect dry and canned goods to provide for clients in need
  • Survival backpacks for homeless youth / adults
  • Bike share program
  • 24 hour Crisis hotline to provide crisis management and assistance through trauma informed care

We Are Family Denounces Harmful Attack on Transgender People in South Carolina

Contact:

Melissa Moore
Executive Director
843.709.9111
info@waf.org

(Charleston, SC) – Statement by Melissa Moore, the Executive Director of We Are Family on the introduction of S 1203:

“Right now, a life of safety and dignity is being pushed out of reach for far too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A bill introduced in the South Carolina General Assembly yesterday would make it that much worse.

We should each be able to move freely through the public spaces of our state without barriers or discrimination – to be able to access public facilities without disrespect or discrimination, to use the bathrooms or locker rooms that are appropriate for each of us without harassment, and to have the same rights and access as anyone else.

This bill would deny transgender and gender nonconforming people the ability to utilize the bathroom that is best for them. The sponsor is replicating part of a bill that was passed in North Carolina (House Bill 2) that resulted in public outcry, businesses pulling their contracts from the state and a veto by the governor. The fact that such a hateful policy that was soundly rejected by so many and demonstrated to have great harm would be replicated is bad enough, but the way that it perpetuates hateful rhetoric and myths about trans people is truly reprehensible.

Bills like this one have been introduced around the country based on claims that they are needed for public safety, but it is transgender people whose safety is at risk. People do not need to be protected from the transgender community. The sponsor admitted that there have been no problems reported and that there is really no need for this bill. Further, it is transgender people who are experiencing harassment and violence.

Transgender people face incredible discrimination in the workplace, in schools, and in public places. They face threats and physical assaults in public spaces like restaurants, parks and in bathrooms. It is transgender people who are being hurt and killed. We should be moving policies that ensure that transgender people have equal rights and access, not pushing bills that make it that much worse.

Transgender people are being killed. More transgender women were killed in 2015 than any other year on record and here we have lawmakers whose job it is to ensure equal access and participation in our state advancing laws that oppress and harm.

Policies like S 1203 feed into the climate that results in violence and disrespect of the transgender community. This is not only a waste of time when lawmakers could be advancing policies that help people in our state, but it is also hateful and insulting.”

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Melissa Moore is available for an interview upon request.

 

We Are Family (WAF) is one of the oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, and one of few resources in the state dedicated to providing direct services and support for youth. We envision a South Carolina where every LGBTQ young person has what they need to not just survive, but to thrive.  

A Vision for Equality

CLICK HERE to add your name to the #Vision4Equality and show support for advancing true equality and justice in South Carolina and throughout the country!

We Are Family (WAF) is one of the oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, and one of few resources in the state dedicated to providing direct services and support for youth. We envision a South Carolina where every LGBTQ young person has what they need to not just survive, but to thrive.

Right now, a life of safety and dignity is being pushed out of reach for far too many LGBTQ young people in our state. We are committed to working to achieve a vision for equality for South Carolina – one that centers the needs and experiences of LGBTQ young people and their families.

We must address the epidemic of homelessness that is impacting LGBTQ young people who are turned away by loved ones or who leave home in fear of rejection. We must advocate for appropriate funding and resources for agencies that serve homeless youth and work to ensure that all youth have a safe home to go to at the end of the day.

Many of the issues facing the general LGBTQ population are even worse for people of color. LGBTQ people of color are more likely to live in poverty and to experience physical violence. True justice for LGBTQ people can’t be achieved if some of us are not liberated. We must continually look at the ways that structural racism play into and exacerbate inequality.

We must each be able to express who we are and present ourselves as we see fit and as best represents our true selves without judgment or limitation. We must each define our own identities and tell our own stories.

We should be able to form relationships, build families, and find love and community without attack or stigma. Our families should be respected and treated equally under the law, regardless of where we live. People should not face harassment and violence because of who they are or who they love.

Each person should have access to quality education at all age levels, and that education should be provided without bullying or violence. We must also look at how anti-bullying polices hurt people more than they help by feeding into the school-to-prison pipeline.

We should also ensure that school curricula is inclusive of a full range of voices and experiences and that young people get the information they need to make healthy, informed decisions about sex and relationships.

We should all be able to make ends meet by ensuring that we are hired, fired and promoted based on our skills and experiences without fear of discrimination. We need access to safe workplaces with fair policies where we can make a living wage and are provided with benefits such as paid sick leave and affordable health insurance.

We should each be able to afford to see a health professional when we need care and to not have our age or income be an issue. The services should be culturally competent and provided without judgment. Whether it is care related to gender confirmation, sexual health, or other essential primary and preventative care, we all need to be able to seek the care we need without barriers based on finances, inequity or other obstacles.

We should each be able to move freely through the public spaces of our state without barriers or discrimination – to be able to access public facilities without disrespect or discrimination, to use the bathrooms or locker rooms that are appropriate for each of us without harassment, and to have the same rights and access as anyone else.

