A Message from the Executive Director, Beatrice Simpkins
Thank you to the community of people who have welcomed me into this new era of service as the Executive Director of the Newark LGBTQ Community Center. I would like to also acknowledge and give my appreciation to the founders, Rev. Janyce Jackson Jones, James Cramer, and all the members of the Board of Trustees from its founding until today. All of you gave or give your time, money, energy, and commitment in a way that benefits someone in the LGBTQ community and the greater community of Newark and New Jersey. So what happens now? – I know many of you are asking.
First – the center needs you more than ever. We need your time, talent, and of course financial support. We have been able to support the center and operate as an all -volunteer organization since opening 6 years ago. To take the center to the next level – it needs to raise a minimum of $200,000 a year. We can pay our volunteers, employ LGBTQ youth, and develop a capital plan so that in three years, the center will be able to have its own building and service locations in prominent areas in Newark.
Secondly, we are recruiting new board members – we need an attorney, a development person, the girl from around the way, the non-conforming youth, we need the entire community and so we welcome building diversity on the board of trustees. This is a great place to serve your community so come and be a board member!
Most importantly – I want to hear from you – what do you need from the center? Is there a service you can provide, an event you want to create, do you have a literary or artistic skill that you would like to promote or share? The space is for you so use it! The center will be focused on these core areas coming up in 2020:
- Being a safe space – If there is one thing we know at the Newark LGBTQ Community Center, it is this: safe spaces save lives. And we here in Newark know well the violence that impacts all communities due to resentment, bias, and hatred – especially against the LGBTQ community. It has been a social crisis and civil affliction for decades, and it comes in many shapes. The murder of Sakia Gunn 2003 catalyzed LGBTQ activism and we continue as we must stop the rise of violence and killings impacting the lives of our Trans and non-conforming community members, especially women of color.
- Promoting the arts, film, and literature that tell of the history and modern stories of the colorful and diverse LGBTQ community and wellness through healing arts such as yoga and meditation
- Development of economic opportunity through the center’s growth so that we can be an economic engine driving the building of wealth and economic justice for LGBTQ people
- Support for Trans folks of all ages including ensuring access to quality healthcare, employment, and other services that are equal and inclusive
- Social activities – friendship, social engagement, and just plain having fun improves your emotional, spiritual, and overall health – we will continue having game nights and social events where all are welcomed and special nights for all our special people!
- Educational, thought-provoking discussions and presentations addressing issues of our times, bringing knowledge and civic engagement around complex issues, advocating to support social justice efforts here in Newark, in NJ, and the nation; lending our support to allies and other organizations and people fighting for freedom, equality, and the right to be safe in all of life’s activities -at home, walking down the street, at work, school, in your house of worship, any and everywhere you go.
Let’s do it together – because we can do more together!