Program areas at EQCA
Equality California Institute conducted community outreach and increased civic engagement around critical issues impacting the lgbtq+ community. This included conducting public education on California's vote by mail process during the 2021 gubernatorial recall election and organizing community advocacy during the 2021 redistricting process. Through our redistricting advocacy, Equality California Institute and its partners were able to ensure that lgbtq+ voices will be heard in future elections. With support from the California endowment, Equality California Institute was also able to distribute $250,000 in resiliency grants to lgbtq+ organizations across the state, thus strenthening the network of lgbtq+ resources and community-based organizations in a year when covid-19 left many organizations facing significant increase in demand for services, even as many long-standing funding sources were uncertain. With the support of silver state voices, Equality California Institute's nevada-based program, silver state Equality Institute, also conducted public education and advocacy around hiv, advocating for updates to outdated laws that criminalize hiv status, and working to reduce hiv stigma in local communities.
Equality California Institute significantly expanded its efforts to ensure safe and supportive school environments for lgbtq+ students across the state through the launch of the Equality California mentorship corps. The mentorship corps provides lgbtq+ affirming mentorship to students in fresno unified school district, located in California's central valley. Through a combination of social-emotional learning, motivational interviewing, and opportunities to engage the broader local community of lgbtq+ community-based organizations, the mentorship corps seeks to improve the well-being of lgbtq+ and other students over the course of an academic year and create a safe and supportive school environment. Working closely with our advisory committee of teachers, school board members, school administrators, local lgbtq+ centers, lgbtq+ and progressive non-profit organizations, civil rights leaders and education experts, Equality California Institute also began preparations to gather data for its second publication of the safe and supportive schools report card, to be published in 2022. The report card shines a light on successes and challenges that California unified school districts experience when implementing lgbtq-inclusive programs and policies and serves as a resource and advocacy tool for students, parents, teachers and community leaders.
Equality California Institute works to reduce disparities in health and well-being for lgbtq+ people by addressing the systemic realities and social determinants of health that negatively impact health outcomes for lgbtq+ people. With the continued support of gilead sciences, sempra, and the e. rhodes and leona b. carpenter foundation, and with new support from the California dialogue on cancer, Equality California Institute expanded its lgbtq+ diversity, equity and inclusion training. The training promotes lgbtq+ inclusion and offers healthcare and homeless service providers a range of tools to better identify and serve the needs of lgbtq+ clients. Equality California Institute continues to manage its out against big tobacco - los angeles and out against big tobacco - central valley coalitions. Both programs raise awareness about tobacco use disparities among lgbtq+ people and educate lawmakers on the importance of common-sense tobacco-control policies. Equality California Institute is also committed to ending stigma against people living with hiv by educating legislators and mobilizing the lgbtq+ community and those who are disproportionately impacted by hiv. In partnership with the elizabeth taylor aids foundation, the hiv is not a crime campaign and Equality California Institute support state-based hiv and lgbtq+ organizations across the country in their work to educate policymakers and increase public support for modernizing outdated, ineffective, and discriminatory laws that criminalize people living with hiv. This year, Equality California Institute also launched nosotros vihviendo, a program designed to support and develop grassroots leaders working to reduce hiv stigma and increase access to care for latinx men. Equality California Institute and silver state Equality Institute also conducted extensive public education and outreach around covid-19, to ensure access to accurate information and crucial resources, such as vaccinations and testing, in lgbtq+ communities.
Equality California Institute implements programs aimed at empowering the next generation of lgbtq+ leaders. In partnership with the California lgbtq legislative caucus foundation, Equality California Institute convened more than 100 openly lgbtq+ elected and appointed officials from across the state for the 2021 California lgbtq+ leadership summit in sacramento. With support from the comcast foundation, California Institute offered an online, paid summer fellowship program through legislative offices in sacramento to give college students first-hand experience working with legislators on state policy. With the support of edison international, Equality California Institute conducted the 2021 lgbtq+ leadership academy online. The leadership academy recruits lgbtq+ community leaders and advocates throughout the state and prepares them to run for office or seek appointments to state boards and commissions. Our lgbtq+ appointments process recommends and advocates for highly qualified, diverse lgbtq+ leaders, including alumni of our lgbtq+ leadership academy, for appointment to executive branch positions, judicial offices and state boards and commissions.