Social Work Corner – LGBTQ+ immigrant youth: Finding Power Through Civic Engagement – June 2024

By CILA's Social Work Team

As we celebrate Pride Month this election year, we are presented with a great opportunity to prioritize civic engagement for ourselves and the LGBTQ+ immigrant youth we support. Through civic involvement, we can demonstrate our commitment to being allies to LGBTQ+ youth. Through their own engagement, these youth can have a platform to voice the challenges they and other marginalized communities face and to advocate for change.

LGBTQ+ youth often feel isolated and disconnected from their community. Participation in civic activities can help foster a sense of belonging, which is vital for healing and integration. Civic engagement can also help cultivate valuable skills such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking, thereby boosting self-confidence. Involvement in the community can instill hope and promote a future-oriented mindset, enabling us all to envision and propel the change needed for creating a more inclusive and safe community for all.

As an advocate, you can encourage and support LGBTQ+ these youth in civic engagement by:

  • Connecting them with networks and organizations focusing on LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights, providing additional support and resources, including mentorship, advocacy training, and platforms to amplify their voices.
  • Sharing success stories of LGBTQ+ immigrant youth who have made significant impacts in their communities, serving as powerful reminders of the change achievable through dedication and activism. These narratives are particularly important during Pride Month and beyond, inspiring hope and solidarity.

For political civic engagement you can encourage and support these youth by:

  • Providing education and providing resources about their rights and the political process. Even if they cannot vote, they can still participate in the democratic process.
  • Encouraging them to volunteer in their local campaigns and political organizations. Volunteering is a powerful way to support causes and candidates that align with their values. These organizations often need volunteers to do canvassing or help with event planning.
  • Encouraging them to speak up about issues that matter to them. Participating in peaceful protests and using social media to raise awareness are effective ways to advocate for change.
  • Encouraging and supporting them in joining or forming community groups focused on LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights. This can create a support network and amplify their voices propelling real change.

As advocates we have a duty to support and help uplift our clients’ voices. Every voice matter, and together, we can create a more inclusive and just society.