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HF Launches “Orlando Against Hate” Initiative

The Pulse Nightclub massacre was an assault on the Latino communities of Orlando. The overwhelming number of those killed and injured were LGBTQ+ Latinos, including economic refugees from Puerto Rico and undocumented individuals from South America. That’s why the Hispanic Federation needed to respond so swiftly last year by helping create Proyecto Somos Orlando (PSO), a campaign to coordinate the city’s Latino social services sector and raise awareness of the need to provide the victims and their families with high-quality culturally-competent assistance.

Now, thanks to the support of the Open Society Foundation, HF is launching a comprehensive rapid-response program – "Orlando Against Hate" (OAH) – which will aim to build coalitions and social movements against rising bigotry and nativism. OAH’s goal is to create community resiliency against hate by creating an “active safe space” where Latino LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants, the undocumented, other marginalized and targeted groups, and their partners, friends, parents and family, can embrace, promote and defend their communities and identities, and communicate and form coalitions with the wider community.

“After the attack on Pulse, Orlando’s Latino and LGBTQ communities felt under siege,” said Hispanic Federation’s Director of Proyecto Somos Orlando Ricardo Negrón-Almodóvar. “We responded by creating Proyecto Somos Orlando to coordinate services but there was also a greater need. A need for spaces for LGBTQ and Latino communities to organize and begin to address some really serious issues around homophobia and xenophobia, to name just two serious problems. This grant from Open Society Foundation allows us to start creating those spaces and go beyond reacting to the tragedy to actively challenging the conditions that bred the hate and violence in the first place.”

The OAH will have a number of components, including:

- OAH Diálogo Project – To increase communication and build coalitions between the LGBTQ+, immigrant and other marginalized communities and the general Orlando and Central Florida public.

- Immigrant Rights Education Program - Training to the LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities in Central Florida on civil rights and reporting harassment, bullying and intimidation.

- Media outreach and communication – An anti-homophobia and pro-immigrant campaign to highlight negative impact of hate crimes, homophobia and immigrant bullying, modeled after HF’s award-winning anti-bullying social media campaign.

For more information on OAH, please contact Ricardo Negrón-Almodóvar.