A one-day symposium focusing on immigration, HIV, and the mental health of Caribbean LGBTQ communities, with presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and clinics – including confidential HIV testing and counseling, confidential mental health counseling/intervention, and immigration consultations will be held in New York, next month. Those invited include LGBT people of color of Caribbean descent living in NYC, LGBT from Africa, advocates, activists, and mental health professionals, legal and immigration representatives, providing resources, such as clinics for advice and consultations, presentations, panel discussions. This symposium is being held by DBGM, Caribbean Equality Project, CK Life, Gay Caribbean USA Pageant, NBLCA, and The Interchurch Center.
When: Saturday, March 12, 2016 Where: The Interchurch Center, 61 Claremont Ave, New York, NY 10027 (between 119th St and 120th St, one block west of Broadway, #1 Train to 116th St) Time: Arrival – Registration – 8:30am (Register on Eventbrite at http://breakingsilences.eventbrite.com) Welcome – 10:00am Conclude/End – 5:00pm
A light breakfast and lunch will be provided, and a two-ride MetroCard will be given to registered attendees. Registration is required, click here http://breakingsilences.eventbrite.com
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Background: A member of the planning team for this symposium, Kim Watson, a transgender female originally from Barbados, and the co-founder of CK Life, an organization assisting transgender transition from one gender to another, was featured in an article where she described facing deportation for being out of legal status, and how through active advocacy and representation, deportation proceedings were halted and she is on track to obtaining legal permanent residence. Her experience raised the issue that there are LGBT from many Caribbean countries in the NYC area, predominantly Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, who out of fear live in the shadows, often without access to health care, mental health care and legal status. Many live and suffer from a variety of mental health issues, and many are also living with HIV, which adds another layer of stigma, shame and discrimination – another secret to hide from themselves and their families. This led to the formation of a planning team for a day-long symposium.
Purpose: Acknowledging that there are many LGBT people of color from the Caribbean living and working in NYC, that representatives of Caribbean-based organizations have joined to raise awareness through providing accurate and essential information and education, to enable many who live in fear and in the shadows, to realize they are not alone, they can get help.
Target Audience: The audience for this symposium will include LGBT people of color of Caribbean descent living in NYC, LGBT from Africa, advocates, activists, and mental health professionals, legal and immigration representatives, providing resources, such as clinics for advice and consultations, presentations, panel discussions.
Clinics: • HIV - testing and counseling • Mental Health – therapists consultations • Immigration – attorneys consultations
Among the many issues facing Caribbean LGBT in NYC, the planning team recognizes the following: • Interactions with the police – incarceration, sex work, petty crimes (survival), domestic/intimate partner violence, NYPD relations • Immigration – deportation, asylum, a work permit and a green card • Mental Health – depression and other mental health issues • Legal – name and official document changes (transgender), same-sex/transgender adoptions
Draft Program (in no particular order): • Presentation: Know Your Rights – NYPD representative • Panel Discussion: Immigration (Deportation, Asylum, Green Card, Work Permit) • Presentation & Panel Discussion: Depression & HIV, other mental health issues affecting immigrants • Presentation & Panel Discussion: Incarceration, Sex Work, Petty Crimes, Domestic/Intimate Partner violence • Presentation: Legal - Transgender (name change), same-sex adoptions
Thanks to The Interchurch Center for their generosity and hospitality.