QUEER RISING PROTESTS OUTSIDE CUOMO’S OFFICE, OUTRAGED THAT NEW BUDGET NEGLECTS
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR HOMELESS LGBTQ YOUTH – 4 ACTIVISTS ARRESTED
Hours after New York State Governor Cuomo released his 2012 budget proposal — which neglected to add a single penny of additional funding to provide adequate shelter for runaway and homeless youth — outraged members of the LGBT community gathered to protest outside his Manhattan office. Activist group, Queer Rising, organized the demonstration. Approximately two-dozen activists participated in the protest resulting in four arrests.
Every night in New York City, approximately 3,800 youth are without stable shelter, but the state and city only provide funding for fewer than 200 beds for these youth. Up to 40% of the homeless youth identify as being LGBT. Last year, Governor Cuomo slashed this budget by 50%.
“It’s tragic that parents and caregivers throw their children to the streets simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Jake Goodman, a member of Queer Rising. “It’s unconscionable that our friend the Governor continues to make choices that keep them there.”
At the demonstration, Queer Rising members stood stoically by cardboard boxes that featured the names, ages and hobbies of anonymous LGBTQ youth. They chanted, “Cuomo: Raise the budget! You know how! Fund our homeless queer kids now!” and “Queer kids on the street ain’t right! Cuomo, can you sleep tonight?”
Some protesters blocked the front doors of the Governor’s office building, demanding that his staff not leave until they find ways to grant more funding for homeless youth. Four people — Natasha Dillon, Jake Goodman, Melissa Kleckner and Ted McGuire — were peacefully arrested.
In October 2011, approximately 80 LGBT organizations and community leaders endorsed the Campaign for Youth Shelter and sent Governor Cuomo a letter calling for “an additional $3-million per year in funding for the creation of 100 youth shelter beds per year.” Cuomo never publicly acknowledged the letter. Queer Rising is one of the leading co-sponsors of this campaign, and vows to keep fighting until all youth are provided shelter.
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