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  • Writer's pictureJoe Halsch

A Reflection on 2022!

Dear Friends,

As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on and celebrate our community. The last several years presented all of us with challenges that did not always have a clear path to resolution. The pandemic forced some organizations to close, and the tumult in our civic discourse continues to threaten the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth and families. Nevertheless, the Jim Toy Community Center is still here, LGBTQ+ rights federally and locally have expanded, and we look forward to a new year of growth and development.

Of the many events of this year, Jim’s passing brought a sense of profound sadness, gratitude, and determination. Sadness because we lost a teacher and a guide in the fight for our rights. Gratitude for the legacy he leaves behind through numerous projects, initiatives, and this Center. And the determination to find opportunities to expand on the work of this organization and make good trouble.

This past year has given us reasons to celebrate. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act includes protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Further, Congress passed legislation to mandate federal recognition of same-sex marriages. These achievements could not have happened without decades of advocacy by activists and organizations like ours.

However, powerful forces are aggressively attacking transgender youth. Across the country, we have seen anti-transgender laws passed in too many states. Even with the progress made, Michigan is still a place where LGBTQ+ rights are vulnerable. Without codifying into law protections in areas such as housing and education, our advancements may only be temporary.

Ann Arbor Pride this year was special. For the first time since 2019, we were finally able to come together safely. It was beautiful to see community members, families, allies, and local leaders enjoy a space of love and acceptance. Pride 2022, like many Prides before, was a tangible symbol of why the work of our organization must continue.

As we reflect on the last year, the Jim Toy Community Center is focused on the great work ahead of us. Next year offers unique opportunities to advocate and deliver on behalf of our community. The task of the Center to build a visible and diverse community is just as important today as it always has been. Yet, how we do that work will reflect changes that numerous organizations needed to make due to the pandemic.

We hope, if you can, support our efforts and make a financial contribution to help make good trouble, speak truth to power, and counter injustice with greater justice. With your help, we will be able to hire a designated staff person, fund grants, and eventually return to a physical space.

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