Dear Gender JUST members and friends,
I'm writing to, first, wish you a Happy New Year!
I'm also writing to give you news and updates about Gender JUST and the exciting new directions we're taking in this coming year and the future.
Sadly, Gender JUST saw a severe dip in our cash flow in 2011. The economy has been rough all around, particularly on funders, and this meant that many of our anticipated grants did not come through. This has meant cutting back on some of our paid positions, including that of Staff Organizer, Andrés Gallegos, who joined us in April 2011.
However, we are very fortunate that Andrés will be continuing to work with Gender JUST as a member and as part of Gender JUST's leadership team, helping to coordinate our campaigns. I hope you will join me in thanking him for his commitment to GJ and his passion for our work.
I will take on as Policy Director.
As of this time, Gender JUST will not have paid positions. Andrés and I are both working pro bono because we are deeply committed to Gender JUST and want to ensure that this organization continues to thrive, develop, and grow into its capacity to make meaningful change.
As you know, we gained attention in the summer of 2011 for our critical work around racism and transphobia in Chicago’s Lakeview area, when residents and business owners evoked racist and classist stereotypes to address issues of safety. Gender JUST youth leaders responded to the controversy by initiating dialogues with community leaders and the Center on Halsted, where we have been working to create a restorative justice policy that challenges the harsh and punitive measures that keep youth from accessing critical resources. COH staff and youth have been meeting with Gender JUST youth leaders for months, and we have had great success.
In 2012, Gender JUST is committed to continuing and expanding this work. Through our COURSE (Committee on Urban Resource Sustainability and Equity) campaign, we will fight to address and correct the sometimes toxic anti-youth environment in Lakeview while addressing resources inequities on Chicago’s South and West side for LGBTQ communities. We have already begun doing important coalition-building work amongst health-providers in these neighborhoods. This year, we plan to bring this coalition into light to specifically address the lack of funding for LGBTQ-friendly HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs on the South and West sides.
All of this is a step forward to a more unified and cohesive set of campaigns, and it means that the vital work of Gender JUST will continue to move forward with clear goals and a highly motivated set of activists and thinkers who continue to shift the paradigms of organizing and social justice.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org,
Yasmin Nair, Policy Director