Hurricane Sandy Isn’t Over
This week is the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. On the 22nd of October of last year, Sandy roared into NY and brought devastation to much of the low lying areas of New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. And its damage was often centered in the poorest communities of people living in Coney Island, the Far Rockaway’s, Red Hook, Staten Island and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, including many, many LGBTQ folks.
Sandy changed the homeless population in our city in only three days, doubling the number of homeless people here. QEJ -- and many QEJ stakeholders like Syd London, responded immediately to this crisis and began to do emergency support work in Coney Island and the Rockaway’s. QEJ also saw our LGBTQ support groups doubling in size as the City jammed as many evacuees as possible into any public shelters they could use. I wish I could see the emergency ending, and people are now back in their homes and neighborhoods, including all the queer, the old, the disabled and those with HIV+ who we worked with, but it hasn’t.
The truth is more grim, like how much folks impacted by Sandy still remain without any kind of housing a year later, or find themselves trapped in mold infested apartments that have technically been “cleaned” but continue to have mold growing up their walls, as they suffer from something called “the Rockaway cough”. It was poor folks who are facing these circumstances, poor people who are living in public housing and low cost rental apartments in these impacted neighborhoods, many of them queer.
For them, Sandy isn’t over.
These are not folks with life insurance policies to cover the flood damage or with savings in the bank. We have spent a year listening to their stories as they tried to get out of the shelters they were placed in after Hurricane Sandy and back to the neighborhoods and communities they had come from. But the issues of being “too queer” when you applied for FEMA flood monies or other hurricane relief funding, or of being a non-traditional queer family when you tried to get housing replacements and benefits compensation, meant that you were unsafe and unrecognized by the State and many of the organizations (like the American Red Cross, for example) who was providing Sandy relief and this remains the truth to this day.
That’s why I’m writing this eblast today – to say that Hurricane Sandy isn’t over for the majority of poor people, many of them queer, who were hit by this disaster. QEJ continues to do our work in the shelters and with homeless and poor LGBTQ people who are the survivors of this disaster and are still struggling to get by. Go to the Turn The Tide rally at 4:30 this Sunday in front of City Hall of people demanding this not be forgotten. QEJ REMEMBERS.
And please donate to QEJ to help us continue our work.
Amber Hollibaugh, Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice. Photo credit: Syd London
Queers for Economic Justice has been recognized by The Advocate as one of the ten most prominent non-profit organizations in the nation to propel "social and legal justice for the LGBT community." Our success, radical vision and notoriety have earned us the title: Leaders of Change. Here’s a quote from the article:
The perception that LGBT people are all affluent urbanites drives Amber Hollibaugh crazy. A cofounder of Queers for Economic Justice, Hollibaugh can't help but get passionate whenever she sees a report on how the recession has affected different types of groups or how Hurricane Sandy has left people homeless, without even mentioning LGBT people.
"It's profoundly disquieting that in the midst of the current economic crisis, you have no idea that the recession had an impact on our community," she says. "It makes me insane, because this idea that all LGBT people are wealthy, and mostly white is a dangerous myth." - Amber Hollibaugh, ED of QEJ.
This is an amazing moment for QEJ and we are ready for it but we need your help to do it. Sadly, It takes money to talk about who isn't at the table. That’s why we need your donation to help keep our activism happening. QEJ’s new initiative, Queer Survival Economies, is starting to crack the invisibility of queer people in the current moment and to make clear the impact of the economy on our lives. We continue to work with LGBTQ people in NYC homeless shelters and we continue to do support work for LGBTQ people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We want to do more.
Remember that it is your support that allows us to continue being a Leader of Change
Please help sustain the movement for economic justice for queers by making a one-time donation to QEJ or becoming a monthly sustainer. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW
Lean Impact mentioned the debut of QEJ's Queer Survival Economies at Creating Change 2012 as a great example of using lean principles (making as much change with as little as possible) in non-profit work! The content of our work speaks for itself - no pizazz necessary! This innovative project was born on a few pieces of scrap paper taped together. Read the full article here.
Queers for Economic Justice in collaboration with The Barnard Center for Research on Women us published “A New Queer Agenda” issue on The Scholar & Feminist Online. Through this partnership, activists, academics and organizers have engaged around a vision and practice of cross-issue organizing that sees gender and sex as central to issues like immigration, poverty, homelessness, gentrification, and drug use.
Desiring Change represents the integration of joint efforts by the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) and Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). It offers a framework for thinking about how desire and gender are brought alive through the ways lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed people use their bodies; and how desire and gender are made poignant and meaningful by the ways we construct or deny our erotic passions and gendered identities in the course of daily life.
After lots of effort and planning, we debuted one of our most ground-breaking concepts at the 2012 Creating Change Conference, the largest LGBTQ conference in the world. Here is the thought-map we used at the conference!