Connect Our Roots Summit to highlight organizing strategies and tactics to address homelessness, police violence and diminishing services for LGBTQ Youth

February 11, 2013


Manny Vaz: 646-336-6789, ext. 209
646-709-2064 (cell),

“As LGBTQ youth of color, we stand at the intersections of many identities and issues. We are queer and trans. We are people of color. We are immigrants. We are from low-income families. Tomake meaningful, lasting change, we must organize a movement where those of us who are most directly impacted by the issues are at the heart of leadership!” -- Ana Conner, FIERCE National Fellow, age 20

WHAT: Over 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color, representing 16 cities from across the country, will gather in Chicago from February 15-17 for a three- day grassroots organizing summit. The Connect Our Roots organizing summit will include youth-led workshops to build organizing skills and share organizing models and strategies. Participants will discuss specific conditions they are facing in their regions, lead political education sessions on topics such as LGBTQ history and immigration, and conduct visionary planning to build the presence, capacity and effectiveness of LGBTQ youth organizing across the U.S.

The Connect Our Roots Summit is organized by FIERCE, a NYC-based organization dedicated to building the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color. FIERCE is working in partnership with Chicago-based host committee members: Young Women’sEmpowerment Project, Affinity, Broadway Youth Center, and GenderJust.

WHEN: Friday, February 15 thru Sunday, February 17, 2013

WHERE:   HI-Chicago
                 24 East Congress Parkway
                 Chicago, IL

The Connect Our Roots summit is only open to registered media. To protect the confidentiality of youth participants, some sessions will be closed. Media are invited to attend the youth organizing panel at 7pm on Friday, February 15. Interviews can also be arrange by contacting Manny Vaz at 646-709-2064 or

WHY: Everyday, thousands of LGBTQ youth, and disproportionately youth of color, experience homelessness, a lack of safe public spaces, violence, and criminalization. Despite increased visibility of LGBTQ issues like gay marriage and anti-gay bullying, the experiences of LGBTQ youth of color are largely left out of mainstream discourse, along with the complexity of issues impacting their lives.

While there are a growing number of LGBTQ youth organizations across the country, many are serviced-based and not engaged in developing progressive campaigns to meet the urgent needs of LGBTQ youth or address the root causes that allow problems to continue. It is critical to build an LGBTQ multi-strategy movement—one that emphasizes grassroots community organizing as a strategy for change. It is equally critical to support the development of young people’s leadership to identify their problems and build their political power to demand solutions created by and for LGBTQ youth. The Connect Our Roots national summit is an alternative space to do just that—to help build a LGBTQ movement that centers youth organizing and empowers LGBTQ youth of color experiences, dialogues and solutions.

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Connect Our Roots Summit Hashtags: #CORS2013 and #ConnectOurRoots.


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