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Come Out with Pride 2017

QLatinx at COWP 2017.

I want to personally extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the entire team of volunteers that came out in support of QLatinx at this year's Come Out with Pride Festival and Parade. It is because of their incredible support that this year's festival was the best one yet!

Our amazing marketing and design teams have been hard at work to comb through the hundreds upon hundreds of incredible photos that were taken during the festival and have thoughtfully posted these photos on QLatinx's official Facebook and Instagram accounts. These beautiful photos truly capture the essence of Pride, from the prospective of the Queer and Trans Latinx community.

In partnership with CarlosXDiazArt, a local Queer Latinx mixed media artist, we were able to produce a brief video that helped to demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the Central Florida Queer and Trans Latinx community.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the truly wonderful community partners that helped to power some of the incredible activities that were hosted at the QLatinx booth during this year's Pride MarketPlace. We are so thankful to our dear friends at Proyecto Somos Orlando and ExpressArte for their generous donations of art supplies and talented artists that helped to make our community art piece a collaborative, colorful, and powerful symbol of solidarity.

As an organization founded and sustained by volunteers, it is an immense blessing and a truly humbling experience to work alongside such passionate and compassionate individuals who believe in the mission of this organization, who share the values of inclusive excellence, and are committed to working hand in hand to uplift those living at the margins of our society.

As we take this day to celebrate the beauty that lives and breathes within the LGBTQ+ community we also commit ourselves to advocating for the causes that matter deeply to us. We used the platform we were given to bring attention to the Trust Orlando Coalition, a group of organizations leading the establishment of a Trust Policy and Order that will declare the City of Orlando an inclusive and welcoming city for all its residents, regardless of their immigration status, religion, or country of origin. As a proud member of the Trust Orlando Coalition we felt it was imperative that we highlight the work of this group.

Trust Orlando Coalition at COWP 2017.

With an estimated 800,000 undocumented young people across the country, 267,000 undocumented youth whom identify as LGBTQ+, and nearly 6,000 undocumented immigrants residing within Orange County, we believe that it is the responsibility of our community to speak out when those most vulnerable are subjected to further trauma and violence. We stand firm in our belief that immigration issues are absolutely LGBTQ+ issues. We cannot stand idly by in the face of injustice.

As we continue to watch many federal programs, including temporary protected status (TPS), that offer relief come under barrage by this current Administration we solidify our support for local initiatives and campaigns that seek to offer support to our local communities, and we applaud the policies of various cities and states across the country doing the most they can to prevent the traumatization of already vulnerable communities. It is our hope that within our local community our allies will stand in support of this effort and truly work to make Central Florida a welcoming and inclusive community.

As I write these words my heart is filling to the brim with love and adoration for all that these wonderful individuals have contributed and represent. They are the embodiment of pride. They are the leaders of today and tomorrow. Collaboratively, they are creating a space that will continue to inspire, that affords for the investment within our communities, and that builds paths for community leaders to rise and create change.

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