Queens Community House Youth and Older Adult LGBTQ+ Programs March Together at 30th Annual Queens Pride Parade

On June 5, Queens Community House (QCH) marched with tens of thousands of people at the 30th annual Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights. QCH was led by Generation Q and the Queens Center for Gay Seniors (QCGS), two QCH LGBTQ programs for youth and older adults respectively.

The Queens Pride Parade returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ celebrations in New York City.

QCH has been marching at the parade for years, so plenty of staff, program participants, and supporters of the organization were excited to be able to attend in-person this year. 

For several program participants of Generation Q, an LGBTQ after-school youth center, they are new to the program and this was the first Queens Pride Parade they attended. “Some of our youth never had the opportunity to experience a Pride March, and have never before had a chance to see the support that exists across the borough of Queens,” said Lindsey Duel, QCH Director of Generation Q. “The impact of Queens Pride returning in-person is immeasurable for the youth of our program.” 

As for the program participants of QCGS, an LGBTQ older adult center, the pandemic has been especially difficult for them. Many of the program participants have struggled with losses of loved ones, fear of COVID-19, isolation, and adjusting to remote/online activities. “I wasn’t sure I would make it through this because I have deeply missed my friends, who are actually my family,” said a QCGS participant. “Thankfully QCGS made sure to keep us all together with classes online, and by checking in with us through phone calls.”

“As nervous as I was to come out in a crowd,” the QCGS participant continued, “I felt as protected as much as I could be, and I needed to see my friends, hug them, and laugh the day away during ride Sunday.”

“After a 2-year hiatus that was filled with uneasiness, loneliness, fear, and isolation; we are so happy to be able to get together again for our in-person parades and marches,” said Chynna Pitlock, QCH Director of QCGS. “Everyone was so excited to come together and celebrate love, life, and continuing the fight for equal rights, and justice.”

The Queens Pride Parade aligns with QCH’s focus on providing intergenerational opportunities for the Queens community. “There is something uniquely special about seeing the Generation Q youth march alongside the older adults at QCGS, something that we are lucky to experience being a part of QCH,” said Duel.

QCH Works to Address Baby Formula Shortage for Families in Queens

Amid the nationwide baby formula shortage, QCH has been hearing from many of the families we serve about the need for baby formula. Samantha visits the QCH Pomonok Community Center once a week to get food and groceries for her family. She is one of many community members who have been impacted by the baby formula shortage. “For about four weeks, we’ve been searching everywhere for baby formula, but we can't find any," said Samantha. "I have two babies, so this has been a very difficult time for my family."

“We’ve had a lot of individuals and families in the community express to us their need for baby formula," said Zani Simmons, QCH Director of Community Engagement. "To address that need, QCH put the word out to Foodbank NYC, our donors, and supporters. St. Luke’s Church brought us pampers and are also committed to helping us find formula. And we were delighted to receive some donations of brand new baby formula from a donor who chose to remain anonymous.”

"Today, I was able to get baby formula, groceries, pampers for elders, and a baby stroller," said Samantha. "I’m so thankful for QCH for always doing all they can to help my family."

"QCH always tries to meet the needs of the community as much as possible, so we're happy when we are able to help families like Samantha's," said Simmons.

Generation Q Launches Know Your Rights PSA for NYC Queer Youth

To cap off a great Pride month for QCH, our Generation Q program launched the Know Your Rights PSA: The Q-niverse for NYC queer youth to learn about their rights and how they can advocate for themselves in and out of school. In this video, they discuss local, state and federal laws protecting youth from discrimination, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Click here to view the PSA!

This PSA is a tool that Generation Q will be utilizing in their trainings to extend their reach to schools across Queens and the greater NYC area supplemented with a toolkit and technical support provided by Generation Q staff.

Special thanks to The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes for the funding to create this video, JOAN Creative in partnership with PANIC Studios and scriptwriter Alex Powers.

Toolarie Iqbal, QCH Director of Forest Hills Older Adult Center on the Community Center Renovation

"The renovation of the Forest Hills Community Center is creating a lot of intense enthusiasm and excitement among the older adults of the Forest Hills Older Adult Center and the community. They are craving the opportunity to return for socialization with their peers and are looking forward to the benefits of the expanded space. Accessibility has been an issue for our neighbors at the Center, especially the older adults. The renovated space will have an elevator, ADA compliant doors, and improved walkways, which will make it much easier for everyone to navigate and connect with our different programs. The multitude of services that are offered at this site to the older adults and the community at large will continue to be a tremendous asset to everyone."

--Toolarie Iqbal, QCH Director of Forest Hills Older Adult Center and Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC)

Click here to learn more about our Capital Campaign!

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Queens Community House provides individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities.