Jesse Pellegrin wrote -
I was 22 when I came out to my family. At that time, I had my first boyfriend and I did not care anymore what people had to say about me. However, I came out to my mom through e-mail. Why do it like that? Because I did not feel comfortable telling her in person. I hope you understand this says enough about the pursuit of authenticity and happiness while navigating safety and self-care. Well, my mom did not talk to me for a week after I told her that I am gay. My dad persisted and encouraged her to call me. "He's your son, talk to him, you are pushing him away, you might lose your son," he would repeat to her. Some people noticed something was off about me, "are you okay? this isn't the typical you." The situation affected my work, my mental health, and other areas of my life. Coming out to my mom and coping with her reaction was not easy, but I had to affirm myself.
Nowadays, I think there are so many dark things going on in our country with our current president and so many negative messages impacting LGBTQ+ kids who also happen to be of color and children of immigrants. I want to do something positive for the next generation.
For my 10K in Redondo Beach, I am giving an opportunity to an organization that is helping LGBTQ+ children of color. I want to help an organization that is barely starting, instead of going to downtown and feel disconnected being asked only for a check. I want to help community, not corporate.
This means a lot to me because it is personal. I am Hispanic. My roots are from Mexico. I am first-generation attending schools in the United States and the first one to come out as gay in my family as well. I met SOMOS FAMILIA VALLE last year. Saw them in action at an event while they were engaging LGBTQ+ youth and their parents in art activities and more, and even though they are barely starting I see they are already making a huge positive and lifesaving impact in the communities I am proudly part of.
SOMOS FAMILIA VALLE is a unique San Fernando Valley organization. Founded in 2014 by first-generation trans and queer immigrants & low-income students of color, Somos Familia Valle’s mission is to support, train, empower, and mobilize lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, pansexual, non-binary, and intersex (LGBTQ+) youth of color, immigrants, families, and allies for racial, gender, economic and environmental justice.
This non-profit organization is a 100% volunteer-ran resource so every dollar goes back to fund and sustain the activities, programs, and services provided to the community.
This organization has a program called the LGBTQ+ Youth Council which provides a free brave space where kids of color and their allies (ages 10-17) get emotional support, social justice education, and gain leadership and advocacy skills. Thanks to SOMOS FAMILIA VALLE, many youth have found a new meaning of life over suicide and they are becoming confident to be their authentic selves, promote social justice, and transform their communities through arts, activism, and policy changes.
I humbly ask for your support and help to raise $2,000 for this wonderful organization and their LGBTQ+ Youth Council program.
To learn more about this organization, visit http://www.somosfamiliavalle.org/