A message from the Executive Director for Give OUT Day:
Thank you for finding us, first of all. The work of LGBTQ communities begins by us finding each other. Since 1975, the Gay Community Center of Philadelphia—now the William Way LGBT Community Center—has had the privilege of being the place of first connection for LGBT activists, artists, academics, public figures, and private citizens, both in Philadelphia and around the world.
Every day, the William Way Center opens its doors for visitors and friends to forge alliances, share confidences, engage in new activities, and learn something new about our proud culture and history. The amenities of the Center include a 14,000-volume lending library, a world-class LGBT history archives, a public art and exhibition space, and a brand-new cyber center. But what makes the Center truly vibrant are our relationships, which help fill our building with one-of-a-kind programming 365 days a year.
In the past 12 months, the Center has welcomed dozens of events that engage our community in national and global efforts to fight discrimination and create additional protection and connection for our communities, including:
· An information session with the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda regarding a court case the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken up against a US-based anti-gay extremist’s role in abetting LGBT discrimination in Uganda;
· A two-day, national conference—hosted local by the Philadelphia-based Juntos—to explore immigrant rights and expand the definition of sanctuary cities; and
· A one-day summit for long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS, which is part of the ongoing, national Reunion Project, for which we have developed a local steering committee to ensure this work continues at the Center.
Ongoing programs and services of the Center include weekly groups attentive to the needs of LGBT senior, transgender, bisexual, and other populations, as well as affinity groups and classes that span age and gender divides. We are also hard at work creating new services for individuals who are currently lacking critical supports in our community. New programs for 2017 include:
· A partnership with Women Against Abuse to cross-train our staffs—including local domestic violence hotline responders and William Way peer counselors—to better respond to LGBT intimate partner violence; and
· A partnership with HIAS-PA and other local resettlement agencies to connect recent LGBT refugees to ongoing social and support services from through Center programs and volunteers.
We could not do this vital work without the support of our members and the community-at-large. Thank you in advance for considering a Give OUT Day contribution to support the William Way Center: the “living room” of the Philadelphia LGBT community. We hope to welcome you here soon!