Check it Out!

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

We’re completely wowed by these colorful, creative projects from the children enrolled in our ReVision Family Resource Center Day-Care Program and we think you will be through. Please, click through our gallery to see what they’ve been up to!

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Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Guest Blog by Aaron Piracini, Transgender Health Coordinator, Victory Programs’ Mobile Prevention Team

November 20th is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day when we remember and honor the people whose lives were tragically cut short at the hands of anti-transgender violence and hatred. In this year alone, we have lost 22 people that we know of due to anti-transgender hatred.

Some may be wondering why we need a Transgender Day of Remembrance here at all. Massachusetts just became the first state in the union to uphold transgender protections at the ballot box, and by an overwhelming majority.  It was a great show of support for the trans community, but we still have a long way to go in the journey toward true acceptance, free of fear of prejudice and violence. Just five days after 2017 came to a close, a woman named Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien became the first transgender homicide victim of 2018. Christa Leigh was a beloved member of the trans community in Massachusetts. She founded the Miss Trans America and Miss Trans New England beauty pageants, and was the cofounder of the New England Trans United Pride March and Rally. She was a proud activist who believed that being a member of the transgender community was something to celebrate. On January 5th, 2018 she was found dead in her North Adams home. This was the first homicide North Adams had seen since 2013.

Many human rights movements faced major challenges and hurdles, and the fight for trans rights is clearly no exception. We have lost many good people in the fight for justice and as we look toward the Transgender Day of Remembrance we do so with sorrow for those lost, but also with hope and a belief that one day we will no longer have to fight or push for legislation to protect our civil rights. The pain we experience can make us lose all hope, but the progress we see give us the strength to persevere. On November 20th, we honor and remember Rita Hester, Chanelle Pickett, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and so many more. We honor those recently departed, and those whose souls have not walked this earth for a very long time.

This year we remember:

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien

Viccky  Gutierrez

Zakaria Fry

Celine Walker

Tonya Harvey

Phylicia Mitchell

Amia Tyrae Berryman

Sasha Wall

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon

Nino Fortson

Gigi Pierce

Antash’a-English

Diamond Stephens

Catalina Christina James

Keisha Wells

Sasha Garden

Dejanay Stanton

Vontashia Bell

 Shantee TuckerLondon Moore

Nikki Enriquez

and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier.

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Congratulations Massachusetts!

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Yesterday’s election ushered in groundbreaking new candidates across our country, marking a history of firsts in many state and local districts. Here at Victory Programs, two races in particular held special meaning for us.

Congratulations to Congresswoman-Elect Ayanna Pressley, for making history as the first black woman from Massachusetts to serve in Washington! Ayanna has shown up for the Victory Programs’ community time and again during her career as an at-large member of Boston’s City Council and has a strong track record supporting fair housing initiatives, substance use disorder treatment, and HIV/AIDS services.

      

Pictured:  Pressley serving tables at our 2012 Celebration of Life Thanksgiving Dinner for the HIV/AIDS community and standing with Victory Programs’ President & CEO Jonathan Scott, former Victory Programs’ Board Chair David Bancroft, and David’s husband John Nickulas at our 2015 Gratitude Dinner.

And congratulations to Freedom for All Massachusetts on organizing a record-setting grassroots campaign to preserve transgender nondiscrimination protections here in Massachusetts by building a strong coalition of community groups, businesses, and individuals to get out the vote on Question 3. An essential victory, hard fought, leading to a well-earned landslide win for human dignity and respect.

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Yes on 3

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Guest Blog by Aaron Piracini, Transgender Health Coordinator, Victory Programs’ Mobile Prevention Team

There have been a lot of questions and uncertainty around Ballot Question 3 recently, and with the November election just around the corner, it’s beginning to feel more and more confusing. As some of you may already know, we at Victory Programs are publicly supporting the Yes on 3 campaign so that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can continue to be an open and diverse community centered on inclusivity of everyone, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Regardless of how you decide to vote on this issue it’s important to know the facts and be aware of some of the myths and misinformation being circulated.

