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Ali He’shun Forney: When a drop in center is a privilege

Almost 20 years ago, today a 22 years old youth was killed in the streets of New York City. He is Ali Forney, a gender non-confirming African American.
What happens when there are no resources, no safe space, no guidance?… You are just roaming the streets, hustling to find a meal – somewhere to rest your head. Someone told me that New York is the place for homeless youth. But the semantics alone is an oxymoron. Hundreds of youth are still making waiting lists in the big city.

Last summer while I was at camp I heard stories of LGBT youth in New York City, without jobs, bouncing from appointments to appointments, simply trying to keep up with everyday life. What is it like sleeping on trains, waiting all day in libraries, trying to find the next shelter that is having a bed opening? Go 20 years back, I can’t imagine New York being any safer than it is today. What was going on in Ali’s mind the night he was murdered?

This is a story that easily brings me to tears. Ali was only 22 years old when he died. I am 22. At 22, there isn’t much life lived there. You are just starting to figure out life, especially when your entire youth years was never lived. Understanding that there is only one shelter in your town and its run by a church but it’s not safe, must have been devastating.

When I look at Ali in this video, I see a powerful youngster, a strong individual with a lot of life and a great promise. This was an advocate, a fierce speaker and a charismatic leader, but he was gay.

I am also touched by Carl Siciliano for the work he is doing for Homeless youth in New York City. I think this is a beautiful human being. I believe in his vision and I am inspired by his promise to homesless LGBT youth, having found the largest LGBT community center in the country, the Ali Forney Center.

The holidays can be especially difficult for homeless youth. If you wish to make a donation to help homeless youth, I would suggest donating to the Ali Forney Center. You may make a donation https://aliforneycenter.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.general.”>here: https://aliforneycenter.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.general.

RIP Ali Forney.

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