NAME: Stacey Jay Cavaliere
ORGANIZATION: one•n•ten, Program Director; Phoenix, Arizona
Why is LGBT activism still so important?
Activism, to me, means to work towards something that is much bigger than myself, and to be the voice for the voiceless. Activism of any sort, when done with integrity, safety, and pride, is one of the biggest driving factors of my work and my everyday life. In regards to the LGBTQ community, in which I am a proud member of, there are still queer and trans folks who struggle every single day for the right to define themselves, to access resources without barrier, and to live without harassment by other people, the police or the government. Many queer and trans people live in our prison systems and jails, in our homeless shelters, in run-down houses and apartment buildings, and on the corners of every major city and rural town across the nation. And people are still (literally) dying in our own backyards. We as individuals must check our privileges, celebrate our differences, and recognize the intersections which make us whole beings. As Director of Programs at one•n•ten, Arizona’s only LGBTQ Youth organization, I am dedicated to this and have made it my life’s mission to bring all folks in our community together to fight for a common goal – JUSTICE FOR ALL! We have come so far, yet still have a long way to go to achieve complete freedom for all.
What’s an important issue facing the LGBT community that we aren’t addressing as well as we should?
There are oh so many.
Shifting the vision of the LGBTQ movement from equal rights for some to equity and justice for all. This includes our Trans brothers and sisters, communities of color, undocumented individuals, the youth community, and the elderly. We must not push these people aside, where history has proven these are the groups of people who stood at the front lines when the LGBTQ movement began. We must recognize and celebrate leaders such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Bayard Rustin. Lift up the voices of Trans women of color, fight to end violence against undocumented LGBTQ individuals, and support those who came before us, our elderly population. A cause I am so passionate about through the work I do at one•n•ten is youth homelessness. This is the only population of people experiencing homelessness that is still increasing. We must lift up these young people and give them the access to resources, trusted adults, and opportunities to se them up for long term success.
What inspires your activism?
My activism is inspired by so many people. I have had the privilege of having some amazing mentors throughout my life who have taught me some hard life lessons. I have also been blessed to work with the LGBTQ Youth community for over 15 years, in many capacities, The young people I work with everyday give me energy, life, and optimism. Historical figures who came before me also give me strength and drive. And most of all, my family, who have always supported me in everything I have done, and continue to give me the backbone to continue in the work I do.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give LGBT allies to be better and stronger allies?
Set aside differences, check your egos, educate yourselves on issues, and recognize the strength in what we can accomplish if we work together as one cohesive unit.
What’s one simple action that readers could do today that would positively impact the LGBT community?
First off-know your history! Read a book about a historical LGBTQ event (Stonewall, Upstairs Lounge Fire, LGBTQ genocide in the Holocaust, etc.).
Meet with LGBTQ leaders in your community to see what issues folks are working on. Speak to young people to get their perspective.
Find an LGBTQ-affiliated agency and donate funds to support the work they do.
BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS! Share stories on social media, lobby to elected officials, volunteer your time.
There are many ways to get involved.
one•n•ten is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. We provide youth with tools to improve self-esteem and self-acceptance.Youth range in age from 14 to 24. We create a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Our weekly discussion groups cover a wide range of social, educational, health and community issues. Youth with particular needs have the option to speak with peers or volunteers one-on-one, in a supervised setting. We offer resources for healthy living and making healthy choices, as well as fun social networking opportunities that develop leadership skills.
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