HRC Blog

A la Familia: Moving Forward with Faith in Hand

The following post comes from A la Familia Manager Lisbeth Melendez Rivera:

Once in a while you get a chance to revisit your family with fresh eyes. A la Familia has afforded us that chance. Emerging out of a five year building process, A la Familia is a bilingual study guide for families of Latin@ LGBT people that helps individuals and communities grapple with those strange, awkward, difficult and messy moments that sprout out of the intersections of religion, faith, sexuality, gender identity and familia. A la Familia also provides us with a chance to reach familias outside of the usual places including Omaha and Southeast LA (as opposed to West Hollywood). In the process it is feeding a deep need in the Latin@ community for authentic conversation about who we are, what we believe and the power of our love. 

In Los Angeles we paired up with Planned Parenthood LA recently for a second round of trainings. One of our 15 previously trained facilitators called asking to be paired with another member of the community for a conversation on religion and homosexuality for a group of Promotoras (trainees) in Los Angeles. We provided a co-facilitator and materials. The team of two worked together to guide a conversation for ten trainees focused on exploring strategies and reactions to conversations about religion, sex and familia. All of the Promotoras found this conversation and work so exciting that they immediately signed up to be trained as facilitators to hold these dialogues across East and Southeast Los Angeles. 

In Omaha we began breaking ground in the Latin@ community by holding meetings with influential leaders and hosting a dialogue for activist and allies. Known as the gateway to the mid-lands, activists emphasized the need for taking advantage of Omaha as the place where underserved Latin@ populations are thriving. Together we are using A la Familia to lay a foundation that will allow the Latin@ community to further spring into action to support a range of LGBT concerns.

When we met last year in North Carolina we hoped that by releasing our original group of 15 impassioned trainers out into their communities A la Familia would be unleashed around the country. I am delighted to report that this is happening already in San Diego, Colorado Springs and Tulsa. Many of our original trainees have also committed to present at conferences such as Lutherans Concerned, Creating Change and the International Federation of Pride Organizations.

I encourage you to keep an eye on our upcoming events and join us when we hit your town.  Let’s keep A la Familia moving forward with faith in hand and action at heart!

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