Safe Spaces Save Lives Campaign
When the Hudson River Park Trust fenced off and redeveloped the Christopher Street Pier in 2001, LGBTQ youth who have historically built a safe space on the pier and in the West Village, weren't invited to be part of the negotiating process or have a say in how the piers would change.
In 2003, we saw the direct impact of our absence. The redeveloped piers closed at 1am, which limited access for LGBTQ youth, who often face unsafe environments at home and in school. And this was just the beginning. The Hudson River Park Trust also began charging medical service vans a $25,000 permit fee to park on the pier, and started closing the pier bathrooms early.
In 2005, FIERCE launched our Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign to ensure the needs of LGBT youth of color were not forgotten in the wake of this redevelopment process.
Our demands were simple:
- acknowledge that LGBTQ youth of color are an important part of the West Village community
- allow our voices to be heard in the pier development process.
Violence, deteriorating resources and limited access to safe public space in our neighborhoods are dangerous and challenging realities. FIERCE continues to organize through our Safe Space Saves Live Campaign to ensure that the piers and surrounding West Village remail safe for LGBTQ youth.
FIERCE is building and expanding our relationships with the Hudson River Park Trust, Community Board 2, merchants, residents, organizations and elected officials in the West Village. Through our work, we hope to generate sustainable, impactful changes in the commuinty that center the needs of LGBTQ Youth and involve us in the process, especially when it comes to safety and resources. FIERCE also meets with 6th Precinct to hold NYPD accountable to their treatment and interaction with LGBTQ youth.
Summer Programming on the Pier
FIERCE continues to maintain free summer programs on Pier 45 & 46 for LGBTQ Youth, including movie screenings, artistic nights and a mini-ball with the Kiki Coalition. Stay tuned to our website for more information.
FIERCE members have worked hard over the past two years to gain a seat at the negotiating table over the future of the pier. FIERCE was once seen as a group of unwelcomed outsiders. Through consistent attendance at Community Board 2 meetings and building relationships with LGBTQ organizations and West Village residents, FIERCE members have transformed that image into one of shared commitment; we are seen as strategic young people who have a real voice and stake in shaping public policy. With this hard work has come concrete victories
FIERCE has successfully:
- Eliminated the $25,000 fee charged to mobile service vans doing outreach on the pier and our campaign platform has been endorsed by 21 LGBTQ organizations across New York City.
- Stopped the proposal to shut down the pier at 10pm.
- Prevented the barricading of LGBT Youth from Christopher Street at 1am.
- Secured free LGBTQ programming on the pier since 2009. FIERCE has launched over 10 events in the past 3 years.
- Secured an appointment to the Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council