Mission – RV there yet?
The Caravan of Hope seeks to alleviate the burdens and stress experienced by the most vulnerable of us in the LGBTQ community and ensure that people living in rural communities have access to the resources they need to thrive. LGBTQ Americans live in every corner of this country and always will; there are proud LGBTQ farmers in Iowa and cattle herders in Wisconsin. The sad reality, however, is that LGBTQ individuals in the 29 states without state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation consistently see greater disparities than in the 21 states with such laws, including less social acceptance and greater economic vulnerability, especially among African-American LGBT and individuals transgender people.
Fifty-five percent of the LGBTQ population in the United States live in the Mid-West or the South, where they lack legal employment protections, earn less than $24,000 a year on average and are less capable of affording food or healthcare. City dwellers can sometimes take for granted the privilege of living in a diverse metropolitan area, where for the most part, their sexual orientation and gender identity is accepted. Rural environments tend to lack resources for LGBTQ individuals and foster a sense of isolation. That isolation is sometimes self-inflicted in order to maintain confidentiality and as a result, special care will be taken to ensure that our outreach in identifying underserved populations is carried out strategically and covertly if necessary, to maintain people’s safety after the Caravan of Hope pulls away.
01. LGBTQ PEOPLE OF COLOR
While only 38% of the U.S. identify as people of color, 60% of them are survivors of anti-LGBTQ and anti-HIV hate crimes and people of color made up 80% of the LGBTQ people killed in the United States last year.
02. TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
Transgender people are 4x more likely to live in extreme poverty, making less than $10,000 per year and 41% of transgender people have attempted to take their own lives.
03. LGBTQ ELDERS
Approximately 2.4 million LGBT older adults live in the U.S. and that is expected to double by 2030. The needs of older LGBT adults are unique as they often have to “go back in the closet” during their final years.
04. LGBTQ YOUTH
Of the 1.6 million homeless children in the U.S., 40% of them identify as LGBTQ and 84% of LGBTQ high school students report experiencing bullying.Of them, 68% say they hear predominantly negative messages of LGBTQ people from politicians.
Many communities around the world have populations that are considered “underserved.” The definition of which is that their voices and needs are often overlooked and the designation of the group is based upon inherent attributes of the individuals in the population, such as race, ethnicity, gender, age etc. In the United States, systemic racism, misogyny, and homophobia have been occurring since the inception of this country and while progress has been made towards equality for all minorities, certain people have simply quieted their prejudice instead of overcoming it. The election of President Donald J. Trump gave rise and a voice to all those who have remained steadfast and stalwart in their prejudice and in a short time we’ve seen an increase in hate crimes and violence that otherwise would never be taking place. In direct opposing to the vitriol we’ve seen resistance in epic proportions, from the Women’s March to the Muslim Ban protests to a huge spike in non-profit filings with the IRS – including ours. The Caravan of Hope recognizes that the most vulnerable citizens in American have become that much more vulnerable and in addition to health care and education, an important aspect of our society is access to legal services and competent counsel, so what better time than now to take the resistance on the road.