So let’s start with the basics: What does a “Yes” or “No” vote even mean? On July 7th 2016 the House of Representatives and the Senate approved a law that, in the words of the ballot question, “adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation”. A key thing to note right away is the term “Public Accommodation”. A lot of uncertainty around this question comes from the idea that this law is completely focused on public restrooms when, in reality, it protects people from discrimination based on their gender identity in any place that is open to the public and provides goods or services. These “Public Accommodations” include hotels, restaurants, public parks, public transportation, and yes, public restrooms.

The campaign supporting the “No” vote is claiming safety issues as their main concern.  They say these non-discrimination protections could be used as cover for misconduct in restrooms, and that legally protecting transgender people in public places endangers women and children because it allows cisgender men to invade women’s spaces with intent to do harm. But that’s not true. It is still illegal to enter a restroom or a locker room to harm someone, and the law explicitly prohibits people from falsely using gender identity as an excuse for improper behavior. If that didn’t convince you, take a look at the 18 states and more than 200 municipalities that have passed laws protecting transgender people in public spaces, including Massachusetts in 2016 and 14 Massachusetts municipalities prior to the statewide law, and haven’t had any issues. In fact, since 2012, Massachusetts law has allowed transgender folks in public schools to use the facilities that align with their gender identity and there have been no reported incidents. If this is something our children or grandchildren can easily grasp, the rest of us should be able to as well.

Finally, some of you may be wondering why we’re talking about this at all. Massachusetts is thought of as an extremely progressive and forward-thinking state, so a lot of people are under the impression that discrimination against transgender people simply doesn’t happen here. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  In 2014, a survey performed by the Fenway Institute and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition found that 65% of transgender folks in Massachusetts had experienced discrimination in a public place in the past 12 months. That means that, out of the 452 people surveyed, approximately 294 people had reported experiencing anti-transgender discrimination in 2014, and that only includes the folks we know about.

At Victory Programs, we aim to create a community that is diverse, promotes positivity, and maintains a climate centered on inclusivity for everyone. Upholding the current protections for our transgender neighbors is essential to maintaining the culture of respect, dignity, and equality that we as citizens of the commonwealth greatly value. By voting to uphold these protections, we send a clear message from those of us that support our transgender neighbors, to those that don’t: you’re out-numbered.

 

Please remember to vote on November 6! You can find your polling place here.

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International Infection Prevention Week

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

International Prevention Infection Week is October 14 – 20, 2018

Guest Blog by Taryn Lipiner, Mobile Prevention Team Intern

Prevention involves the steps taken to lower or eliminate exposure to certain risks that may potentially increase the likelihood that an individual or group will experience disease, disability, or premature death. Prevention can be characterized into three types: primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention refers to the efforts that are undertaken to eliminate health or functional issues at their source, as well as the procedures that aid in reducing the incidence of disease, such as increasing physical activity or strengthening emotional well-being. Secondary prevention involves the efforts utilized to detect adverse health outcomes at their beginning stage, to ultimately intervene promptly and effectively in order to prevent the spread of disease to other individuals. Finally, tertiary prevention aims to reduce the duration as well as the severity of disease and disability, to lower complications of the disease once the diagnosis has been made, to minimize suffering, and to assist individuals in adjusting to their current situation regarding their condition.

The success of disease prevention programs depends on several factors: one is having an informed and knowledgeable public, which is entirely dependent upon the widespread circulation of the benefits and harmful effects to health and well-being of certain behaviors. A successful disease prevention program is also determined by the willingness of individuals to alter their habits, attitudes and behaviors, taking full responsibility for their health and the health of their family. At Victory Programs’ Mobile Prevention Team, we recognize and serve the needs of community members throughout Boston—improving health outcomes by seamlessly connecting clients to resources and knowledge through navigation, outreach and education. Our central goal is to reduce mortality and enhance the quality of life for the individuals we serve.

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