Six months ago, QDEP's mission became even more urgent — with a pandemic raging, our members in and out of detention needed our assistance more than ever. And with the generous gifts of our supporters, we were able to help with releasing of 65 queer and trans immigrants from detention and provide resources and support in New York City to 120 more. Since March 2020, $39,422 of your dollars have helped us provide rent support, groceries, utilities, phone services, and commissary funds for QDEP members. Thank you for your support and vital fundraising! We're proud of the work we've done together, but the COVID-19 crisis has gone on for much longer than anticipated. While this is a time of economic uncertainty for everyone, the members of the LGBTQIA+ immigrant community are counting on your continued support.
Across New York and New Jersey, vulnerable immigrant communities are continuing to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 and the ongoing economic depression impact it is and will cause. Despite the ongoing efforts of advocacy organizations like QDEP, overcrowding continues to be a problem in detention centers, jails and prisons at historic levels, makes it impossible to practice social distancing, sanitation supplies are not provided, and people are continuing to experience medical neglect, LGBTQIA+ immigrants living in overcrowded detention centers are unsure whether or not they will survive the pandemic. Cruel inaction within our government has exposed an increasing number of people to the virus and has taken valuable lives, and this action physically, mentally and emotionally abuses our community members who are detained.
Outside of detention, many immigrants were the first to lose employment and will be the last to regain employment due to business closures. Violence and discrimination against the BIPOC, LGBTQIA+/GNC, and immigrant communties has worsened and is especially harmful for people living at the intersection of those communities. These conditions put an immense strain on our community members’ mental health, and in combination with the current circumstances of forced poverty and lack of access to government resources, surviving COVID-19 is nearly impossible.
Black queer and trans immigrants are exceedingly harmed by the racist, homophobic, and transphobic violence that is ingrained in US culture and is currently being highlighted in mainstream media. We are specifically calling on our allies to consider adding QDEP to your weekly or monthly reparations plan to Black people and indigenous people of the Americas, who have been harmed by centuries of colonialism and slavery, and face extreme inequalities and violence to this day. We strive to raise an abundance of funds so that our members can thrive, not just survive.
QDEP is doing everything in our power to keep our members safe throughout this crisis, but we can’t do it without your continued support.
Your contribution will go directly towards helping immigrants in detention through:
Increasing commissary funds to members in immigration detention so they are able to stay in contact with QDEP and their communities while being able to afford the supplies they need, including food and antibacterial soap.
Additionally your support will allow our members to be provided with resources from QDEP including:
Mental health and healing program: provides our members with one-on-one long-term therapy (6 months or longer) with queer BIPOC licensed psychologists and social workers, as well as group therapy sessions for our members to work on healing together.
Rent support: since so many of our members have lost employment, living month-to-month on finances is an understatement! We are fighting homelessness within our community by providing rent support.
Utility support: utilities keeps the lights on, the food cold, the water running, the phone bill paid, the clothes clean, the house cool when it’s hot out and warm when it’s cold out.
Monthly Unlimited Metrocards: so our members can move freely once living in New York City. MTA cards are extremely expensive and at the same time VITAL for our members to get to their court hearings, ICE check-ins, medical, mental health and legal appointments, community meetings etc.
We need your support to provide basic necessities to protect LGBTQIA+ Immigrants through the crisis caused by COVID-19. Our members are relying on us and we are relying on you. We've come a long way, but there's a lot more work to be done. Your support will make it possible.
Since 2014 The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) has supported Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Two-Spirit, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTQIA), and HIV+ immigrants currently in detention centers, immigrants recently released from detention centers, and those at risk of entering immigration detention. QDEP is a project of the non-profit 501(c)(3) Center for Transformative Action (CTA).