A Latinx LGBTQ Organization for the Communitycsudhbulletin November 15, 2022 0 COMMENTS
Angel Elizalde, outreach member for the Latino Equality Alliance, standing in front of a mural they received from the community. Photo by Cesar Armas
By Cesar Armas, Staff Reporter
At California State University, Dominguez Hills, a number of students identify with the Latinx and the LGBTQ community. Although there are resources on campus such as Latinx Cultural Resource Center or the Queer Culture and Resource Center, students may also want to join outside organizations.
Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) is a non-profit organization based in Boyle Heights, California that supports the wellness and safety of the young Latinx and LGBTQ community. They also frequently collaborate with the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, which provides different programs and services to the LGBTQ community such as housing, education, and health services.
LEA was initially founded on Jan. 9, 2008 with the mission to reach the Latinx population in the Los Angeles area and educate the local community about Proposition 8, which was intended to ban same-sex marriage.
Rather than having long-term goals in the distant future, the organization likes to plan things little by little and try to check those goals off one by one. The organization holds many events for the community and its supporters.
“We started out with five people and currently we have 11 people working with us now. We also want to expand to the southeast Los Angeles area,” Angel Elizalde, one of LEA’s outreach members, said. “We hold the ‘Pride Pantry,’ which is basically free produce, food, and canned goods given to people who need it.”
Elizalde mentioned that aside from giving back, LEA rewards members who have provided for their community by holding the Purple Lily Awards, an annual celebration and award ceremony that celebrates those who have made a difference within the LGBTQ community, such as community leaders. Organizations like ABC 7 Los Angeles have received this award along with many activists and pioneers.
The Los Angeles Times wrote an article about the ceremony and what it was like to experience it. “Above all, the ceremony served as a way to bridge different elements of Latino and LGBTQ cultures. Conchas, traditional Mexican sweetbreads frosted with the distinct colors of pride flags representing various identities within the LGBTQ communities, were passed out to attendees,” Heidi Perez-Moreno, wrote.
Another event LEA holds for its youth members and students is the annual “LGBTQ Youth Scholarship Ceremony,” which was created for college-bound youth. Through this scholarship, they have been able to award 40 scholarships totaling $60,000. Since college can be very expensive, providing scholarships to students can assist them with the push they need to succeed in their education goals.
The organization also hosts a “Calavera LGBTQ Festival,” an annual celebration of queer and Latinx culture. The festival will gather friends, family, supporters and Latinx artists for a celebration of traditional altars and a “Mx. Calavera Drag” competition. Attendees can get first-hand experience with Latinx culture and learn from the experience in a welcoming and fun environment.
One of LEA’s main goals is to make a difference in their community by holding different and entertaining events, welcoming allies, and reaching diverse audiences.