Patricia Nell Warren

Vital Ventura County LGBT Center Closes

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | June 06, 2011 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: budget cuts, elderly care, HIV/AIDS, indigent, youth services

This morning, I got a red-alert email from an activist friend of mine, Cat White, who lives in Los Angeles County. door-bolt.jpgCat is a marriage-family therapist intern and interpreter for the deaf, and a vivid community figure who has worked widely around L.A. County and surrounding counties. Energetic and outspoken, Cat knocks herself out for the
people she cares about. This morning she was letting her list know that Ventura County Rainbow Alliance in Ventura, CA, north of L.A., is closing its doors on July 29th due to cut-offs of government funding. Cat worked for VCRA as an intern before leaving recently to work for an agency closer to her home.

Cat's message should be a wake-up call to LGBT people everywhere in the U.S.
As the budget-cutting massacres continue to splash real human pain on America's walls, our own biggest centers in urban areas may weather the storm somehow, since they have access to private A-list donors. But the smaller LGBT centers in suburban and rural areas, which seldom get A-list attention, are surely suffering - along with the people they serve. Their clients are typically under-18, elderly, transgendered, homeless, indigent, unemployed, or those who need HIV/AIDS-related or other health-related services.

Those state and federal powers who are axing services everywhere don't give a frick about human needs - they're too busy protecting their own jobs, and
their perks. Please read Cat's message urgent message follows after the jump:

Here is Cat's message:

Absolutely heartbreaking!!! VCRA is a wonderful and much needed organization. In Ventura County, this is going to hit especially hard to the LGBT community due to the racism and homophobia rampant in that area. This is not the time to go back in the closet because of yet another Center closing. VCRA provided vital services to ALL in Ventura County: Free AIDS testing, Mental Health Counseling for HIV+ and their families, a food bank among other services.

I have done what I could to support them. I ran a marathon to help raise money for these much needed services. I drove to and from VCRA on my own dime to provide services I was not getting paid for, when I could least afford to do so, in order for indigent LGBT people to get desperately services they needed.

Due to this center closing, these people will not get ANY services they need. Will they go hungry? YES Will there be more cases of HIV in Ventura county? YES!

What have you done to support a smaller LGBTQ community center? What will you do now?

Now is the time to start thinking about other communities other than your own. Can you imagine what it will be like if the center in your community closed? What would you do? Imagine not having a personal vehicle: the time to take a bus 60 miles from your home, the numerous transfers, the dangers involved!

Remember that adage: They came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a JEW... When they came for me, no one else was there to speak out for me. WE MUST make sure that history does not repeat itself.

Please think about supporting a smaller LGBT Center outside of your community instead of buying that latte, or that new flat-screen TV. The smallest amount will be gratefully accepted.

If you are unsure of what smaller community centers might be in need, please contact me, and I will send you a list, and what more you can do to lend your support.

CAT White

In an interview with me this afternoon, Cat adds the following request: "If anybody knows of a struggling center in their local area, anywhere in the country, I'm asking that they let me know about it. My email address is interpretercat@gmail.com."

This is the moment of truth, folks. This is when we find out how much we care about what so many of us choose to call "the LGBT community." Many in government don't care about us -- they'd like to see us disappear. Few in the mainstream world are going to help needy LGBT people.

Even the knothead extremist church people take care of their own. So...are we willing to take care of our own needy community members? Fifty dollars a month, or even $25 a
month, from a lot of people in a given area will go far to help a struggling little center stay open. The fate of our grassroots community services is going to be up to us.

(Imgsrc)


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The closest thing to a community center in the entire state of Indiana is the Indiana Youth Group in Indy. They've been close to closure a few times, but thankfully the community (and the hard working staff!) have rallied and kept things going. There's always talk about creating a real LGBT center in Indianapolis, but no one can get it together long enough to get it started - let alone how to keep it going once it is open.

If you are doing inventory in Indiana, don't forget the GLBT Student Support Services office in Bloomington -- not a community center, but deserves honorable mention. I believe there is a corresponding office in Lafayette at Purdue, but I have never visited it and can't make a comparison about it.

Interpretercat | June 6, 2011 10:52 PM

Okay people, This is what we need: A listing of ALL LGBTQ centers around the country: Let's not worry about places outside the US yet: we'll help once we can help ourselves.

PLEASE send this link to EVERYONE in your email list. The more people I get to contact me from each state to let me know of their centers, and what they need, we'll know how to help.

