United We Dream hosts UndocuPride, while city’s Office of New Americans goes Beyond the Margins.
By Lourdes Zavaleta
To mark Pride Month and World Refugee Day, Houston will host two events in June geared toward LGBTQ immigrants and refugees.
United We Dream will host UndocuPride, an LGBTQ documetary screening and discussion, at Baker Ripley Charter School on Friday, June 22. And the City of Houston’s Office of New Americans will present Beyond the Margins: An LGBTQ Refugee Experience, a video series and symposium about queer refugees, at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church on Thursday, June 28.
“It’s Pride Month, so we want to celebrate our community,” says Adonias Arevalo-Melara, who serves as LGBTQIA Organizer at United We Dream. “Along with parades, marches, and parties, we want to showcase LGBTQ immigrants who are still fighting for their rights, especially with the policies we currently live under.”
United We Dream, a national youth-led immigrant organization, and Neta, a multimedia platform based in the Rio Grande Valley, partnered to create UndocuPride. The organizations will bring LGBTQ Houston community members, organizations, and allies together during Houston Pride Weekend as part of a statewide video project to showcase the unique experiences of Texans who identify as queer. A panel of local activists who are directly affected by anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant legislation, including Dee Dee Watters, Africa Monroy, and Elia Chino, will speak on the current climate of their communities and how others can take action.
The City’s Office of New Americans, rebranded from the Office of Immigrant Affairs under Mayor Sylvester Turner, worked with the ACLU of Texas, the Alliance, Human Rights First, Refugee Council USA, and YMCA International Services to put together Beyond the Margins. The event will screen a series of video shorts featuring refugees, asylees, and LGBTQ activists from accross the globe. Following the screening, there will be discussion featuring immigration experts and members of Houston’s LGBTQ community who have fled persecution abroad.
“Immigrants and refugees play an important part of the United States,” says Terence O’Neill, director of the Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities and creator of Beyond the Margins. “It is important that they know that the City of Houston recognizes them. We want them to know that our mayor supports them, is aware of them, and values the role that they play as residents.”