Dear GCF Community,
June is both Pride and National Immigrant Heritage Month!
Green City Force stands in solidarity with our amazing LGBTQIA+ and Immigrant Corps Members, alumni, staff, board and supporters as we celebrate the contributions, traditions, identities, cultures and stories that make our communities strong!
As part of this month’s festivities, we asked GCF community members to share what Pride and/or Immigrant Heritage mean to them.
Milanii Ashford (she/her), a member of Cohort 23 shares that, “Pride means to me being satisfied and happy with who you are. An ally to me is someone whom, no matter their personal beliefs, accepts you and is loving and kind.”
Kawon Veazy (he/him), Eco-Hub Fellow for Cohort 23 and 24 and alum of Cohort 22 says, “There’s something powerful in being authentically yourself in every space you enter! Which is why it’s so important to be completely me in a field where there aren’t a lot of black queer folk doing this line of work in NYC. I’m proud to be a part of a space that allows me to express myself in all ways with no limits and I will strive to continue being ‘The Elle Woods of Farming.’ Happy Pride Month!”
This past Friday, Kawon participated in a conversation with AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith and other LGBTQIA+ AmeriCorps Members sharing their journeys, insight into how AmeriCorps can better support LGBTQIA+ members, and the impact of serving their communities with #Pride. Kawon spoke about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation throughout GCF and all levels of AmeriCorps organizations and shared that the best way allies can support is by, “helping [Queer people and Black Queer people get] through doors that we otherwise can’t get through…[allies should] advocate behind closed doors and speak up for us.” If you missed it, you can watch the full recording here!
GCF’s Director of Support Services, Felicia Prince (she/her), says that, “As we reflect on the intersection of LGBTQIA, immigration, and liberation, I honor their power and resilience. The system recognizes the power that we have and continues to be dependent on our powerlessness. I encourage folks to find their light and tap into their power because everyone has it.”
Flo Alleyne (she/her), GCF’s Director of People Operations and Administration, reflects on her own immigrant heritage, writing that, “Immigrant Heritage Month is a powerful recognition of the backbone of this nation. It intends to acknowledge the accomplishments of men, women and children who are not native to the United States but who have contributed significantly to its progress and development. As a Trinidadian woman who resides, votes and serves this nation, this recognition is extremely important and near to my heart. I am a part of an immigrant family who arrived in the US with nothing. We were poor and always had the ‘American Dream’ ahead of us. As an adult, I have come to relate closely to C.L.R James’ quote, ‘the patience and forbearance of the poor are among the strongest bulwarks of the rich.’ I encourage all who have served and are serving as immigrants to remain steadfast and persevere. Your reward awaits!”
Steve Affat (he/him), our Program Manager, says, “Pride / Immigrant Heritage Month is a time to honor the cultures and experiences that make us unique, while celebrating the ways in which it brings us together in community. I am grateful to find myself surrounded by individuals that bring such passion and diversity to the table – resulting in a positive culture of its own!”
True social and environmental justice depend on the inclusion, liberation and well-being of all, without discrimination or oppression. As we collectively fight for intersectional equity, we honor the work and commitments of those who have historically advocated for LGBTQIA+ and immigrant rights and all those who continue to push for their safety, health and empowerment all year round.
In service and solidarity,