Author Archives: Moderator

$2,175 Raised in First Crowdfunding Campaign

Flowers in front of a Flaming Chalice with "$2,175! Thank You!" textThank you!

We are very grateful for people who clicked and donated yesterday to the Guardian Group’s first attempt to raise money through crowdfunding. Our GiveOUT page shows a total of $2,175 has been donated to help LGBT refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees.

We appreciate the Horizon Foundation’s offer to let us participate in the nationwide GiveOUT Day. During the 24 hours of this campaign our supporters shared our posts, retweeted, and donated.

The is the Guardian Group’s first experience asking for money through social media. It worked! We will be back… but, not too often. Our next fundraising will include online donations, but it will focus on people of faith and, specifically, Unitarian Universalists. Not so many general Tweets and Facebook posts!

The money raised will allow us to continue to help LGBT newcomers settle in the Bay Area. The funds will go to things like bicycle repairs, bus passes, cell phone service, and some emergency housing support.

San Francisco is very expensive. The money we received will help us help vulnerable people get a start creating a new, free life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Nigerian Asylum Seeker Granted Asylum

Today one of our clients was told that his asylum application was granted!

US and Gay Flags blended with the words ASYLUM GRANTED shown

We are very, very happy for this man who we have known and worked with for over two years.

This time next year he’ll be eligible to apply for a Green Card. And, four years from today he’ll be able to apply for citizenship.

We are a stronger, better country because he is here.  He will be an excellent citizen.

Spreading the Word

Cover photo of Junior on the Guardian Group brochureThe need to support LGBT refugees and asylum seekers has only increased with the change of administrations in Washington.  Rightly or wrongly, anxiety levels have increased among people who have fled to the United States because of violent homophobic conditions in their home country. These newcomers need people to listen and stand by them.

The Guardian Group’s emotional and practical support cannot affect Washington policies. But, we can offer frightened newcomers a community to talk to. We can also try to help refugees and asylum seekers find housing and jobs, and we can help them navigate state and Federal bureaucracies.

We continue to need people to volunteer as housing hosts, allowing an asylum seeker or refugee to stay with them for little or no rent.  We need people to be the primary contact for a newcomer, to be a non-anxious presence in anxious times.  We need other people to help us write grant requests, create policies, and outreach into the wider community.  We also, of course, need money.

We have creased a brochure that we are handing out a church, forums, and other places where allies gather.  (See the publication in PDF format.)

Check out the help we need.  Let us know if you can help. Share the brochure with someone you know who can help!

Group Helps two More Asylum Seekers

This week the Guardian Group met with two asylum seekers new to San Francisco and volunteered to help them settle in the Bay Area. The number of people we have helped since our formation in 2011 is now 14.

Here are our new clients:

23-Year Old Gay Man from Uganda"My boyfriend is an immigrant" T-shirt

“M” came to the US in June for the family’s business and while here his family back home discovered pictures of M and his boyfriend. The family told him that they would have him arrested as soon as he returned.  They also cut off his access to money. So, without having planned to stay in the US, M is forced to seek asylum and has no resources to support himself. And, like most asylum seekers, he is not eligible to work for at least six months.

The people in the Guardian Group who have met him are impressed by his intelligence and spirit.

Our group has given him food, a clipper card,  and went with him to Goodwill to buy some clothes.  He has been in touch with a pro-bono attorney to file the formal asylum request.

He needs a laptop computer and housing starting August 25th.

33-Year Old Lesbian from Cameroon

“J” is a lovely woman, very pleasant and speaks fairly good English.  She is living with a lesbian couple and their 3-year-old daughter.  They are in an apartment near Lake Merritt in Oakland. Back home J did not have a regular job, but sold ice cream on the street.   She suffered from brutal physical and mental attacks and escaped to the United States in April this year.  When she arrived in the US the Immigration and Custom Enforcement put her in detention until she was bailed out and joined the women from Oakland.

The Guardian Group will help her connect with local services and provide assistance with the living costs.

The Need Grows, Our Work Continues

The Guardian Group gets frequent emails and calls from people asking for help and from people who know newcomers who need support.  We cannot help most of the people we learn about because of our limited resources.  We are very happy that we were able to accept these two clients this week.

Why the Equality Act is Needed to Help End Discrimination Against LGBT People

Our client from the Democratic Republic of the Congo — the only person who is public about working with us — has been discriminated against in this country because of the way he looks and acts.  His experience has convinced him that the US needs to add legal protections to Federal laws protecting LGBT people.

The Guardian Group or the church doesn’t have an official position on the Equality Act that is being debated in Congress. But, we are proud that Junior is still fighting for equality and learning about the legislative process of his new home country.

Hear Junior advocate for the Equality Act.