The board and leadership of Philadelphia Family Pride writes today to say, emphatically, that Black Lives Matter. We (re)affirm that the on-going, systematic, state-sanctioned violence against Black people by this country is a crime that cannot continue and that an end to white supremacy is long, long overdue.
As an organization dedicated to LGBTQ families, we feel called to remind our community that the history of LGBTQ rights is filled with “violent” protests, property destruction, riots, and many other responses to the unjust oppression of a people. This is not the time to worry about methods. It has been 520 years since the first African people were kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas. 520 years of state-sanctioned genocide in one form or another, from enslavement to the prison industrial complex. The Boston Tea party was a property destroying protest; the Boston Massacre started with rocks thrown at soldiers. We celebrate those riots as acts of patriotism and bravery – and they were just fighting about taxes and voting rights. How can any reaction to 520 years of violence be seen as anything but justified?
To those in our community who may say that racism is not the work of an LGBTQ organization, we remind you that we are a vibrant multi-racial community. And that, sadly, our community is not immune to racism and white supremacy. Much of the work for LGBTQ liberation has been (and continues to be) led by people of color, only for those people and their critical work to be erased. If we as an LGBTQ community do not stand against racism, we abandon ourselves, our families, our history, our community.
To those of us who are not Black – we will be re-posting reading lists and other resources for educating ourselves and our children and taking appropriate action on our Facebook page. The first and most tangible way to support this fight is to provide resources to those on the front lines. Consider supporting the following grassroots organizations:
Philly Community Bail Fund https://www.phillybailout.com/
Black Lives Matter, Philly Chapter: http://www.blmphilly.com/donate/
Black & Brown Workers Cooperative: http://blackandbrownworkerscoop.org/
Black Visions Collective: https://secure.everyaction.com/4omQDAR0oUiUagTu0EG-Ig2
Reclaim The Block: https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2
Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate
We at PFP are working hard to respond to the needs of our members during the stay at home order in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Online drag queen story times, parent meetups and parenting talks have happened already, but we want to hear from you!.
Please fill out this short survey - https://forms.gle/zSMZC5H7UiELn44SA
It's a new year and PFP has a new idea! We are going to collect your favorite easy, weeknight dinner recipes and compile them into PFP's first ever cookbook! The book will be a fundraiser for the group and available in both PDF and print versions. (PFP members who submit a recipe will receive a free copy.)
So, what are your favorite easy, weeknight recipes? We are hoping for a wide range of dietary needs too: vegan, gluten free, etc..
Submit your recipes at this link - as many as you'd like! We will compile as many as we can and will credit each family whose recipes are used for publication.
Help Philly Family Pride raise $1,000 on #GivingTuesday December 3rd to assist in funding our support of LGBTQ-led families in and around Philadelphia in the coming year.
You can donate on our web site here or on our Facebook page. Thank you!
Philadelphia Family Pride’s mission is to build community for LGBTQ+ parents, prospective parents, grandparents and our kids of all ages – including adults, youth, kids, toddlers and infants. We support our families in the greater Philadelphia region through advocacy, education and family-centered events.
PFP is an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ prospective parents and families to engage in social events, education and advocacy. We strive to create a fun, reflective and supportive environment where our diverse identities are valued and nurtured while working to promote a more just world.
At the 2019 Family Matters Conference, there were several incidents where presenters and volunteers used gendered language that was harmful to our attendees and members of our community. We take these incidents seriously, and are committed to making our events as welcoming and affirming as possible for all who attend.
The PFP board apologizes for any harm these incidents caused. We are an organization made up of LGBTQ parents of all genders, and we are sincerely sorry for alienating members of our community.
For future conferences, we will be asking all conference volunteers to abide by Community Guidelines that will explicitly ask that volunteers and speakers use gender expansive language at the conference to be inclusive of the wide range of gender identities of attendees. Additionally, we are exploring options to train conference volunteers in inclusive language so that incidents like this do not happen again.
We continue to welcome feedback on the conference at this link.
In response to a post on our Facebook group, we looked up the PA state code and figured out that the ubiquitous Emergency Contact Consent Form that you fill out for your kids everywhere that says "Mother" and "Father" isn't required by law to say that. So we made a new form for you to use. Download it here.
There are more than 440,000 children in our foster care system nationwide, with over 120,000 of them waiting for a permanent family. More than 20,000 youth “age out” of care each year without any family and with limited support and resources. To address this problem, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) was recently introduced in Congress - by Rep. John Lewis in the House and Sen. Gillibrand in the Senate.
ECDF is a federal bill that promotes the best interests of children by increasing the number of foster and adoptive homes available to all foster children and improving services to LGBTQ and religious minority foster children. ECDF does so by prohibiting federally funded child welfare service providers from discriminating against children, families, and individuals based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status.
ECDF bans conversion therapy for children receiving or participating in federally funded child welfare programs or services. It promotes the well-being, safety and permanency of, and culturally competent care for, the 1 in 5 foster children who identify as LGBTQ and suffer greater rates of mistreatment and worse outcomes than non-LGBTQ foster youth. It does so by increasing access to best practices, resources, and technical assistance to states, tribes, and service providers, and by requiring data collection on LGBTQ foster youth and parents.
