Grantee Partner FIERCE Victory: October Named LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month in NYC

Published on Oct 21, 2010

Astraea grantee partner FIERCE succeeded in their campaign to name October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month in New York City when Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed an official proclamation after nearly 100 LGBTQ youth, elected officials, and allies rallied at City Hall on October 21st to address LGBTQ youth suicides and anti-LGBTQ attacks in New York City.

USA- New York

FIERCE released a statement declaring, “LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month is dedicated to honoring LGBTQ youth leadership and supporting the work LGBTQ youth are doing to transform their communities and their lives. In light of the tragic events that have taken place this month and since Coming Out Day is October 11, we want this October and all future Octobers to be a time we lift up and support LGBTQ youth leaders.  Empowerment means being seen, heard and having the power to make the changes we need immediately.”

Elected officials, community members, and allied organizations, including Astraea, endorsed FIERCE’s campaign for LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month.
For more, read the FIERCE press release about the event:

LGBTQ Youth, Elected Officials and Allies Speak Out about Youth Suicides and Anti-Gay Violence
Mayor Bloomberg Releases Official Proclamation Naming October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month in New York City

(New York, NY) Today, nearly one hundred youth, advocates, allies and elected officials gathered on the steps of City Hall as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth spoke out about the recent suicides and anti-gay attacks impacting their community. Youth member leaders of FIERCE, an LGBTQ youth of color-led organization, were joined by the Mayor’s Office and other elected officials, to release an official proclamation declaring October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month in New York City, this year and for all coming years.

“We are thrilled to have the Mayor, Speaker Quinn and other elected officials’ support of LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month,” stated John Blasco, Organizer at FIERCE. “It is crucial that we continue working together to create even more spaces for LGBTQ youth to take leadership in their communities and in their fight for justice.”

FIERCE was joined at the rally by NY City Council members Daniel Dromm and Lew Fidler, and Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Youth and Community Development Susan Haskell, who presented an official Proclamation from the Mayor.
“In the many years that I and my colleagues in government and the community have been working with FIERCE, we have made great strides for New York City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth,” stated NY State Senator Tom Duane, an endorser of FIERCE’s call to make October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month. “But there is much more to be done, and the recent violent homophobic attacks and suicides of LGBTQ youth only underscore the magnitude of our challenge.”

“I’m so pleased that our youth are taking control of their lives and declaring October as LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month,” stated Daniel Dromm, New York City Council Member (D-Jackson Heights). “We need to send a strong message that gay is good, that gay is great and that we wouldn’t want to be any other way.”

Over the past several weeks, FIERCE has been working with city and state officials and other LGBTQ organizations to build support for LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month. In light of the tragic events that have take place this month and since Coming Out Day is October 11, FIERCE released a call to action to lift up the voices and work of LGBTQ youth in New York City and across the county. To date, over 20 organizations and a number of elected officials have endorsed the call to action.

“We chose empowerment because to us, empowerment means being seen, heard, and having the power to make the changes we need immediately,” stated Veronica Tirado, FIERCE Youth Member. “Today, FIERCE calls on our elected officials for their support. We need policy changes that ensure safe spaces in our schools and jobs. We need funding for LGBTQ youth programs and services. And we need your support in creating more safe spaces for us to be who we are without the threat of violence.”

“LGBTQ Youth from New York City, like other youth across the country are reeling from the recent string of bullying, hate crimes and suicides in the news. I congratulate FIERCE for pulling together all of the participants and endorsers at today’s press conference. I join with them in declaring October LGBTQ empowerment month,” said NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “In recognition of these difficulties facing our city’s youth, my office and other members of the City Council – including Council Members Danny Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer, Rosie Mendez and Lew Fidler – are calling together all LGBTQ youth groups and advocates for a roundtable meeting,” added Speaker Quinn.

“LGBTQ youth will have the opportunity to share their experiences and express their ideas for promoting greater safety and respect in our city. We will discuss ways for all parties, including government and community groups, to work together collaboratively to ensure that our youth remain proud and productive members of our city,” concluded Speaker Quinn.  FIERCE will continue to build support to meet the dire needs of LGBTQ youth and ensure that LGBTQ youth are leading these change efforts.

“For us, as LGBTQ youth, the time to act is now. We know that these issues are not new. Our community faces challenges like bullying, harassment, homelessness, and lack of safe spaces and services on a daily basis,” stated Michelle Riddle, FIERCE Youth Member. “Today, we show our power as LGBTQ youth and take a stand for what we want and need—not only for our generation but for generations to come.”


A complete list of endorsers available online at

FIERCE’s Statement & Call to Action available online at

Founded in 2000, FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian,gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City. We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. FIERCE