LGBT Life in a Perfect World – West Valley Discusses Changing the Future

By Avi Vieira

This week West Valley one n ten took some time thinking about and discussing their community, as well as the community they hope it to be in the future. Joined by guest speaker Joyce Lopez-Powell from the United Way, our youth participated in a community listening project for the White House Council on Community Solutions, where they had the chance to voice problems and issues in their community now, and share their hopes and visions of what they would like their community to be.

Starting with questions defining community; in this case the LGBT community made up of their peers aged 13-24, the group was asked to identify their ideal place – which ranged from the more general place where one could be comfortable being themselves, to the more specific identifying types of businesses, services, and cultural needs. Questions were then asked what currently prevents that type of community from happening; with responses including homophobia, lack of transportation, and lack of money.

Looking to the future, youth were asked to identify what qualities the community would need to bring the reality more in line with their vision as well as identify what each participant would like to have as a career. The responses were thoughtful and varied as the group shared their thoughts and provided direct recommendations they felt would make their community a better place; tolerance of others opinions, education spending focused on classes and programs, and a clean and healthy environment were among many ideas shared. It made for a more serious evening, but one that allowed our youth to constructively share their concerns of the present as well as their ideals of the future we’d all like to live in.