As part of our celebration of Pride Month, the Rams will be spotlighting four LA non-profits/small businesses supporting the LGBTQ+ community, aiming to raise awareness of those organizations' efforts.
The series concludes with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in the city and beyond since 1969.
It first began provided services for LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles since 1969. Today, the Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services for more people in that community than any other organization in the world.
"We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people are healthy, equal and complete members of society," said Diego Martinez, the organization's corporate relations supervisor.
Martinez said what motivates the organization are the "life-saving and life-changing" programs and services it provides and takes pride in. The Center offers a vital social safety net for for the LGBT community and a safe, welcoming space where individuals can find help and hope when they need it most.
"Whether that is through health services, educational and life-enriching courses, local and national advocacy, the Center brings together the entire community to stay informed and connected with one another," Martinez said.
A recent accomplishment for the Center that made it proud was when President signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law in March, which Martinez said was a "a dream come true." The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 was historic in that it marked the first federal legislation to create a stand-alone grant program specific to the LGBTQ community.
LGBT Center Chief Impact Officer Terra Russell-Slavin and the Center's policy department had steadfastly worked for six years on the reauthorization, which reauthorizes the act until 2027 and includes enhancements to increase access to VAWA-funded programs, improves VAWA's responsiveness to the needs of survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and includes the strongest-ever provisions to benefit LGBTQ survivors.
"The new grant program is specifically designed to combat domestic violence and sexual assault against LGBTQ+ individuals through prevention education, outreach, and training to organizations and other entities focused on serving victims," Martinez said.
Harkening back to the earliest days of the organization, Martinez said that being better allies for the LGBTQ+ community starts with actively working alongside it.
"Liberation has been at the heart of the Center since our inception in 1969 when a group of volunteers and activists banded together to build a world where LGBTQ people were free from harm, fear, and loneliness," Martinez said. "The community and allies alike participate in the quest for freedom from discrimination, health disparities, and all that stands in the way of living as healthy, equal, complete members of society."
Meanwhile, celebrating pride month doesn't have to be complicated.
"The Los Angeles LGBT Center includes community members that represent the entire LGBTQ community, spanning across generations, cultures, and the entire city of Los Angeles," Martinez said. "At the Los Angeles LGBT Center we support and celebrate the diversity of everyone in our community."