Harlem Pride, an uptown LGBT group, launched an online petition for what is being called the “Community Pride Center.”
Carmen Neely, president of Harlem Pride, told the Daily News the purpose of the center is to celebrate its LGBT residents, offer support and provide programming that caters to the diverse LGBT community in upper Manhattan.
“Our time is now. It’s needed in this community. It’s been way too long,” said Neely, who co-founded Harlem Pride in 2010 as uptown’s LGBT community continued to increase in prominence and size.
Neely said the center is not a project of Harlem Pride, though the organization is spearheading the effort to gather support. She said the project is a collaborative effort between several LGBT groups and leaders.
The center would be the first of its kind in upper Manhattan, Neely said, adding it would offer a space for LGBT youth, office space for LGBT groups and focus on educating the community about issues like HIV/AIDS awareness.
Currently, members of the uptown LGBT community have to travel downtown to The Center on W. 13th St.
Neely said talks of creating a LGBT center in Harlem have been ongoing for years because of a lack of outlets for people of color who identify as LGBT.
“We would like to fill that gap,” she said.
Neely said it could be several years before such a project becomes a reality, but she’s glad to start the process. The plan, she said, is to build awareness and support through the online petition, then begin a capital campaign. They hope to raise between $5 and $10 million, she said.
“We hope by 2015, we can be in a building and operating,” she said. “We want to put it in Harlem.”
In just over two weeks, more than 100 people have signed the online petition, Neely said.
For more information and to sign the petition, visit harlempride.org.