by: Modesto Tico Valle, CEO, Center on Halsted
We’re just over eight months into the Coronavirus pandemic, and I continue to be inspired by your generosity and thoughtfulness. Since July, you’ve helped us reach 6,461 individuals — from Zoom classes for Seniors to rental assistance through the HIV Resource Hub.
October has always been a time of reflection for me and the Center on Halsted staff. During LGBTQ History Month, we recognize LGBTQ trailblazers, advocates, and allies, like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Representative John Lewis, who believed in building community and securing safe spaces for LGBTQ people to learn, connect, and heal. Their vision, coupled with your leadership and generosity, has positioned Center on Halsted to provide positive outcomes for our community during these challenging times.
Across all departments, from Silver Fork to HIV to Behavioral Health, our holistic approach to care has calmed fears and provided hope. As more LGBTQ people struggle to find jobs, they seek our support for basic life essentials — food, housing, employment, healthcare, and therapy. Through the pandemic, we have also been reminded of the personal violence and traumas some have experienced at home during shelter in place. We have connected individuals to safer environments and provided additional counseling and resources for their safety. I invite you to learn more about our Anti-Violence Project as we participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Our masks and social distancing haven’t prevented us from building community. I’m excited to share the resounding success in our first virtual WERQ LGBTQ Job Fair with 30 participating corporations and more than 400 job-seeking registrants. To accommodate the virtual environment, we expanded the event to two days with a total of four sessions. Corporations continue to seek our guidance as they develop diversity initiatives and goals.
“Connecting with companies directly through the WERQ Job Fair allowed me to ask questions about specific positions and built my confidence in applying for jobs that fit my experiences. I was also able to ask about their culture and how they’ve embraced the LGBTQ and Latin communities.” — Carlos, job seeker
Center on Halsted will once again host warm meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas for youth and seniors. As you know, many of these individuals are unstably-housed, have few family members in Chicago, and seek connections. Loyal volunteers have played a key role in creating these holiday moments, and we’re excited to be a place of joy and family.
I want to thank you for staying connected to our work, checking in on your fellow LGBTQ community, and helping us navigate the new normal. In the coming weeks, we will share more about our impact over the past year and our holiday fundraising campaign match.
Modesto Tico Valle
CEO, Center on Halsted