Social Connectedness / 2013

Eye to Eye LGBTQ Organizing Center

Eye to Eye LGBTQ Organizing Center

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by API Equality-LA

Our goal is to create a center for community-building, political education, action and organizing in Los Angeles, particularly for women and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) communities of color. This project will recruit and develop new community leaders who can participate in organizing efforts and who will be engaged in community change work. In the short term, we will increase community activism, including voter engagement through basic outreach and education on critical issues affecting our community. In the longer term, our goal is to develop individual and collective leadership among communities that are currently underrepresented in decisionmaking circles. These include LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ immigrants, women and transgender people of color. We are creating a gathering space and space for organizing and political education for these communities.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

In 8 years, our organization has grown into one of the most well-established organizations dedicated to organizing and political engagement of LGBT people of color. We are one of the largest non-service-based groups, based on staff size and member involvement, representing Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT people. We have a robust volunteer base of hundreds of activists and 5 standing committee, which plan and execute a year-round calendar of activities. The creation of this space and organization in itself is perhaps our greatest achievement, since prior to our existence there was not an organization dedicated to political empowerment of API LGBT people. Along with our allies, we provide an important foundation for further organizing in LGBT communities of color.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

We work in a collaborative called Q*POC (Queer People of Color Alliance) who will be partners with us. This alliance includes Latino Equality Alliance and Gender Justice LA. As an API organization, we prioritize collaboration with other communities of color. We also have very close working relationships with numerous LGBT organizations in LA and throughout CA and the nation, who may provide insight and resources as this project continues to develop.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

We will measure our success by the number of people we engage and the number of activities we execute. We will evaluate qualitatively the impact of our programming. In addition, we will seek and independent consultant with community organizing experience to help evaluate our work and impact.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

This project will provide a space for organizing, education, self-empowerment, community-building, and collection action among LA’s community members, who are often under-represented in our city’s circles of power. By institutionalizing programs for political education, leadership development and ongoing civic engagement, our project will amplify the voices and political power of LGBT people in communities of color, including and particularly women.

In the course of a year, we expect to recruit and provide workshops or other opportunities to over 200 individuals, with the goal of sustaining the involvement of at least 30 who will invest in the ongoing development of the center. We will explore the possibility of establishing an independent center and community space. This work is currently led by our existing organization, staff and steering committee, and housed within a broader agency. Ultimately, we believe there is a need and a space for an autonomous space that can continue to evolve and a political organizing center.

Los Angeles has a vibrant social justice movement and community of activists. Our goal is to increase the active involvement and influence of LGBTQ people of color and women in our community’s collective efforts to improve the city. By organizing this community to address their lives at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality, we believe we can help organize a more inclusive and effective movement for change.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

By 2050, we will have established a well-known and stable foundation for community empowerment in LGBT communities of color, with an intersectional analysis and action plan to address the multiple challenges this community faces. LGBT people of color in LA, propelled by their involvement in our center, will occupy decision-making positions and will collectively be spearheading efforts to improve our communities. Robust voter engagement would be a given and strategic organizing projects would be the norm in our communities.