There is no justice as long as transgender people of color fear for their lives. We must not only address anti-LGBTQ violence, but also ensure that the voices and leadership of those who are most marginalized are centered.

Each person should be able to shape the policies that impact our lives. Our vote is our chance to have a say in who makes key decisions about our health, our families and our lives. We should work to eliminate unnecessary and unjust barriers from felony disenfranchisement to voter ID and to expand access to opportunities through the improved ability to register and exercise the right to vote.

We must push back against our broken justice system, which criminalizes poverty and addiction, brutalizes people of color, and feeds into mass incarceration. It is essential that we also look at reforming our country’s broken immigration system that tears families apart and denies the humanity of undocumented people. LGBTQ people experience significant abuse in the detention and deportation process.

We need to oppose attempts to utilize a claim of religious liberty to deny people equal protection under the law or access to services or public spaces. So-called religious freedom laws and legislation are about pushing an agenda and using some people’s personal beliefs to withhold equal access and protection.

Beyond any specific ask for change that comes from a law or regulation or any policy, we are committed to cultural change to: ensure true equality for LGBTQ people of all ages, raise awareness about the gender binary that limits us all and results in discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming people, confront ableism and prejudice against people with disabilities, and works to dismantle white supremacy.

To ensure that we each can find a place for ourselves, make a life for ourselves and be ourselves requires that we each make a commitment not just to the beauty and power of this vision, but also to the active and engaged work that it will require to achieve it. I am adding my voice today to show support for advancing true equality and justice. Click HERE to sign on to the #Vision4Equality.

“Closet Case” Pop-Up Thrift Shop March 4, 2017

[Image Credit: Ryan Seigmann]

What: Closet Case, a pop-up thrift store 

When: Saturday March 4th 8am-4pm

Where: 1600 Meeting (address is actually 1630-1 Meeting Street Rd, Charleston SC 29405)

About the event:

  • For one day only, We Are Family is proud to bring back Closet Case, a pop-up thrift store. Who knows what treasures you will find? Looking for some rare vintage digs, funky housewares, furniture, or perhaps a mounted unicorn head? Our nitche is Kitsch, so whatever you’re looking for, we probably have it!

During the Event:

  • This event is part of Charleston Werk Week (chswerkweek.com), an affordable three-day celebration of vintage fashion and vintage music.
  • Showers and Free Clothes Available for those in need 

About We Are Family:

  • We Are Family is open to young people, ages 24 and under. We offer several support groups, training programs, resources, and direct services to youth who have been marginalized on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. At our meetings, participants can feel safe to share the things that are important in their lives in an affirming environment. Community outreach opportunities, social outings, and mentorship opportunities are some of the additional programs we offer.
  • We Are Family hopes to open a thrift store and drop-in center for youth experiencing unstable housing and/or food insecurity. Forty percent of all youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBT, and this project aims to provide services to the youth population of Charleston who are severely lacking in systems of support.

Scholarship Announcement- Creating Change 2016

We Are Family is looking to send two outstanding young leaders to the Creating Change Conference in Chicago on January 20-24, 2016! There will be two adult chaperones on the trip.

What is Creating Change?

Creating Change is the one and only time each year that more than 3,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from every corner of the country converge to strategize, socialize and mobilize for LGBT equality. It features top-level trainings, workshops, networking sessions and action-planning with our movement’s best thinkers and brightest innovators. For more conference details, visit www.creatingchange.org.

To apply, please email a completed application to info@waf.org by no later than November 23, 2015.

Big Thanks to Holy Cow Yoga and Nonpareil Studio!

Yoga PicWe Are Family sends out a big thank you for raising a whopping $1600 for LGBT youth at the Yoga OUT Loud class on June 26. It was not your grandma’s yoga class. Instructors, Steven and Tony set the pace for a challenging workout that incorporated tunes from Journey, Lady GaGa, and more! We highly recommend taking some classes with them. They’re located at 10 Windermere Blvd near Earth Fare. When you’ve sculpted your body,  go to Abigail at Nonpareil Studio to model for some pictures(http://www.nonpareilphotography.com). She took the fabulous promotional picture on the right. So many thank yous!

VIP Reception With Chely Wright

On October 16, 2014, We Are Family (WAF) will host its annual Spirit Day Rally and Candle Light Vigil featuring keynote speaker, Chely Wright, the first performer in the history of country music to come out as gay or lesbian. After the rally, WAF will host a reception with Chely! For a suggested donation, you can join the fun.
Suggested donor levels:

Spirit Day Ambassador – $100 premium seating in the first two rows, access to the reception with Chely, and your name listed in the program*.

Spirit Day Champion – $50 gets your name in the program* and access to the reception.

For a $20 donation, folks are invited to the reception.

*Must make your donation by 8a on October 10 to have your name listed in the program.

Secure your spot here
https://secure.piryx.com/donate/KWkQJ2V0/We-Are-Family/spiritday2014