The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release LGBT Center OC
Contact info: Peg Corley 714-953-5428
LGBT Center OC is committed to hearing and learning from our community
The LGBTQ Center Orange County provides services to more than 12,000 individuals annually across a broad spectrum of culture, ethnicity, age, and economic background. Our life-affirming programs focus on empowerment, and our advocacy efforts focus on speaking out against hate and discrimination. We exist so that the LGBTQ population of Orange County has the resources needed to thrive in their own lives and join together in a network of support and unity.
One program we have offered for many years, the Policing Partnership, brings together the LGBTQ community and Orange County law enforcement agencies to better understand one another. Over the years, the Center’s programming and cultural competency trainings have assisted local law enforcement departments in adopting policies that guide officers and deputies as they encounter members of the LGBTQ community. We are also very proud that our programming has helped foster internal human resource policies within local police departments that create a safe working environment for LGBTQ officers. Our Policing Partnership has the active support of many local city police departments as well as the Orange County Sheriff’s department.
Due in part to the Policing Partnership, members of the Orange County LGBTQ law enforcement community and allies have joined The Center in OC Pride parades, trans- rights march and various other community events over the last decade while in uniform. We believe these moments are emblematic of how far the relationship between our community and local law enforcement has progressed given the origins of the modern LGBTQ rights movement at the Stonewall Inn.
Participation by uniformed members of the Policing Partnership was not controversial prior to this OC Pride when allied constituency groups to one of our youth groups expressed concerns. The Center continues to believe the Policing Partnership has great value to the entire Orange County community, although we understand not everyone in our community agrees. There continues to be profoundly sad events taking place across the country that cry out for engagement, listening and understanding; the very reasons why the Center’s partnership was created and cultivated over the years.
Following the 2019 OC Pride parade where some demonstrators protested due to expressing frustration that they were not heard, The Center immediately contacted the Orange County Human Relations Commission to seek their assistance in facilitating dialog with those who felt left out of the discussions about the Policing Partnership. The Commission agreed to facilitate a number of listening/healing sessions so that we could hear and learn from those who felt marginalized. The Commission has held a number of these meetings that also included sessions with both employees and the Board of Directors of the Center. The commission continues to seek feedback from the affected groups which have declined to participate up to this point. We continue to encourage the organizations that have expressed concern to participate in this restorative process.
The Center remains committed to allowing the commission to complete their sessions. We sincerely hope our willingness to learn from each other will heal the wounds that this episode has raised. The Center stands committed to our mission and advancing our community together.
Board of Directors
The LGBT Center OC
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