Gay Rights Groups Target ‘Communities of color’

By Gibbons J. Cooney

SAN FRANCISCO, October 5, 2010 -- The Horizons Foundation, the nation’s oldest LGBT foundation, is opening up a new front in California’s battle over the definition of marriage. In 2010, Horizons is awarding $350,000 in grants to organizations throughout California to “help build bridges and support for same-sex marriage in communities of color.”

“Support for LGBT people of color and LGBT equality are two of Horizons’ highest priorities adopted by the Board of Directors,” said the foundation in an announcement of grant recipients. The $350,000 amounts to more than half of Horizons’ entire grant budget for the year.

Election results for Proposition 8 showed that support for natural marriage was considerably higher among racial minorities than among white voters in California. According to a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California following the election, “Latinos (61%) were more likely than whites (50%) to vote yes; and 57% percent of Latinos, Asians, and blacks combined voted yes. (Samples sizes for Asians and blacks are too small to report separately.)”

Horizons wants to change that.

Horizons calls their new effort POCCE (People of Color Creating Equality) grants. Grants will be directed at Latinos, Asians, and African-Americans. Grants directed at the African-American community will particularly target clergy members.

Horizons is directing $80,000 to the Asian-American groups Asian Pacific Islander Equality in Los Angeles ($40,000) and Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco ($40,000). The funds will be used for message research that will “change people’s minds about marriage equality” and message testing among Filipino and Chinese groups.

Latino organizations will receive $175,000 in grants.

California Rural Legal Assistance in the Central Valley will get $50,000 to “develop and use radio novelas (a culturally effective media format) to increase understanding in rural, predominantly Spanish-speaking communities about LGBT people and marriage equality.”
The Equality California Institute in Los Angeles will be given $60,000 to “support two pilot projects -- developing messaging to be used in a ‘Promotoras’ (peer to peer) program of public education and outreach to increase support among Spanish-speaking individuals and community leaders; and door-to-door canvassing in predominantly African-American areas of South LA.”

The Honor Fund/EQCAI/GLAAD in Los Angeles will get $40,000 to support the “Promotoras” project, and $25,000 will be given to Somos Familia, the Latino branch of the “Our Family Coalition” in San Francisco to “develop and pilot-test video recordings of Spanish speaking families of LGBT youth and adults telling personal stories to build acceptance of gay rights including marriage equality among Latino/a immigrant parents.”

African-American community organizations will receive $95,000 in funding: $40,000 to the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition in Los Angeles to “work with the Equality California Institute (EQCAI), as well as the Analyst and the Williams Institutes JRC to do public education canvassing and identify messages that move African Americans in South L.A. in their ideas about marriage equality;” $30,000 to the Zuna Institute in Sacramento, a “national association of black lesbians,” to “engage the leadership of straight Black women’s organizations including African American sororities (which have 17 chapters in Northern California); as well as within the NAACP (which has approximately 1,500 members in Northern California) to create message points for use in the larger Black community;” and $25,000 to the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley) to “develop a curriculum that approaches marriage equality from the perspective of social justice as well as religion & spirituality and will be introduced to African American clergy.”

The Horizons Foundation was founded in 1980. According to the LGBT newspaper Bay Area Reporter, it is the world’s first community foundation focused exclusively on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. The newspaper reported that Horizons has provided more than $20 million to advance the homosexual agenda.

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