UNITED and Strong Inc. has a rich history of volunteerism by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQ) identified persons as well as allies. While the organisation cannot name and recognise the very many that have contributed, as it celebrates 15 years of existence, it has begun by framing the past to guide the future.
A display of persons key in the formation of the organisation and those who served on the first Board of Directors has been erected in the organisation’s safe space as part of observance. President and Vice President of the Board of Directors Marcellus M. Miller and Janice Stephens, unveiled the display in time for community celebration. The exhibit pays homage to the visionaries and the volunteers who started a revolution in LGBTQI human rights organising in Sasnt Lucia and gave their time and passion to keep the community united and strong.
Founded in 2000 and registered in November 2005, United and Strong Inc. is a human rights NGO that seeks to achieve recognition of the human rights of marginalised groups on Saint Lucia with a focus on LGBTQI people. United and Strong said that in a country that still criminalises same sex intimacy and where discrimination against LGBTQI persons remain high, it has struggled to thrive. This is why its 15th year of existence was particularly significant.
Celebrations continue throughout the month and the public has been asked to join in online with #15Yrs4US. Several other activities are also being staged for members and allies throughout the month. Activities include discussions among community members, staff and the Board of U&S on matters related to advancing the goals of the organisations and other issues of mutual interest.
The organisation’s flagship Red Ribbon public HIV AIDS outreach also continues throughout November into December. A voluntary testing and counselling session will be held in Soufriere on November 27.