The Ali Forney Center’s WE ARE FAMILY Dance-A-Thon

A celebratory event that directly supports the non-profit’s LGBTQ+ homeless youth meals program

On Trans Day of Remembrance, this 20 November, the Ali Forney Center (AFC)—the nation’s largest non-profit committed to housing, feeding and supporting homeless LGBTQ+ youth—will host the WE ARE FAMILY DANCE-A-THON at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY. Funds from the culinary-oriented, energetic and optimistic event will directly benefit AFC’s meals program and the organization’s critical efforts at assisting the food insecure. Bridging fundraising elements with queer nightlife, the daytime event’s programming will feature beloved DJs Amber Valentine, Ty Sunderland, The Muses and more, as well as drag artists including Monét X Change, the fitness studio Dance Church and others.

AFC responds to the most devastating form of homophobia and transphobia: when parents abuse, neglect, reject or abandon their children because they are queer. “The mission of the Ali Forney Center is to protect LGBTQ+ youth from the harms of homelessness and to provide them with the tools they need to rebuild their lives,” Alex Roque, president and executive director of AFC, tells COOL HUNTING. “It was started five years after Ali’s murder and it’s evolved significantly. Our work involves helping new people address the trauma of family rejection.” This crisis of hatred occurs across the US and the world. As such, AFC works with 44 domestic partners and they operate in 10 different countries.

Events like this let our kids know that people care about that, that people want them to have meals, that people believe they are worthy of being cared for and that they’re worthy of love

“We are Family has grown because it is what our clients need the most: a family of support,” Roque continues. “This family helps us feed our kids and meet the gap in funding. These events are an opportunity to help another person, to make a difference. It’s especially important for LGBTQ+ people who are homeless and who have been rejected by their families because they’ve been let down by the people that are supposed to love them unconditionally. Events like this let our kids know that people care about that, that people want them to have meals, that people believe they are worthy of being cared for and that they’re worthy of love.”

Food at the dance-a-thon will be provided by several acclaimed chefs, including Ursula‘s Eric See, Bill Clark, Tony Ortiz, Greg Rales from Red Gate Bakery, Woldy Kusina, Andy Baraghani, Nasim Lahbichi, Will Coleman, Grossy Pelosy and Jeremy Soloman from Agi’s Counter. All of these communal efforts support almost 400,000 meals AFC provides throughout 17 housing sites, as well as their 24-hour Harlem drop-in center. Tickets can be purchased online now for $100.

Images courtesy of Patrick Arias