2022 Grants Challenge

UndocuQueer Empowerment: Educational/Economic/Legal

Undocumented people often faced with the lack of legal US documentation and access to higher education. Marginalization of queer identities from racial/ethnic groups makes them outsiders within their communities. The UndocuQueer Empowerment Program will provide safe spaces for queer undocumented, DACAmented, newly documented persons and allies. Our program will allow participants to experience civic engagement, education, and health prevention. The program provides mixed status families/relationships of UndocuQueers to create communal change.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Immigrant and Refugee Support

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Gabriel Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

UndocuQueer persons face obstacles when seeking resources & support. It is exacerbated by lack of resources & programming. Trauma & adverse experiences also act as barriers to reflect on experiences and confronting uncertainties due to sociopolitical landscape. Communal support can combat these barriers to foster a connection and to learn from shared unique experiences in a safe space. Accessing legal, economic, and educational resources to navigate the challenges affecting the community are important. Elevating experience means creating a space dedicated to peer/emotional support, resources, civic engagement, legal services, networking, and guidance to protect the rights of community. Workshops and programming aimed at navigating higher education, legal resources, healthcare access, DACA, citizenship, and health promotion prevention are important to improve health equity for the undocumented. We cannot wait for the federal government to provide a legislative path towards citizenship.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The first step is the creation of a safe space for the LQBTQIA+ community without legal US documentation with collective access to opportunities in seeking help navigating the unique challenges. Monthly meetings at the Pomona Pride Center, located in the heart of downtown Pomona, will allow to share experiences, express fears and celebrate success stories. Through these support group meetings, we will provide validation amongst the undocumented community by contributing coping strategies and navigational techniques. Attendees will have access to our existing Resource Pantry, which includes food, hygiene products, clothing and books. Part of this grant will be used to financially support our existing support groups for UndocuQueer persons, which started in 2022. The next goal is to provide access to professional advice. Every month a different topic that is addressing the unique challenges faced by Undocuqueer is addressed. This will include health care professionals providing health education and linkages for Undocuqueer people to access to their health services. Furthermore, for those Undocuqueer persons in higher education, educational administrator will present a path towards higher education. Moreover, for UndocuQueer who are in the workforce, business professionals will present on enterpreneurialship skills and how to form independent businesses.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Los Angeles County is currently a heavily striated region. Race, gender, socioeconomic and immigration status, gender identity and sexual orientation determines access to healthcare, education, jobs, and basic social services. There are not opportunities for social mobility. Our project aims to promote people from this marginalized group to be empowered and socially validated. They will receive greater access to healthcare and education though the workshops from our program, will be able to navigate the job market, and become entrepreneurs that contribute to the wealth and originality of our region. Allowing for discussions centered on the psychological impact and trauma salient to some migrants is important; our project will allow for peer support for Undocuqueer persons to share these. Mentorship development into acquiring healthier alternatives & services. Aim to provide prevention in navigating challenges. Improve the experience and opportunities for immigrant undocumented folks.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Pomona Pride Center has a queer undocumented wellness support group. Through the sharing of daily common struggles in a peer-support format, this group provides communal support for Undocuqueer persons. UndocuQueer-specific programming designed to empower the wellness while providing education to mixed status families and allies. We are in the early stage process of this group. All programs of the Pomona Pride Center are continuously monitored, assessed, and improved. For this grant in particular, formative evaluation of the program is performed at every meeting, tracking attendance and retention. In addition, a survey for new attendants is used as summative evaluation. The Program Facilitator meets monthly with the Executive Director to discuss the progress of the program. Findings wil be presented bi-annually to the Grant Committee and annually to the Board of Directors. The findings are discussed and suggestions for improvement given to Program Facilitator and Executive Director.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 120

Indirect Impact: 1,200