July 1, 2021
Christmas 2020 brought together 1,000 unique donors who helped create a Christmas Miracle for the youth at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a transitional shelter, and one that caters specifically to LGBTQ+ youth up to the age of 22. While YES, the act of creating Christmas for these youth was wonderful, the overall experience left several of us wondering HOW and WHY these young people were in a shelter to begin with. On Christmas morning, we woke up in our warm beds, while they were in a church basement. We would gather under the tree and open gifts from family and friends. Their holiday had to be made for them by strangers, us – The Love Network. We feasted on our favorite Christmas delicacies at a table where we gathered with loved ones. They had to seek out a restaurant who would accept the gift cards we sent them as well as deliver to a shelter. There, they gathered with the only family they knew – themselves (and their wonderfully selfless Executive Director, Wendy – who spent her entire Christmas Eve and Day at the shelter so that the staff could be home – angels on earth!) Constantly on the forefront of our minds were two burning questions:
How did these kids end up in a shelter? What can be done to help? Answering those questions would become the catalyst that created The Colors of Love! An ALL VOLUNTEER STAFF of 14 (each of whom has my unending gratitude for taking an idea and turning it into reality) jumped on board as soon as the idea to create an advocacy agency started to become reality. We quickly went to work researching informative and educational materials being presented by bonafide sources. Months of research yielded us with one major underlying fact. There JUST isn’t enough educational materials to help facilitate a greater level of acceptance from family, friends, or community. Parents, unfamiliar with even the basic terminology, should find our platform as a place to further advance conversations that need to be said and heard correctly. With Politicians taking aim at LGBTQ+ people through restrictive legislation such as “bathroom bills” or “sports team bans”, youth everywhere are finding it increasingly difficult to express themselves freely. The media outlets only further complicate things by providing a platform by which such legislation is shared, yet not ever showing the detrimental side effects such laws cause on LGBTQ+ people. Our purpose can be found in many of the “hate comments” seen on line. We find more often than not, the overly-opinionated are usually the least educated. Those who use the bible against LGBTQ+ people are the first to forget that Jesus’s teachings were to love thy neighbor as thyself. The best way to fight hate is with love – The Colors of Love.