Uniting Communities: The Toolkit
Publication date –2010
Developed by – Western States Center

Aims, objectives, and intended audience

Uniting Communities: The Toolkit is designed to help community and organizational leaders examine the intersections of LGBT equality and racial justice. It was created with organizers of color in mind, particularly those in organizations that are not already actively working on LGBT issues or those in organizations with a largely heterosexual membership. The intended audience includes organizers, activists, and leaders in communities of color or immigrant and refugee communities.

Broad structure and key educational methods

Uniting Communities: The Toolkit is comprised of three modules, each of which contains five to eight workshops or activities. The time suggested for each activity varies from 45 minutes to two hours, with most in the 60-90 minute range. Interspersed throughout the curriculum are ten case studies from assorted social justice organizations that share their experiences working with issues related to LGBT equality. Another standout feature of Uniting Communities is an extensive visual Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice and LGBT Equality timeline. This timeline, which is also featured in Standing Together, is based on the timeline by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights found in the BRIDGE curriculum. Finally, interspersed throughout Uniting Communities are case studies of organizations based in communities of color and immigrant and refugee communities that have engaged in the work of connecting the struggle for racial justice and immigrant rights to LGBT equality.

Key topics or themes by module

1. Getting Started

This module aims to help participants become comfortable with the language and terms associated with LGBT issues. Beyond simply building this shared language, the materials in this section also guide participants toward recognizing the impacts of LGBT oppression. Some activities provide opportunities for folks to assess where their respective organizations stand in terms of LGBT equality, specifically in the areas of the organization’s programs, power structure, policies, culture, and people. Case studies in this module include the Immigrant and Refugee Family Strengthening Program, the UCLA Labor Center, and Center Pole Foundation.

2. Linking the Issues

The materials in this module seek to help organizations connect the work that they are already doing in various fields (racial justice, health care, economic issues, etc.) to the fight for LGBT equality. Questions that arise throughout the module encourage participants to examine the ways in which LGBT people of color are impacted by various issues. A key component of this module is the timeline that examines the shared histories of the racial justice, immigrant justice, refugee justice, and LGBT equality struggles. Uniting Communities presents oppression as a cultural, individual, and institutional phenomenon.

Case studies included in this module are Latinos Unidos Siempre, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, and Partnership for Safety and Justice.

3. Moving to Action

This final Uniting Communities module assists organizations in embracing the role of being allies to the LGBT community. Activities from this portion of the curriculum give participants an opportunity to practice interrupting homophobic and transphobic language, and provides guidance on overcoming wedge issues and responding to anti-gay ballot initiatives.

Case studies on South Asian Network, Providence Youth and Student Movement, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste are found in this module.

Curriculum acquisition information

This curriculum is available for purchase from Western States Center in either English or Spanish. http://www.westernstatescenter.org/our-work/uniting_communities/uniting-communities-toolkit

The Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice, and LGBT Equality Timeline from The Toolkit is available as a free download at the same URL.  You’ll have to complete a free registration to access this timeline.

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