On July 22, 2018, approximately sixty-five people gathered inside of the Belvedere Hotel, Empire Room located at 319 West 48th Street, New York, New York 10036 to participate in the “State of the LGBTQ Believer: Healing Faith Trauma in Communities of Color” Town Hall Discussion. Some traveled from as far as Virginia to lend their voices to this dynamic discussion. The town hall discussion included presentations from those affected directly by faith trauma, as well as a panel featuring some local voices leading the fight against negative conventions as they relate to religious, societal, familial and internal trauma.
The idea of the town hall evolved from an initial conversation that founder, Renair Amin, had with her doctoral site team about how to handle clientele surveys regarding LGBTQ Faith Trauma. At first it was suggested that an online survey be created and filled out by clients in order to collect sufficient data. However, after much consideration, Renair realized that it would be much more effective to hear from the people directly. It occurred to everyone involved that the only way to achieve this would be to host a free event with open registration and our discussion would emulate that of a town hall. In addition to the live event, there was also an online Facebook group created for those who wished to participate but were located outside of New York. An Instagram account (@lgbtqfaithmatters) was created and dedicated to the town hall proceedings with information regarding the event and posts related to working through faith trauma and the process of healing.
Based on the feedback of that day, Renair knew in her heart that the town hall was just the seed and the conversation around LGBTQ Faith Trauma in Communities of Color must continue. The overall mission of the State of the LGBTQ Believer of Color Series is to foster conversations in the LGBTQ Faith Community of Color to help facilitate healing, education and growth individually and collectively.