ADVOCACY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Services

ABOUT

The Center strives to amplify of our community’s voices with strong advocacy and collective power when advocating for LGBTQ health and wellness and human rights. Click icon to read more.

Regional Policy Priorities

The Center’s focus on policy include housing support and access, rental relief and eviction protection, affordable housing for all in our community. Click icon to read more.

Engage San Diego

A collaborative network of social-justice focused, non-profit groups working to increase civic and voter engagement in historically and systemically excluded communities. Click icon to read more.

Coalition Work

The Center is an active partner in dozen of coalitions throughout the region and state to work to advance equal rights, treatment, and support of our LGBTQ community. Click icon to read more.

Hate Crimes

We work with community leaders to encourage reporting of hate-motivated incidents, connect victims to resources, and educate about the investigation and process. Click icon to read more.

Immigrant rights

We are an intersectional community that is deeply impacted by immigration policy, particularly our communities of color and transgender communities and we will stand together. Click icon to read more.

Education & Safe Schools

We work with stakeholders including the GLSEN, The Trevor Project and the Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network to educate about the implications of bullying. Click icon to read more.

Marriage Equality

The Center supported the fight for the freedom to marry and the victory of the Supreme Court in 2015 indicating that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Click icon to read more.

VOTING INFORMATION

About the center's advocacy

Conduct robust civic engagement programs aimed at engaging and building power throughout our community to ensure our elected officials represent our community and our values;

Recruiting, organizing, and empowering LGBTQ families, youth, seniors, and networks by providing services, resources, education and skills training, focused on increasing civic engagement and direct member advocacy involvement in the institutions which impact member/family lives;

Convening strategic networks of San Diego LGBTQ organizations focused on joint community planning and execution of grassroots organizing campaigns targeting member-identified policy work; Participating in strategic partnerships and coalitions with key progressive collaborators and organizations, working together toward the member-identified goals for policy change for all of our communities;

Convening, supporting and engaging almost a dozen Community Advisory Committees/Councils like the Black LGBTQ Community AC, Young Professionals Academy AC, ProjectTRANS AC, Senior Services AC, and LGBT Veteran’s Wall of Honor AC;

Providing structured leadership training and leadership opportunities to LGBTQ families and youth at multiple access points within the organization, including Families @ The Center, The Center’s Community Leadership Development Program, and The Center’s formal leadership development program, the Young Professional Council Academy.

The Center's FY2021 Regional Policy focus Include:

1. Housing support,  access, and rental relief 

2. Reimagining public safety and alternatives to policing.

3. An equitable budget for all communities

Engage San Diego

Engage San Diego is a collaborative network of social-justice focused, non-profit groups working to increase civic and voter engagement in historically and systemically excluded communities of San Diego County.

Engage San Diego table members are established and effective civic engagement and social change organizations with deep roots in the neighborhoods they serve – the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Alliance San Diego, Center on Policy Initiatives, Environmental Health Coalition, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego Organizing Project, Justice Overcoming Boundaries, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, Mid-City CAN, and United Taxiworkers of San Diego.

And our Special Projects focus on lifting up emerging groups with potential for full table membership. In 2020, our Special Projects include Viet Vote, MAS-PACE, and San Diego PRIDE.

VISION: A San Diego where the electorate and leadership are reflective of people who live and work here.

Engage San Diego works to achieve this vision by helping partner groups build power in San Diego’s New American Majority communities through integrated voter engagement.

MISSION: Increase voter participation in historically and systemically excluded communities of San Diego.

Through voter outreach, civic engagement, experimentation, advocacy, and communications, Engage San Diego aims to expand political opportunity by increasing electoral and civic participation of underrepresented communities in the County of San Diego – with a focus on the New American Majority Electorate of low-income families, LGBT, African-American, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, immigrants, refugees, women, & youth.

Visit the Engage San Diego website: engagesandiego.org

The Center’s Coalition Work

The Center is an active partner in dozen of coalitions throughout the region and state. Some of those partnerships include:

CCY’s mission is to improve and empower the lives of California’s youth. CCY is a statewide, grassroots nonprofit organization that serves disconnected youth ages 12-24 throughout the state. Our membership consists of youth, youth advocates, and youth-serving agencies. CCY is governed by a statewide Board of Directors representing youth-focused programs and organizations, youth and other individuals interested in advancing our mission. Our vision is that every youth in California is connected to the services, resources, support and programs they need to have successful lives. CCY provides strong statewide policy leadership around issues concerning disconnected runaway and homeless youth. The Center’s COO is a Board Member of CCY.

