ORLANDO, Fla. – The Hispanic Federation announced a $1 million pledge for nonprofit organizations working to help and support the Latinx LGBTQ + community.
The announcement came two days after the 6-year remembrance of the 49 angels lost at the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The funds will strengthen organizations’ advocacy efforts, services and infrastructure.
“There are forces right now that wish to erase our demand for change, that wish to silence our LatinX voices,” Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation said in front of activists, community leaders and media at the Doctor Phillips Center for the performing arts in Orlando.
Advance Change Together, or ACT, is a new investment initiative focused on empowering and supporting organizations fighting for the basic rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The Federation has pledged ($1 million)... to run this initiative for at least 2 years,” Miranda said.
Gabriela Rodríguez is the executive director of Q LatinX, a grassroots nonprofit launched after the pulse nightclub shooting.
“We have six different departments that work in a variety of different issues around immigration, HIV justice, healing justice anything that sits between those two intersections,” Rodríguez said.
Rodríguez said the funding will help current leadership and help build future leaders within the organization.
“Someone invested in me and felt that I was worthy of this role and now I’m able to do that for those who are coming up,” she said.
Rodríguez was among six panelists invited to share their personal stories and why their priority is getting results for the LGBTQ+ community.
Florida Representative for District 49, Carlos Guillermo Smith, addressed current legislation being passed targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was passed into law which is a very thinly veiled attempt to push our community back into the closet,” Smith said.
Smith said there should be a special focus on children and teenagers within the LGBTQ+ community who are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
“That’s not because LGBTQ are predisposed to suicidal ideation. It’s because they can’t find the support from their parents from their family or from their schools,” Smooth said.
Other advocates invited to the announcement included actors Valentina and Stephanie Beatriz from Disney’s Encanto and playwright, composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. Singer and actor Ricky Martin shared a message played to the audience from a big screen.
“This has to stop. All people are people. Everyone should have the right to have a family and love who they love,” Martin said “Mi gente, we’re all in this together and we are going to stop hate. Martin Luther King said once, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’”
The ACT initiative will support approximately 20 LatinX LGBTQ+ nonprofits through grants of up to $50,000.