Reaffirming Our Commitment to Anti-Racism and Accountability

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress affirms its commitment to ending racial, economic, and social injustice both within our own communities and in the larger world. We believe that white supremacy, classism, and other oppressive forces have no place in LGBTQ communities.

We honor those who dedicate their advocacy efforts to creating and maintaining accountable, transparent, and anti-racist LGBTQ organizations and spaces. In Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and around the nation, there is an increasing disconnect being felt between many organizations and the communities they serve. This can often be problematic as nonprofits in LGBTQ communities and beyond often reflect the systems of oppression that many of us are seeking to dismantle. We reject the idea that the only decision makers for our community institutions should be those who can write large checks. The decision-making for any community organization must be centered around those who are most impacted by the issues at hand. Our communities must have self-determination over our spaces, services, and whole selves.

We applaud the tireless efforts of individuals in Philadelphia who have demanded accountability within the Mazzoni Center and other non-profit organizations. The Black and Brown Workers Collective has led these efforts and should be commended by the broader community.

This shifting of the status quo in LGBTQ organizational leadership is part of the necessary growth to realize communities in which we all can thrive.

We call upon those in positions of power within our broader LGBTQ communities to listen to those who are directly affected by discrimination and violence. Through meaningful communication as equals we can begin to understand the lived experiences of those who have been harmed within our own community spaces. From that point, we can support each other and respond based on both facts and personal experiences.

We always remain focused on PYC’s mission: to support and empower young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. As LGBTQ organizations we need to hold ourselves accountable to our larger communities, each other, and most importantly, those we serve through our work.

We know that no organization is perfect. Organizations are comprised of human beings, and as human beings we all make mistakes. What we can control is how we respond when there are shortcomings, and how we find solutions to prevent future harm while ensuring that we all can succeed. We will always strive to hold ourselves and one another to the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability. We also celebrate the generations of leaders before us, as well as the liberation fighters of today, who selflessly put their lives on the line to make sure we are being our best selves.

Holding power to account may not always be easy, but it is often part of the process to ensure that our communities are rooted in both love and liberation for all.

-The Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation Board of Directors