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FIERCE!

Award Recipients - 2002

Jesse Ehrensraft-Hawley, Gabriel Martinez, Brandi Fenner, Krystal Protalatin & Tommy Wang, Co-Founders

www.fiercenyc.org

FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) is a youth-led, multiracial, membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two Spirit, transgender and questioning (LGBTSTQ) youth launched in 2000.  The group strives to empower youth to address multiple types of marginalization and exclusion – particularly, racism, heterosexism/homophobia, sexism, gender oppression/transphobia, classism, and ageism.  “Through a mix of leadership development, cultural activism, and political education, FIERCE challenges institutions that perpetuate transphobia, homophobia, racism, economic injustice, the spread of HIV and other preventable illness.  FIERCE’s work proceeds from the belief that community organizing is a process with potential to bring profound change to individuals and communities.”  The group is guided by three-pronged approach: youth and leadership development; political education and skills building; and community and base building.  
Key concerns for LGBTSTQ youth include: homelessness and housing, policing and prisons, education, employment and health.  In 2001 FIERCE launched a campaign to expose and halt the displacement of LGBTSTQ youth from the Christopher Street pier, which historically had been a “safe” space for many homeless and low-income LGBTSTQ youth.  When the city and state governments spearheaded a $330 million project to make the entire waterfront from 59th street to Battery Park into a State Park, the situation changed.  Campaign goals include creation of programs and services for LGBTSTQ youth and reallocation of the city budget to housing for LGBTSTQ communities.  The campaign also calls for an end to racial profiling and for the instruments of police accountability.


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