It was the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub that made Josh Eisenstat realize that anti-LGBTQ violence can strike close to home, even in “safe spaces.”
“I think a lot of people don’t process that there’s violence that goes on here, every day, against LGBTQ folks in D.C.,” he says. “It’s an issue that doesn’t get a lot of attention, so it’s up to me to raise awareness about that.”
Eisenstat now serves as co-chair of the DC Anti-Violence Project, a volunteer-driven group based out of The DC Center for the LGBT Community aimed at reducing the incidence of and responding to hate crimes and other bias-motivated incidents.
The group also provides therapy and group and individual counseling services for survivors or victims of violent, bias-motivated crimes, free of cost.
DC AVP hosts a quarterly event at Busboys and Poets restaurant, “Taking the Stage, Taking A Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence,” an open mike night where people express their feelings about violence and recovery through song, dance, or spoken word.
Through it, the group hopes to attract new volunteers enthusiastically willing to use their talents on behalf of the larger community.
“We’re looking for people who are outraged at the level of violence that LGBTQ people continue to face in D.C.,” Eisenstat says. “From sexual violence to hate violence, to policies that don’t provide people with their basic needs. We’re looking for anyone who has energy, from those who are good at social media to those already doing anti-violence work who would like to collaborate.”
The DC Anti-Violence Project holds its monthly meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month at The DC Center, 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. The group’s next “Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence” event is Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Busboys and Poets, 2001 14th St. NW. Visit thedccenter.org.
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