Op-Ed: Springfield LGBT Center—Leadership & Service; A Call to Action

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gayborhood_smBy: George Ramirez/ Special to TRT—

For those of us who live in the Pioneer Valley, the mainstream discussion surrounding all things “gay,” seems to be centralized in Northampton. To its credit, Northampton, MA has paved the way for many local LGBTQ organizations to develop and thrive. Self-identification through sexual orientation has been easier with progressive cities like Northampton in the Valley, but for those of us who live outside of those city limits, finding commonality and affordable safe spaces has been a challenge. Due to that cultural and economic dichotomy, residents in cities like Springfield face harsher environmental factors surrounding their LGBT status.

The LGBT Center of Springfield is a proposed 501(c)3 organization that plans to bridge the divide between all things related to Pride in our region. Our mission and goal is to provide a physical space for community members to create social groups. These groups will be facilitated and chartered by the community members that create them, fortifying a sense of unity with like-minded individuals. The Center will also provide or facilitate social services and counseling for individuals and families in crisis, related to issues surrounding sexual identity. We propose that the Center staff will educate and train local organizations, municipalities, and schools on issues related to identity and sexual orientation. The Center will function as a community based hub, providing special events that foster positive relationships. [pullquote]The LGBT Center of Springfield is a proposed 501(c)3 organization … Our mission and goal is to provide a physical space for community members to create social groups. These groups will be facilitated and chartered by the community members that create them, fortifying a sense of unity with like-minded individuals.[/pullquote]

We are looking for local leaders to assist with the implementation of these goals. Right now we have many individuals that stand ready in an advisory capacity, but in order for this Center to work, we need a dedicated and passionate Board of Directors at the helm. If you ready to reignite a cultural renaissance in the city of Springfield and Pioneer Valley, please contact George Ramirez via email at geonitya@gmail.com. Please include your past experience with LGBTQ organizations, and if you have prior start-up expertise for non-profit organizations. Participation on the Board of Directors must consist of a healthy number of Springfield residents, but like the LGBT Center itself, this opportunity to voluntarily serve your community is for everyone.

To read a copy of The Rainbow Times’ March, 2015 issue in .pdf click here; via ISSUU, click here.