PFP Director Stephanie Haynes recently had an opinion piece printed in the Philly Inquirer on the topic and the Philly Gay News covered the introduction of the bill on June 20th.
PFP is a proud member of the coalition supporting ECDF led by Family Equality. Director Stephanie Haynes and board member Tariem Burroughs recently got to speak to Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey about the bill (pictured) and look forward to meeting with other local members of Congress to ask for their support.
Contact your member of Congress to ask for their support by clicking here.
PFP held our 2nd Annual PFP Picnic and Arts Festival in conjunction with the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs and the Mt. Airy Art Garage on Saturday, June 22nd from 11am-5pm at the Lovett Library Park in Mt. Airy. Over 300 people attended, making this our biggest event of the year (so far)!
Families enjoyed spreading blankets on the grass to enjoy the beautiful weather, story time by Icon Ebony Fierce (pictured below, photo by Kelly Burkhardt), a family yoga class, drumming with the legendary Jan Jeffries and music by Chana Rothman.
We also had a juggler, a balloon artist, a face painter and crafts with a local Girl Scout Troop. Mayor Jim Kennely stopped by to say hello as well as Councilmember Helen Gym and State Representative Chris Rabb.
Many thanks to the organizations who had resource tables at the event, including ACLU of PA, PFLAG Philadelphia, Sisterspace, Philadelphia Midwife Collective, Attic Youth Center, GALAEI, WOAR, FSP Against Bullying and the Mt. Airy CDC. Big Blue Marble Bookstore also had a table and did a brisk business selling books about and for LGBTQ families.
The picnic was covered by 6ABC, Philadelphia Tribune featuring board member Angel Brice and the Philadelphia Gay News. Be sure to pick up a paper copy of the PGN this weekend/next week; there's a full page spread of photos from the picnic!
On Sunday, June 9th, over 125 people marched with PFP's contingent in the biggest ever Philly Pride Parade where we unveiled our new organizational logo... see above! Watch for our new web site coming soon this summer.
The parade was filmed by 6ABC with gay dad and weatherman Adam Joseph commentating from the booth (pictured, right). The parade will air on 6ABC at 1pm on Sunday, June 30th as part of their coverage of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
PFP is grateful to board member and comic book author Jadzia Axelrod for her work designing this new logo for us. If you'd like a tshirt, we have limited adult sizes available, but we do have a full complement of youth, toddler and onesie sizes. Please email Stephanie Haynes at email@example.com and she'll help get one or more to you. (Tshirts are $10; onesies are $5.)
Thanks also to NEST Philly for hosting us as we gathered for the parade and to Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym for marching with us.
Working with the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, PFP has held eight information sessions over the past couple of years to help recruit LGBTQ adults and other affirming communities to become foster parents, especially for LGBTQ youth.
Our next two recruitment events are set for Monday, March 11th at the Lovett Library in Mt. Airy and on Thursday, April 18th at the William Way Center in Center City. Both will be held from 6-8pm. Representatives from DHS and foster care agencies will be present with information on requirements, training and licensing process. In addition, we’ll have a panel of current LGBTQ foster parents and former foster youth speak about their experiences and answer questions from the audience.
PFP board member Leigh Braden is putting together a support group for LGBTQ foster parents that will start meeting later this year. If you are a licensed foster parent, please fill out this questionnaire to give us your input on how you’d like the group to run, when it will meet, etc.
In an effort to improve the foster care system as a whole, PFP is proud to sponsor a Speaker Series this spring on Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care. At the first session, an audience of about 100 people heard from a panel of LGBTQ foster youth. (Pictured)
The next speaker in the series will be Shauna Lucadamo, the LGBTQ Affairs Project Manager from Allegheny County DHS. That talk is scheduled for Thursday, March 14th from 2:00-3:30pm at the University of the Sciences. CLE and CEU credits are available. Register at this link.
PFP Executive Director Stephanie Haynes serves on the Philadelphia Youth Residential Placement Task Force and has attended several meetings this spring to help the group come up with recommendations on ways to improve the safety and education of youth in placement as well as alternatives. Stephanie’s role is to ensure the needs and voices of LGBTQ youth are included in the discussion and the solutions offered.
There’s no new update yet, but in case you missed it in 2018, PFP is represented by the ACLU as an intervenor in the Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia lawsuit involving Catholic Social Services. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard the plaintiff’s appeal in November of 2018. We are awaiting their ruling.
Finally, PFP is working with the national LGBTQ family group Family Equality Council to respond to the Trump Administration’s directive from HHS to a foster care agency in South Carolina, allowing them to discriminate based on religion when serving foster parents.
In response to that directive, PFP has assisted FEC in getting Pennsylvania members of Congress to sign on to letters to HHS Secretary Azar opposing this move. Sen. Casey signed the letter from Senators and Reps. Dean and Scanlon signed the House letter.
Now the House Ways and Means Committee is going to be holding hearings about the actions of HHS. Philadelphia Congressmen Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle are on the committee, so want to make sure they get written testimony from Philadelphians on the importance of an inclusive, non-discriminatory foster care system. PFP will be submitting testimony, but if you have a positive or negative story to share about your experience, please share it with FEC here.