Proyecto Somos Orlando Builds Partnerships in Central Florida
The Pulse Nightclub Massacre was the largest mass shooting in American history. It rocked the nation but it was felt most deeply in the Latino and LGBTQ communities of Central Florida. Most of the victims were Latinos and many were LGBTQ. The intersection of these two communities on that tragic night in June, 2016 led the Hispanic Federation to 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.
In the last year, PSO has grown dramatically, buoyed by the support of the local community, government, and philanthropy. This last month, the project received two grants totaling $51,000 to support an expansion of its services. A $40,000 grant from the Contigo Fund will launch a comprehensive initiative that will bridge the gap between Central Florida’s social service infrastructure and Puerto Rican LGBTQ community members. The campaign is aimed at Puerto Ricans on the island who aim to migrate to Central Florida as well as those who are recent arrivals to the area. Separately, the Episcopal Diocese of Orlando has awarded PSO an $11,000 grant for general operating support.
“These grants are generous and incredibly helpful,” said Hispanic Federation SVP Frankie Miranda. “They are also recognition by important community stakeholders that Proyecto Somos Orlando is providing an important array of services to the Latino and LGBTQ communities in Central Florida.”
In addition to the grants, PSO has partnered with important cultural institutions in the area to increase connections between the Latino and LGBTQ communities and the broader Central Florida community. On March 9th, for example, the Orlando Ballet offered PSO friends and clients an opportunity to watch professional company dancers in a rehearsal setting. Orlando Ballet Artistic Director Robert Hill, spoke with guests about what they can expect at their upcoming productions, talked about the work of the Orlando Ballet school and answered questions about this world class professional ballet company which has been based in Orlando since 1974.
“Orlando Ballet is a world class cultural institution,” said Miranda. “Connecting with them and hearing about their programs was a treat for PSO’s clients, executives, and staff.”