My idea is to start a national clearing house: only for the LGBTQ community. No RED TAPE!! I just need info on the agency, and then we will get people to donate to give them what they need. We'll find local people to help us. Again, My plea is to hear from people ALL over the US. Send me info, or give my email to others so we can help our LGBTQ Centers.
ANYONE READY TO HELP?

What a great idea. These community centers provide some of the most direct, influential, and hands-on support for LGBT people throughout the country.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 7, 2011 9:47 PM

These and other cuts are happening across the country and hurting tens of millions. They're part of a pattern. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua "Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's argument that the U.S. economy is "past the crisis point," more U.S. cities and even some states actually are facing bankruptcy in 2011 if they cannot find out a way to balance the budget... Those cities include New York City, the largest city in the U.S., Los Angeles, the second largest city, Washington, DC, the U.S. capital and San Francisco." http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/31/c_13671301.htm

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 2010 "State tax collections, adjusted for inflation, are now 11 percent below pre-recession levels, while the need for state-funded services has not declined... Thus far, some 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls totaling $112 billion for fiscal year 2012." In response, the New York Times reports that Republicans are "working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers."

The Long Depression is deepening under the impact of global warming, the European debt crisis, heavy market speculation and the oil wars. Sharp rises in the cost of food, clothing and energy consumables, the certainty of a new wave of foreclosures of homes and business properties and the financial crises facing forty-four of the fifty states are creating conditions that lead both parties to impose harsh austerity measures and the simultaneously radicalize many working people, consumers and, in our case, people denied the aid they need to cope with bigot borne diseases like HIV-AIDS and anti-GLBT bigotry.

Democrats and Republicans are vying for Scrooge rights. Obama froze federal wages and hiring, is proposing cuts in assistance for home energy consumables and he’s clearly signaled that he’s willing to compromise Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid if the Republicans so much as give him a dirty look or two. Republicans want to use the crisis to cut pensions and privatize state services and steal the Social Security funds workers set aside for their retirement.

Neither of those courses is acceptable and the coming election period will see not only the predictable partisanship between the twin parties but mounting alienation and polarization of workers and others against the twin parties.

"Sharp rises in the cost of food, clothing and energy consumables, the certainty of a new wave of foreclosures of homes and business properties and the financial crises facing forty-four of the fifty states are creating conditions ..."

Bill has some very good points.

Supposedly, inflation is "under control" ... yet food and energy costs continue to rise, and these are significant living expenses for the average working family, as well as retired people on fixed incomes. Economists claim that inflation is under 2% but that is when falling real estate prices are weighted heavily into the calculation -- do the calculation without housing, and the inflation rate is close to 7% ... !!

The same book-cooking is going on with the unemployment figures, too. With the official unemployment rate quoted at 9.1%, when workers who have part-time jobs but want full-time jobs, plus the workers that have given up looking, are both figured in, the figure is close to 18%. For black young men, the unemployment rate is about 25% or higher.

In May, the economy added 54,000 jobs -- but this is only one-third of what is required just to absorb the natural growth rate of the labor force, the difference between young grads entering the market and older retirees exiting it. At this pace, the unemployment rate is bound to climb over the long term.

The "ongoing recovery" is true only for certain parts of the economy, and is generally over-rated -- even as anemic as the official indicators are!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 8, 2011 4:36 AM

The only sector in full recovery are the rich.

Thanks to Bush and Obama the obscene tax cuts for the rich are still in place, they get trillions in handouts from both parties (bailouts, the 'health care' scam, 'stimulus scams' and for the mess at Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.) They're getting rich and the rest of us are getting visibly poorer at a pretty fast clip.

Sound familiar? It would to my great grandfather, a miner and member of the Western Federation of Miners and the IWW who lived through a similar event, the Long Depression of 1873 to 1896. It'd also sound familiar to my grandmother who went broke turning her little restaurant into a makeshift soup kitchen for miners During the Great Depression that began at 7:45 PM on Black Monday, October 28, 1929 and lasted until 7:00 AM Hawaiian Time on December 7th, 1941.

J C Stepping | November 9, 2011 5:00 PM

I was very sad when I heard about the Rainbow Alliance closing, becaues I am a Ventura County resident. So,I have opened a new foundation in Ventura County to take over where the Rainbow Alliance left off. We now have two locations for support groups in Ventura County. One in Thousand Oaks and the other in Camarillo. We hope to have a building by the middle of next year and are awaiting approval for our nonprofit status right now. I have also opened a toll free hotline to support the LGBTQ community. 1-855-U-MATTER. More information can be found at www.jamescospersteppingstonefoundation.org and our office number is 1805-419-9369. We are here for our community. Be positive through your actions.