We have a very special opportunity right now to receive a 100% match from the Buhl Foundation for a one-time hyperlocal AMPLIFY blitz. This is an extension of the One Northside project.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to identify LGBTQ resources on the Northside – from any or all of the 18 neighborhoods. I was stumped. The Northside is known for LGBTQ residents, but when it comes to spaces and resources – the list is pretty small. I can name a half dozen LGBTQ businesses and another handful of LGBTQ friendly organizations. We have the HQ for the Pittsburgh Pride foundation which does not offer direct services or supports. We have the most excellent Central Wellness Outreach Center which offers splendid services that are LGBTQ competent. There’s the Andy Warhol Museum, of course. Randyland. Businesses like K.S. Kennedy Floral and California Cycle Path are gay owned.
Also, we have things that used to be here: The Eagle Bar, True, the Crossover Bar. Do you remember those spaces? Do you remember that Pittsburgh’s Drag Brunch with Kierra Darshell and the bimonthly Queer Burlesque show got their start on the Northside at the now-closed James St Tavern?
And we have our allies working hard to create a vibrant scene. Reel Q Film Society has teamed up with City of Asylum to offer free LGBTQ film screenings. Both branches of the Carnegie Library are active in programming. Perry High School has a GSA. Northside Common Ministries is a designated safe space for human services.
I know there are LGBTQ folks here and I know there are allies. I know a bit about what used to be here, but I think AMPLIFY can help us better understand what is here now – the places and spaces and experiences we don’t know about.
This project is pretty straightforward (no pun intended, well maybe a little intended.) We are going to invest in a hyper local visibility and outreach campaign to connect AMPLIFY with the LGBTQ community in these 18 neighborhoods.
Activities will include
- distributing posters, flyers, etc to local businesses in all the communities
- using online advertising to target the Northside zipcodes
- informal outreach events “coffeehouse tour” at welcoming spaces throughout the region – think places like Arnolds, Chateau Creamery, the libraries, the Warhol cafe, Oakglade community space and other venues in the multiple business districts
- targeted outreach events to generate input across generations and identities. we are planning to work with the Perry GSA for starters and hope to work with groups like Persad/SAGE (seniors and elders), MADE IT (young masculine of center Black lesbians) and others serving individuals within our community. Our hope is to be able to offer a stipend to the participants through this crowdfund so they are receiving some compensation for their creative input.
- a kick-off event
- a wrap-up event, perhaps including vendors from the AMPLIFY contributor base to connect people with LGBTQ resources they may not be aware of right now.
So you might be wondering why focus on the Northside when we have 26 counties to serve? Well, this part of Pittsburgh is underserved in terms of LGBTQ resources. There are lessons to be learned that can be applied across the board – limited transportation, accessibility, cost, types of supports, etc. We can take the lessons learned from implementing this project and expand it to the larger effort.
Our platform is called ioby (IN our backyards) so since I live on the Northside, I am literally focusing on my backyard.
I should mention that we’ve also applied for a traditional grant to do similar work in the Southwestern counties of Pennsylvania. So we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.
We’d love for you to join us to show your support for the Northside and the lovely LGBTQ people on the Northside. Your donations are tax deductible as allowed by law; our fiscal sponsor is Persad Center which will receive the donations on our behalf.
Remember, each donation is automtically matched 100% by the Buhl Foundation so your $25 will generate $50 total. Your $5 will generate $10. That’s an amazing match opportunity.
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