Our primary goal is ensure that CWS and Probation are safe, affirming, and supportive agencies to all of our youth, especially our LGBTQ youth. We discuss policies, procedures, best practices in the field, research, trainings, promote community events, etc.

A group of community organizations that gather to exchange information, projects, and best practice approaches for engaging the local community.

The Chula Vista Community Collaborative (CVCC) works to ensure collaboration among partners and stakeholders in Chula Vista. CVCC draws together all sectors of the local community to develop coordinated strategies and systems that protect the health, safety, and wellness of residents. The role of CVCC is to work with partner organizations in Chula Vista and the South Bay to share information and resources that strengthen families and communities. CVCC elevates the needs and voice of the community and works to ensure seamless access to needed services. CVCC facilitates/co-facilitates various issue-based coalitions to increase awareness and address local issues and trends that impact families.

The Center invites you to join us and the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT) in calling for local governments to pass the Police Accountability Now policy reforms. Police Accountability Now policy reforms include five policy changes that will address racial and identity disparities present across San Diego County. Follow/Contact: @CPATSanDiego. Founded in 2017, The Center was a founding organization in a new coalition table called The Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT). CPAT advocates for just and fair policing that is grounded in ensuring healthy communities by working to address systematic inequities that are due to bias in laws, policies and practices that result in over-policing of communities of color.  The Coalition believes in advancing community-centered, transparent and accountable policing that views the community as a partner. CPAT formed out of the need to advocate for changes within the San Diego Police Department to address evidence-based statistics that identified the department was over-policing communities of color during traffic stops. Since 2016, CPAT has been a leader in policy and advocacy surrounding police accountability and transparency throughout San Diego County. CPAT members are: Alliance San Diego, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, La Raza Lawyers Association, Mid-City CAN, San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Diego, Women Occupy San Diego, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Community Assistance Support Team (CAST), United Domestic Workers and Center on Policy Initiatives.

The Community Budget Alliance is a coalition of local organizations and community members who believe the City budget should be a people’s budget. CBA advocates for equitable public investment that will increase community wealth, health and justice for all, especially for communities of color. CBA believes that the city can and must simultaneously provide vital services and programs, invest in high quality infrastructure and use public dollars to support good jobs. Members include ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, AFSCME Local 127, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Alliance San Diego, Center on Policy Initiatives, City Heights Community Development Corporation, Emerald Hills Neighborhood Council, Employee Rights Center, Environmental Health Coalition, Interfaith Worker Justice, Logan Heights Community Development Corporation, Mid-City CAN, Muslim American Society (MAS) – PACE, Outdoor Outreach, Parent Voices , Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), Pillars of the Community, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest, San Diego 350, San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, United Domestic Workers, Youth Will.

GLSEN strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN provides trainings to academic institutions, as well as to students, about queer identities and best practices in the classroom.

Invest in San Diego Families is a coalition of residents, community groups and workers challenging the County of San Diego to invest in people, services and communities. ISDF’s vision is a San Diego County where all families can thrive, regardless of their zip code, place of origin, or income. Members include Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Business for Good,  Center on Policy Initiatives, Employee Rights Center, Environmental Health Coalition, Mid-City Community Advocacy Network, San Diego Organizing Project, SEIU Local 221, Chicano Federation, Youth Will, Pillars of the Community, Planned Parenthood, MAS Pace, San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego Hunger Coalition.

The vision of the LGBTQIA+ San Diego County Collaborative is to create environments that promote the safety and affirmation of all students and foster a culture of respect and care that supports and meets the needs of LGBTQIA students

The primary goals of SBCS include improving awareness of barriers for the LGBTQ community in Chula Vista, challenging campus culture, increasing representation of queer-identified individuals in school settings, and responding to crisis situations involving youth.

SDYHC is a group of providers, young people, and stakeholders who are committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness in San Diego County by creating a multi-disciplinary, community-wide system to serve youth age 24 and under. As a collaborative entity, SDYHC works to accomplish this through the sharing or resources, coordination of efforts, and advocacy. The Center’s COO is a leader of SDYHC and currently is serving as Co-Chair.

