PRESS RELEASE – United and Strong’s regional human rights advocacy has taken a strong step forward following an Advocacy Summit & Training Institute in Guyana.
Executive Director Kenita Placide, and Office and Education Manager Adaryl Williams, attended the November 16 -23 meeting which focussed on movement and capacity building, advocacy, sustainability and funding.
This convening brought together twenty-four (24) activists from thirteen (13) regional organisations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA were among the countries represented.
As the eastern Caribbean hub of CariFLAGS, Placide explains, United and Strong is mandated to develop advocacy in the sub-region but also contributes to and benefits from the efforts of groups in the wider Caribbean. “As we experience very similar problems, although each on a different scale, we find cross-regional collaboration helps better target our advocacy and maximise our efforts,” says Placide.
“While there have been recent initiatives such as the legal challenge to the buggery law in Belize and Jamaica; a submission in Grenada to include LGBT in the constitution; work in Jamaica to expand the sexual offenses act; the recent letters to Ministers holding them accountable to their comments and statements in Barbados; the work on hate speech legislation in St Croix; the meeting did not focus on those directly. This year’s focus was on mobilisation for our advocacy vision, programme, capacity and operations over the coming two years.”
Organised by CariFLAGS – the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and acceptance of Genders and Sexualities – with the support of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), the convening is a repeat of a 2013 gathering in Kingston, Jamaica.
This year’s activities included training and development; inter-organisational relationship-building; strategic decision making; and direct dialogue and partnership-building with CARICOM and funders interested in CariFLAGS’ work, and among major programme partners, including CVC about their shared futures.