At Dawn, We Rise
Published On November 9, 2016 » By Jason Landau Goodman » Breaking News, National

Friends,

This has been a devastating day for many of us. The results of this election have opened floodgates of bigotry and hatred to flow through. We are now in a profound moment of global history, which will test the strength of people of conscience. Yet, as dark as the days ahead may be, we will always find the light.

Please take a moment to read our statement of action tonight. We recommit ourselves to meaningful rural LGBTQ youth empowerment and eradicating white supremacy.

While we had a beautiful evening two weeks ago opening our state LGBTQ youth advocacy center, we are now called to use our power and place for urgent action. We will share three key ways below that you can get involved to support the LGBTQ youth movement in Pennsylvania, including the opportunity for young advocates to attend our regional mobilization meetings in the coming weeks which will extend throughout our nine regions across the commonwealth.

PYC State Headquarters Opening Reception – October 25, 2016


We send our love to those who have been threatened with great harm. We will continue to be in solidarity with people of color, immigrants, indigenous people, those with disabilities, women, Muslims, Jews, and everyone who has been intimidated with violence and hatred.

PYC’s mission has always been clear: We are empowering our generation of leaders to be effective advocates in local and state government. We will continue to successfully pursue our mission and create meaningful change.

Since we established PYC in 2011, we have centered much of our work on supporting rural LGBTQ youth. There is great concern for the shifting national landscape as it relates to the safety of LGBTQ people in our rural communities, where those who harbor hatred may feel emboldened in these days ahead. We want to assure you that we are with every young rural LGBTQ Pennsylvanian, and we will rise with you.

We will be redoubling our efforts to equip young rural LGBTQ Pennsylvanians with the necessary tools to advocate in their communities for human decency and intersectional social justice. While some organizations focus primarily on flashy fundraisers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh alone, literally flying over our heartland, for years we have been in the trenches throughout rural Pennsylvania. We look forward to expanding our advocacy efforts across the largest rural population of any state in the nation.

We imagine our world where rural Pennsylvanians of conscience are fully equipped and empowered to talk with their neighbors about social justice. The status quo of dismissing rural leadership is unacceptable, certainly as we consider the impacts our rural electorate has on American democracy. Our rural communities can hold the United States together – or cement our division apart.

As people of conscience, we will persevere in going high, regardless of how low future events may try to pull us down. In the pitch black, we believe our light can shine and grow.

We have hope that those who are surrounded in hatred and violence toward our diverse communities, can be successfully met with our stronger capacity to find human decency in one another.

Indeed, we are at a scary crossroads where so much of our recent progress in human history is up to be erased.

We do not make any bones about how white supremacy has and continues to play an unfortunate role in our political systems. We reaffirm our commitment to eliminating white supremacy, racism, and xenophobia wherever it exists. We will not rest while any of us is under attack from our own government and communities.

Our commitment to transparency and accountability leads us to share with you our reflection: We recognize the longtime inadequate support for these critical, intersectional social justice efforts. In the next chapter for our nation, we must ask each other clearly: Will you help? Will you get involved? Recent national investments into Pennsylvania on LGBT issues have been sent through unaccountable politically-connected enterprises rather than community-based intersectional social justice organizations like PYC. We hope you join us in building a community movement worthy of your investment.

Governor Tom Wolf Visits PYC’s 2nd Annual PA Comes Out for Freedom Event  – October 26, 2016

Earlier this fall, we shared with you three important ways you can support LGBTQ youth advocacy in Pennsylvania. We implore you to consider getting involved today to safeguard the lives young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.


1. Keystone Pride Alliance

For Youth and Young Advocates

Friday, November 18th
Erie-West: Allegheny College, 4-5pm
Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA: University of Pittsburgh, 7-9pm

Saturday, November 19th
North Central: Lock Haven University, 2-4pm
South Central: PYC Headquarters, 6-8pm

Sunday, November 20th
NEPA and Lehigh Valley: East Stroudsburg University, 1-3pm
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley: University of Pennsylvania, 5-7pm

 


2. PYC Leadership Council

For Young Pennsylvanians
  • If you are a young Pennsylvanian interested in supporting the Pennsylvania LGBTQ youth movement in a broader way, consider joining the PYC Leadership Council. Members of the council are advisors to the organization and participate in a monthly giving circle to the organization. Click here to join!

 


3. Keystone Partners

For All Friends of Pennsylvania
  • Supporting LGBTQ youth leadership with a monthly donation will allow us to sustain and grow our operations. For a monthly gift starting at $10, you can join our donor circle as a Keystone Partner. You’ll get special insider updates on PYC activities and agenda. Click here to become a Keystone Partner!

 


PYC Constitutional Convention in Harrisburg August 6, 2011

The most powerful words that come to our mind are given to us from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Constitution that was drafted in 1960, which we adapted into the founding documents of PYC in 2011:

“Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear, love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles doubt. Mutual regards cancels enmity. Justice for all overcomes injustice. The redemptive community supersedes systems of gross social immorality.

Love is the central motif of nonviolence. Love is the force by which God binds man to himself and man to man. Such love goes to the extreme; it remains loving and forgiving even during hostility. It matches the capacity of evil to inflict suffering with an even more enduring capacity to absorb evil, all the while persisting in love.

By appealing to conscience and standing on the moral nature of human existence, nonviolence nurtures the atmosphere in which reconciliation and justice become actual possibilities.”

PYC State Leaders Meeting at Bloomsburg – November 5, 2016

There are many, many advances in LGBTQ civil rights that are threatened to be taken away. The spirit of the current administration has been embracing of LGBTQ people – and that is expected to disappear. Fear is on the minds of countless LGBTQ people throughout our nation.

Though we may be scared for our future, we are also fully ready to push back and fight for justice and freedom. This fear is not just because we happen to be LGBTQ, but that many of us live at the intersection of being LGBTQ and a person of color, a woman, a person with a disability, immigrant, Muslim, Jewish, and other marginalized identities, who have been targeted for harm. We fear for our nation not just on social issues, but on our economy, environment, and education system.

The arc of the moral universe certainly bends toward justice, no matter in times when the arc has been made longer.

Today is the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or night of broken glass, which was a massive program across Nazi Germany which resulted in mass destruction of Jewish homes, synagogues, business, and hundreds of murders. This morning, several Swastikas were found emblazoned on buildings in Philadelphia. This is our reality, yet we can work to change it.

We understand this is a very difficult time for many of us. Please know, you are absolutely worth fighting for. Please call any of the hotlines below if you want to talk with someone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 (online chat available)
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

We ask all allies and accomplices in this work to contact us at anytime if we can be helpful to you. Please let us know where and when to be there, and we will be with you as we can.

You may reach out to us anytime. I can personally be contacted by email at jgoodman@payouthcongress.org, and our phone number is 717-743-1035.

We can – and must – work together to ensure violence and hatred do not harden our nation and commonwealth. This is possible when we all get involved, mobilize, and take action.

Thank you for your continued leadership and support. We are counting on your help to ensure we not only survive, but realize the light ahead and thrive.

  Yours Always,

  Jason Landau Goodman
  Executive Director

About The Author

Jason Landau Goodman is a law student at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress. A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Jason is a fifth generation Pennsylvanian from Lower Merion, PA.

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