Monday, March 21, 2011

Brooklyn Community Pride Center seeks to connect LGBT Brooklynites

By Caran Wakefield

Out of the five boroughs that comprise New York City, Brooklyn's LGBT population is arguably the largest and most diverse. But until recently, Brooklyn had no LGBT-oriented community center—making it the last district to provide this service for its residents. In 2008, Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn pledged $2 million in capital funding towards the creation of the Brooklyn Community Pride Center. Since it opened its doors in 2009, BCPC has been working relentlessly—not only to provide various supports and services to the community, but also to serve as a hub of information regarding related organizations in Brooklyn. By promoting the empowerment; development and general welfare of the community with emphasis on gender, racial and ethnic parity, the Center is committed to affecting positive change within the borough and the LGBT community at large.

BCPC has offered a wide range of programs, ranging from social to educational. In the past, BCPC has hosted legal clinics, panel discussions, and holiday parties for same-sex families. More recently launched services include coming out groups for men and women (with Identity House), after-school youth programs (at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice) and workshops for older adults.

Last April, BCPC hosted its first Founder's Ball fundraiser at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. The money that was raised allowed the organization to expand much-needed services in the borough. This year, this event will feature live entertainment, h'ors d'oeuvres, an open bar, and a silent auction. The Founder's Ball also provides an opportunity to network with other individuals who share a commitment to the LGBT community. The money raised from the event will allow BCPC to further develop its programming, and obtain a permanent space where these programs can be hosted.

Caran Wakefield is with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center.

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