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Blog posts featuring our community partners are designed to highlight the services of local organizations in the District of Columbia. Our goal is to increase the visibility of supportive services in order to help make the recovery process faster and easier for victims of crime. Our featured partner for the month of July is The DC Center for the LGBT Community.
In 1999, the Cherry Fund and Whitman Walker Clinic formed a committee to discuss plans to create a LGBT Community Center in the District of Columbia. Three years after the committee was formed, the DC Center was officially approved and founded. Since then, the Center has spent every day creating a holistic and safe space for education and empowerment for the LGBT community in the District of Columbia.
The DC Center has four service areas: Arts, Advocacy & Community Building, Social Activities/Support Services, and Health & Wellness.
The DC Center has become an integral part of the artistic community in the District of Columbia. They host a variety of programs and groups for anyone to join through their group, Center Arts, in order to celebrate the creativity of the LGBT community and their allies. Center Arts also organizes a variety of meetups at local film festivals and theater shows.
Center Arts also organizes OutWrite, an annual LGBT book festival. This year, OutWrite will be August 5- August 7, 2016. The festival consists of a variety of readings, workshops, and a new and used LGBT book fair.
Advocacy & Community Building
The DC Center engages in advocacy and community building throughout the District every year. This past year, they worked with legislators and community members to help pass the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Amendment Act of 2015. This act requires the city’s public schools to adopt suicide prevention policies that specifically address the needs of LGBT youth. The Center also works to connect visitors with their partners. If the Center doesn’t provide a service a survivor needs, they can help find someone who does.
One of their programs, Center Global, works with undocumented individuals and individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries to seek protection of a new and safer life. Center Global also raises awareness within the DC community about ongoing human rights issues, such as LGBT community members being persecuted in their own countries. The DC Center’s influence extends outside of Washington DC and reaches globally.
Social Activities & Support Services
The DC Center hosts various groups that specialize in bringing people together for social activities and events. Each group combines a unique part of the overall LGBT community for meet ups, discussion groups, and other events. Their communities are as followed:
- Center Women
- Center Men
- Center Bi
- Center Trans
- Center Black
- Center APA (Asian Pacific American)
- Center Latinos
- Center Deaf
- Center Seniors
- Center Youth
- Center Poly
- Gender Queer
Each group has their own meeting time and events that they coordinate to bring the LGBT community of DC together to celebrate their individuality.
In response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which had a devastating impact on LGBT, Latinx, and Muslim communities across the nation, the DC Center hosted a community check-in as a way to recognize and respond to the pain. It was a chance to talk, debrief, reflect on the lives lost, and come together as a community. There were several therapists on site, including the DC Center’s own Samantha Shinberg, who assisted in the debriefing process.
Health & Wellness
The DC Center offers a wide variety of Health and Wellness Services, including:
- Freedom from Smoking – Seven week class helping LGBT individuals quit smoking.
- Free and confidential HIV tests – Once a month the Center offers free and confidential HIV tests. The July date for testing is going to be on July 9, 2016. Between 4pm and 7pm. They also provide free condoms to promote safe sex and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
- bePrEPed app – The bePrEPed app serves as a means to find providers that administer PrEP (A drug that prevents HIV), to set reminders and alerts about taking pills and medication, and learn more about PrEP.
The Health and Wellness program also includes the DC Anti Violence Project. The primary mission of this project is to reduce violence against LGBT individuals through community outreach, education, and monitoring of current cases to ensure that the rights and dignity of LGBT victims are represented and protected.
The DC Center Community recently welcomed Samantha Shinberg to the staff their new social worker. Samantha has a background in assisting clients through trauma. She is available at the Center for free individual and group counseling. Sam has even gone as far as to reach out to the community to find out what the needs were and what programs would be best implemented .
She has launched a new support group called the Survivors of Violence Support Group. The group meets every other week starting June 24, 2016, from 6pm-7pm. While the group has begun with a focus on the Orlando shooting, it will also focus on violence on a large and small scale. The next group session for those dealing with the Orlando shootings is this Friday, July 8th, from 6 PM – 7 PM
Phone: (202) 682-2245
Email (for counseling): [email protected]
Address: 2000 14th St NW #105, Washington, DC 20009