Main | Monday, November 05, 2012

The Los Angeles Times Reports On The Response For The Ali Forney Center

As Hurricane Sandy unfolded, numerous unfounded rumors and some outright deliberate lies swirled across Twitter, ultimately costing one GOP operative his job. But in their cataloging of the abuses on Twitter, today the Los Angeles Times finds one shining light. And that light, my tender kittens, is YOU.
But as the floodwaters receded along with the furor over @ComfortablySmug, another -- arguably more important -- social media story was developing in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. That story would in lesser degrees repeat itself over Manhattan, Staten Island and the Rockaways in the coming days of recovery, where information repeatedly won out over worries of ongoing, anonymous hysteria.

The story was this: The Ali Forney Drop-In Center filled up with four feet of water.  A lot of places in Manhattan got hit pretty hard, but there was reason to be especially concerned about this 1,200-square-foot office: It served New York’s homeless LGBT teenage population – the fringe of the fringe, kids turned out from home for being gay, kids who had to sleep on subways and sometimes turn to prostitution when they didn’t have a place to stay at night.  The drop-in center was ruined, its floors buckled, its electrical outlets filled with sea salt. So Ali Forney founder Carl Siciliano put out a call for help on Facebook.

Then a popular gay blogger named Joe My God picked up the message and ran with it.

And then Twitter – specifically, the people on it -- ran with it.

Pam Grier tweeted the news to hundreds of thousands of followers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt tweeted it to hundreds of thousands more, and in less than 24 hours, the Ali Forney Center had received more than 900 donations totaling $100,000, Siciliano said in an interview Sunday evening. “We’ve never had a day where $100,000 came in online before,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s actually kind of phenomenal. And it shows the power of social media to do good.”

Although LGBT youth had historically been marginalized by traditional, mainstream institutions, Siciliano said, now the community could rally around those needing help the most. And social media helped make it happen, allowing people to help each other without waiting for someone else to tell them what to do.
I'm so very proud of the JMG community. You guys rock.

DONATE: The AFC is continuing to take your donations.  If you'd like to kick in a few bucks via PayPal, use this email address there:

NOTE: We'll be doing one more fundraiser here in Manhattan this weekend in Hell's Kitchen.  I think that will be a fantastic excuse for a long overdue JMG meetup in NYC.  Details to come later today.

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