A collaborative entity designed to increase the effectiveness of the service delivery system in San Diego County for youth experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

A board of youth who are working to end youth homelessness in San Diego by empowering and engaging youth voices.

Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor and legal organizations formed the SDIRC. The San Diego LGBT Community Center is a founding and continuing member of the Advisory Board, and is currently represented.  Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: (1) support for comprehensive immigration reform, (2) stopping the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants, (3) educating immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them, and (4) building support for immigrant rights, amplifying immigrant voices, and engaging immigrant communities. In 2018, The Center and SDIRC partnered with asylum-seeking families, including LGBTQ families, to empower families to advocate against the federal administration’s inhumane policies of family separation.

San Diego Equal Voices Network is a diverse network of Casey grantees and the collaborative partners it leads in building the power of youth and families to win social and economic justice in San Diego County. Network members include American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), Engage San Diego, Parent Involvement in Quality Education (PIQE), and The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center).

In the summer of 2003, in response to the feedback of many community organizations and stakeholders, The Center hosted the first meeting of the Community Leadership Council. This group consists of the board and staff members and appointed representatives who lead our more than 40 LGBTQ and allied community organizations.

A group of LGBTQ serving agencies throughout the greater San Diego and North San Diego County area meet monthly to collaborate on initiatives that promote the safety of LGBTQ youth.

HATE CRIMES

Great strides have been made locally, statewide and nationally in the ongoing effort to secure safe communities for all and vigilantly prosecute crimes motivated by hate. In 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, making hate-motivated crime against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression a federal offense, granting the federal government more latitude to investigate hate crimes otherwise dismissed by local authorities and requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track hate crime statistics against transgender people. This is the first act of Congress to extend protections to transgender Americans.

The Center works with civic and community leaders to encourage the reporting of hate-motivated incidents, connect victims of hate crimes to supportive resources, and educate the community about the investigation and prosecution process. In addition, we monitor local and national trends, and collaborate with other communities vulnerable to hate crime to raise public awareness.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, call 911 or report the incident to the San Diego Police Department online,

To file a report with the FBI, click here.

To learn more about local resources for victims of hate crime, visit the San Diego County District Attorney’s Hate Crimes webpage.

If you’d like information about national hate crime trends, click here.

To learn more about the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, click here.

You may also contact The Center’s Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer at 619.692.2077 x103 or publicaffairs@thecentersd.org for further assistance. 

Immigrant Rights

Immigrant rights are LGBTQ rights. We are an intersectional community that is deeply impacted by immigration policy, particularly our communities of color and transgender communities and we will stand together. Immigration issues and changes touch our LGBTQ community deeply, not only our families, friends and loved ones here – but also the LGBTQ folks fleeing countries where they have been unsafe, harassed and threatened. For information and assistance, contact the director of Latin@ Services at latinos@thecentersd.org.

Education and Safe Schools

School-based bullying is an insidious phenomenon that has been linked to lower academic performance and achievement, truancy, absenteeism and suicide. With the advent of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, these effects have only been amplified.

California is one of several states that have taken major steps to address the pervasive problem of bullying. Legislative mandates range from requiring publicly-funded schools to adopt a basic nondiscrimination clause to more robust solutions such as remedial bullying intervention programs and inclusive curriculum with positive depictions of LGBT people.

The Center works with stakeholder groups including the GLSEN, The Trevor Project and the Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network to educate administrators, teachers and parents about the implications of bullying when left unchecked, and about the variety of resources at their disposal.  

To learn more about California safe school laws, visit Equality California or the California Safe Schools Coalition.

To learn more about proposed federal safe schools legislation or safe schools laws by state, visit the Human Rights Campaign.

For resources such as model policies and data-driven anti-bullying programs, visit Welcoming Schools or the California Department of Education.

Feel free to contact The Center’s Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer at 619.692.2077 x103 or PublicAffairs@thecentersd.org for further assistance. 

Marriage Equality

#LoveWins – On June 26, 2015, after a long-sought victory for the LGBTQ rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

In the Opinion of the Court, Justice Kennedy wrote that “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Their plea is that they do respect [the institution of marriage], respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” It’s been a decades-long, hard-fought fight for the freedom to marry.

To learn more about relationship recognition laws in California, visit EQCA.

For information about relationship recognition by state, visit Freedom to Marry.

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