Portland, OR Love Makes A Family, Inc.
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Love Makes A Family, Inc, is a diverse organization, addressing specific needs of queer families while maintaining a commitment to a broader progressive agenda.
Love Makes A Family was founded in 1992 and incorporated in 1993 when a racially diverse group of sexual minorities in Oregon and Southwest Washington came together to oppose anti-gay Ballot Measure Nine. Since then, we have provided peer support and organized avenues of advocacy for sexual minority families, sexual minority youth, and our allies, free of charge. In the past ten years, Oregonians have been barraged by three statewide anti-gay ballot measures launched by the Oregon Citizen's Alliance (OCA). As the OCA, which is based in socially conservative, predominantly white churches throughout Oregon, prepares yet another anti-gay ballot measure attacking public schools and begins to network with socially conservative churches in African American and Latino communities, it is clear that our work organizing sexual minority families of all races and building alliances is far from over.
Love Makes A Family grew out of organizing within Quaker Meetings (Religious Society Friends) to gain marriage equality. We advocate and educate for family equality, social justice, and peace using a three pronged social change strategy designed to support our constituency, initiate institutional change, and provide a public voice to change public attitudes.
Love Makes A Family especially seeks opportunities to interact with people who do not agree with us, and we provide training to grassroots activists in ways to use nonviolent speech to engage in productive dialogs in response to verbal attacks. Out of our experience dialoging with people who oppose LGBT rights we created a program, Opening Hearts and Minds, to train grassroots people in verbal nonviolence skills. The central method we created and teach, LARA, is now used by number of groups.
During the past 16 years we provided direct support for LGBT parents and children, advocacy for policy changes in schools, a talk radio program on a traditional station (KKEY), organizing for marriage equality, support for LGBTQ youth organizing, and training of grassroots activists in skills for verbal non violent direct action. We continue to advocate for LGBT family rights, while also responding to a wider range of concerns including ending the U.S occupation of Iraq, police accountability, and standing for the rights of immigrants. Last year we provided family activities at four pride fairs and two peace fairs, carried peace banners in the Portland Gay Pride Parade, and Love Makes A Family banners in several peace demonstrations and the May Day march in Portland. We sent speakers to 15 community groups to discuss LGBT family issues, school bullying, social change organizing, civil disobedience, and nonviolent verbal response to conflict.
Since 2004 we have sponsored an outreach booth on family equality at the Oregon State Fair. For the past two years, with the support of eleven other organizations we've added bilingual volunteers and a booth on peace. 140 volunteers staffed the 2007 and 2008 booths for the eleven day Fair. Each year we distributed about 15,000 stickers that say "Love Makes A Family" and "Peace is a Family Value," and collected hundreds of signatures on petitions calling for equality in family legislation, for ending the US military presence in the Middle East and keeping the National Guard at home. We also partner with PFLAG in supporting a booth at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls, MT. In 2009 we will also have booths at the Yakima and Clackamas County Fairs in Oregon.
Love Makes A Family is also a partner in a national project, Seven Straight Nights, which organizes a week of 24 hour vigils around the country for marriage equality which are led by straight people. In Oregon, the 2007 and 2008 vigils included a dance on the State Capitol steps which drew a mixture of youth, middle aged Quakers and others from religious communities.
Love Makes A Family is a social change organization. We educate and advocate for family equality, social justice, and peace.
Our goal is to create a supportive environment within our communities by providing a public voice for all families, especially those subjected to social, economic and legal discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
We provide support to sexual minority families and sexual minority youth, build social change through changes in institutions, and educate the public to support full equality and economic justice for all people.
Our hope is to empower individuals to become lifelong, independent social change activists who know how to work with others to change institutions.
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