Buy Your Tickets for Black Gold 2019 Here!

Buy Your Tickets for Black Gold 2019 Here!

Join Affinity Community Services for our Casino Night Fundraiser!

Black Gold has something for everyone! We’ll have a raffle, a live DJ, dancing, and the casino game winner, will take home the coveted Affinity Community Services Black Gold Trophy!

VIP admission includes access to the VIP reception from 7:00-8:00PM, passed hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of funny money to play the casino games. You must purchase a VIP ticket to attend the VIP reception.

General admission includes passed hors d’oeuvres, and some funny money to play the casino games.

Reduced admission includes passed hors d’oeuvres, and little funny money to play the casino games.

See you there!

A Statement on Racism in the LGBTQ+ Community

A Statement on Racism in the LGBTQ+ Community

This past week we were all reminded why the work we do at Affinity is vital to our community.

When I explain Affinity’s purpose which is to serve the entire LGBTQ+ community by prioritizing the perspective of Black LGBTQ+ women, people ask me why? If the goal is to serve everyone, why would we prioritize the perspective of Black women? The reason we do it is because when you center the lives of people that experience oppression at multiple levels, absolutely everyone stands to benefit from that.

The events of this week remind us of the importance of doing the work this way, and why everyone serving the LGBTQ+ community must be intersectional in mission. The unfortunate reality is that oppression exists even within marginalized communities. LGBTQ+ people still experience racism, and sexism, and all of the oppression related to identity that non-LGBTQ+ people experience.

Racism is not just about language. Racism is often most damaging when it is difficult to name, but easy to recognize. It’s coded language. It’s like a dog whistle. Not everyone can hear it, but the sound is piercing for those of us that do.

And for those that aren’t sure, please consider this. Would anyone put a ban on pop music if Justin Bieber were playing during an incident? Of course not. It would be ridiculous. Then so is too is instituting a ban on rap music. Rap music does not cause violence, and the absence of it does not make us safer.

But taking a stance to not play rap music is a dog whistle, and that is violent. That is racially motivated. And we understand the intention, and the sentiment.

The movement for justice of LGBTQ+ people is not inherently anti-racist. We have to work to be anti-racist. In our movement, there has to be room for growth, and to learn from our mistakes so that we will make better decisions tomorrow than we did today. But let us remember, the price of this education isn’t free, and too often it comes at the expense and on the backs of those that already experience oppression. Racism is racism, even if the person didn’t mean to be racist and even after they learned to do better. And having space for growth doesn’t mean that we will ignore that. We can’t.

And lastly, protests and holding people and businesses accountable for their actions is a consequence, not a punishment. Protests have historical roots that help impacted communities heal and help us all exist together in this world. They make us all better, and Affinity is proud to be a partner in making our community more inclusive to everyone.

We are all better when we are all better, and I look forward to being better with all of you.

In Solidarity,

Imani Rupert-Gordon

Executive Director, Affinity Community Services

Transgender Day of Visibility

Transgender Day of Visibility
Today is Transgender Day of Visibility, a day when we celebrate the lives and accomplishments of transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals across the world. While we cannot underestimate the violence and discrimination that transgender and gender non-conforming people face, today is a day to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments and resiliency of a community that is oftentimes ignored and devalued.
Last month, The Trump administration took steps to lessen this visibility when they lifted protections that allowed students to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity, disproportionality hurting transgender youth. Last week, the Trump administration deleted the LGBT category in the largest national survey that measures the effectiveness of all elder services, and has proposed cuts to the 2020 census, no longer including sexual orientation and gender identity as a category. Because funding is linked to policy, and policy is linked to data, by removing these protections, and eliminating the opportunity to collect data, the Trump administration is taking steps to erase the LGBT community.
While it is imperative that we resist, let’s take some time today to celebrate how transgender individuals persist.
Here are some things you can do to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility:
* Attend a Transgender Day of Visibility event in your area. If you’re in Chicago, check out the Trans Activist Showcase at the Center on Halsted tonight at 6:00.
* Donate to your favorite Trans-led organization. Some of our favorites are: TransTech, Transformative Justice Law Project, and Chicago BTGNC
* Follow transgender activists on social media. Here are some we follow: Kat Blaque, Laverne Cox, Precious Brady-Davis, Tiq Milan, Janet Mock, Jen Richards and Angelica Ross.
Educate yourself! Here are some resources:
* Check out this film, Major! that chronicles the life of Miss Major
* Visit the website for the National Center for Transgender Equality
* Check out this podcast, One from the Vault, a podcast on trans history
Happy Transgender Day of Visibility. We see you. We are you. We love you.
For more information about Affinity, visit us at affinity95.org.

A Statement from Affinity: We are at a Crossroads

A Statement from Affinity: We are at a Crossroads
Dear Affinity Community,
We are at a crossroads, and are unsure of what lies ahead.
This is a devastating time. Many of us have spent the last few days reflecting on the world we live in. The world is a different place today than it was earlier this week, and that is a difficult dialectic to experience.
There are people that will remind you that this is not a new feeling. And indeed, it’s not. Some have seen worse. Some have felt worse. But that is not much solace for individuals in the here and now. Systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and xenophobia isn’t less painful because we’ve prepared for it, or because we’ve experienced it before.
But it is more familiar. And there is power in that. In times like these, when we are at a crossroads, we can take solace that Affinity was born because our needs, and those of our families and communities were not represented in the larger narrative. So we built our own. An intersectional one. The feelings that are resonating through our communities now are the reasons that Affinity still exists today over 20 years later.  Resilience is woven into the fabric that has made us who we are. We are not saying that we see you during this devastating time. Affinity is saying that we ARE you during this devastating time. And you can call on us.
More than ever before, it is important that we work in coalition with one another, as individuals and as organizations. We need to support groups doing the work that needs to be done in this world. We need to give what we can. Our time, our money, our expertise. We need to join the boards of organizations that mean something to us. We need to be active on the boards that we are on. We need to support our friends, families, communities and networks to do the same and contribute to their communities. We need to mentor. We need to listen. This work is not cheap. It’s not easy. There are no short cuts. And it cannot be done alone.
But luckily, it’s not being done alone. Even this short time has been punctuated by moments of resistance that fuel our resilience. We’ve seen protests and healing spaces. Op-eds and letters to our communities. We’ve seen a renewed dedication to social justice efforts. Let’s work together to create more of these moments – both large and small. They matter.
Thank you for being in community with us. We are all better, when we are all better.
In love and solidarity,
Imani Rupert-Gordon

Executive Director

Affinity Community Services