Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

MLK Day of Service

January 21, 2013 By Chris Riley
mlk day of service

Equality California staffers across the state spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteering in their local communities

Equality California’s offices were officially closed in observation of Martin Luther King Jr day, but Equality California staffers across the state were still hard at work in their communities to observe this day of service.

Today, Online Director Shaun Osburn and I volunteered at St. Anthony Dining Room, San Francisco’s largest and oldest meal program serving homeless and low-income residents. After being given a quick run down of operation, we were put to work in their very systematic way of distributing the meal of the day. Volunteers put food on the tray, hand deliver to those who need assistance, bus the tables and clean up any spills. Those who receive meals are called guests and very much treated that way.

St. Anthony’s has a 60 year tradition of treating every guest that walks through its doors — no matter of their race, religion, identity, orientation, gender, identity — with dignity and respect. Hot, nutritious meals are served with as Dining Room staff and volunteers give referrals to those seeking anything from clean clothes, job training, substance abuse recovery or a shelter bed.

Because today was a holiday, St. Anthony’s was busier than usual, with no let up of guests. Service ran from 10:30am to about 2:15pm — normally, they stop serving at meals at 1pm. For me, celebrating Dr. King’s birthday reminds me of the end goal: community. Equality and justice for all, no matter race, religion, identity, orientation, gender or socio economic status.

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SB 1172: A Call to Action

August 27, 2012 By Sarah Thomsen

sb 1172 field staffDespite significant progress made in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement, there are those in society who continue to perceive homosexuality as temporary, or even “curable.” This state of mind is demeaning to the LGBT community and offers false justification to at least 24 clinics across California where sexual orientation conversion efforts still take place. These modern-day clinics are run by licensed mental health providers who attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors from gay to straight. The psychological stress that can result from youth being led to believe they have a “mental illness” is disturbing, particularly when unknowing parents send their children to these clinics.

Soon, however, California may be the first state in the nation to ban such discriminatory practices. Senate Bill 1172 (SB 1172) co-sponsored by Equality California, would ban licensed mental health providers from subjecting minors to sexual orientation conversion efforts. The California Senate approved SB 1172 back in May, and I had the opportunity to attend a hearing in June where an Assembly committee further approved the bill. Now with an upcoming vote on the Assembly floor, I must say I am proud to have been a part of Equality California’s field work that has furthered awareness for SB 1172.

The field work surrounding SB 1172 has offered California’s citizens a chance to lend their voices to government action. EQCA’s Northern and Southern California offices took part in Pride celebrations throughout the summer and in the process collected 8,200 signatures from constituents urging Assembly members to vote in favor of the bill. Perhaps most encouraging, however, has been the enthusiasm of individuals who have personally reached out to their elected officials.

For the past week, Equality California’s staff, interns, and volunteers called constituents in districts with undecided representatives. During these conversations, callers urged proponents of SB 1172 to be directly transferred to their legislatures’ offices where they voiced their support. During my time calling, I quickly found that people were not only willing to be transferred to their representatives; they were unabashedly eager. The dedication of the callers and the passion of the constituents resulted in over 1,000 calls made to legislators’ offices.

This collaboration has been essential in spreading the word about SB 1172 and will continue to be essential as we approach next week’s vote. If you have not informed your legislator about your position on SB 1172, please state your support now. Now is a crucial moment for this piece of legislation, and we cannot back down. We must set a precedent for the rest of our nation by banning this discriminatory practice and, ultimately, keeping our youth safe

Door-To-Door Canvassing In Los Angeles

April 27, 2012 By Guest Contributor

Anthony Sanchez
EQCA Volunteer

eqca volunteerAn afternoon in any Los Angeles neighborhood is full of more than just green grasses, broken sidewalks, and chain link fences because much like the variety of flowers in the yards so too is the variety of people who live in these homes. On this Saturday in Glassell Park I was nervous about going door-to-door at first, but after the amazing training we were given from Equality California staff I felt prepared to start having these important conversations. As expected, most of the homes are quiet and no resident is home but after a few knocks I meet one gentleman who opens his door to me.

At first he is behind the screen door and all I can see is his shadow as the light from the living room behind him radiates a television of a 24 hour news station. After a few conversation prompts, the man opens his door to engage me in some of the questions. He asks, “Did I answer it correct?” I laugh because we are asking about his opinions, which to there is no right or wrong answer. As I proceed to ask if he knows of anyone in his life who the survey could relate to it makes him stop and recount a cousin. “We don’t talk much about his personal life,” his eyes welling up, “but I love him.”

Before our conversation ends, I am sitting in his living room and he is offering me a bottle of water to refresh me on this warm afternoon. I leave him knowing that his home and opinion will become part of the fabric of our work.

On Saturday, May 12th we will be knocking on doors in Boyle Heights to talk to voters about the FAIR Education Act. We need your help! For more information on how to get involved as a volunteer, email bella@eqca.org or go to www.eqca.org/volunteer.

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