Meet our grantee partner, Immigrant Youth Coalition

An interview with Immigrant Youth Coalition’s Communications Coordinator Yessica Gonzalez.

The Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) is an undocumented and queer/trans youth led organization based in California, that mobilizes youth, families and incarcerated people to end the criminalization of immigrants and people of color. Through story-based strategies and grassroots organizing, IYC brings the struggles of directly impacted communities to the forefront of our movements to create social, cultural and policy change.  

In the video above, IYC Communications Coordinator Yessica Gonzalez shares more about the importance of the organization’s work, as well as what it’s meant to receive support from Astraea.

Learn more about Immigrant Youth Coalition.


Video transcript:

I think meeting other resilient queer, undocumented folks who have become my best friends, and creating a different world that we’re envisioning forward, that’s been one of the powerful moments doing this work.

There’s a lot of media attention around immigrant visibility, and we always see the good, light-skin student who is valedictorian as the one who should get citizenship. So when there are other folks who don’t fit into that criteria, they’re easier to be targeted because then they don’t seem as the ones who are deserving of all these other treatments.

A few years ago we launched a campaign called the TRUST Act to stop the collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration. That was really instrumental because it would stop people getting targeted. Or, at least, when they were stopped by police and asked for an I.D., or questioned for anything, they wouldn’t be directly funneled into a detention center, and it would give more security to folks who were victims of domestic violence, or who had been victims of a crime to call upon somebody and not fear that they would be deported or fear direct persecution or direct criminalization through immigration enforcement.

We know that citizenship isn’t the answer because a piece of paper isn’t going to take away the anxiety, depression, trauma that a lot of people are going through or absolve the targeting and criminalization of folks. Colorism is a reality, so by saying “it’s beyond citizenship, and it’s about stopping deportations,” I think that is more of the framing that we want to go towards.

Astraea was actually our first funder back in 2013, and thanks to the support of Astraea, we’ve been able to get more access to funds and sustain the work that we’ve been doing and supporting it through leadership development. And we are seeing other youth who are undocumented and who are queer creating more spaces for themselves. And, also, supporting other folks so we can continue the work and create long-term visioning.

I think personally, growing up undocumented and getting to know other undocumented folks and knowing that we’re resilient people! Everybody thinks that we’re this sad story but no, undocumented people are great! Yeah, we’re hard-working but yeah, we also know how to have fun, you know? We also know how to smile. We also know how to laugh. We also know how to do other amazing things. And I think seeing somebody reunite with their family after they’ve been incarcerated or detained, being able to mobilize, empower themselves to tell other people about the work and that it’s okay to fight back and it’s okay to take on your own case. And then seeing them outside of a detention center, when they’re back with their community, back with their family, to me that has been the highlight of this whole work. And it always reminds me why we continue to do this.

Elliot Page and Jason Reitman to hold CASABLANCA live read benefitting Astraea

Join us on December 13, 2018 for a special live reading of Casablanca with Writer/Director Jason Reitman and Academy Award nominated actor Elliot Page! All proceeds will benefit Astraea.

Come away with us to Casablanca as Writer/Director Jason Reitman, in collaboration with Academy Award nominated actor Elliot Page, brings back his acclaimed “Live Read” series with a modern diverse cast of artists reimagining the classic 1940s film. Cast members will include Elliot Page, Kiersey Clemons, Hannah Gadsby, Emily Hampshire, Indya Moore, Kate Moennig and Olivia Wilde.

Enjoy an evening at the iconic Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles and show up in true Casablanca style with your trench coat and fedora. Cocktails will be served, and nostalgic memorabilia will be available for purchase. Join us there!

Date: December 13, 2018
Time: 8pm PST
Location: Ace Theater, Los Angeles, California

*All proceeds to benefit LGBTQI grassroots activists through Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which supports the bravest and most radical organizations fighting for change.




Press about the event:

For more information, please contact Astraea’s Development Officer for Special Events, Sally Troncoso, via or 212-810-4155.

Astraea’s 2018 Fueling the Frontlines Gala

Mark your calendars: Astraea’s signature West Coast event Fueling the Frontlines returns to Los Angeles on Thursday, November 8, 2018!

Mark your calendars: Astraea’s signature West Coast event, the Fueling the Frontlines Awards, returns to Los Angeles on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at the NeueHouse Hollywood. Join us as we celebrate and honor activists, artists and philanthropists who are leading the new era of resistance and fueling the movement for LGBTQI justice.

Purchase tickets here!


Dignity and Power Now

Dignity and Power Now was created to be the principle organization for a multifaceted, trauma informed, healing, motivated movement to end state violence and mass incarceration.

Dignity and Power Now was created to be the principle organization for a multifaceted, trauma informed, healing, motivated movement to end state violence and mass incarceration. Dignity and Power Now is founded and chaired by Black Lives Matter Cofounder Patrisse Khan-Cullors. Dignity and Power Now (DPN) is a Los Angeles based grassroots organization founded in 2012 that fights for the dignity and power of all incarcerated people, their families, and communities. Our mission is to build a Black and Brown led abolitionist movement rooted in community power towards the goal of achieving transformative justice and healing justice for all incarcerated people, their families, and communities.

Meet Astraea donor, Alice Hom

Astraea donor Alice Hom shares why she chooses to #GiveToAstraea to support grassroots LGBTQI activism all over the world.

Astraea donor Alice Hom is a historian and community builder invested in bridging diverse and overlapping communities. She served on Astraea’s board during the early 00’s, and now serves on the boards of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women, California Humanities, and Borealis Philanthropy.

In the video above, listen as Alice shares why she chooses to #GiveToAstraea to support grassroots LGBTQI activism all over the world.

Listen to Alice Y. Hom’s podcast, Historically Queer, uncovering historical and contemporary stories about LGBTQ Activists of Color, at

Want to join Alice as a long-time Astraea supporter? Donate here or join our donor alliance!

Honor author and activist Jeanne Córdova with us in LA

Astraea is thrilled to announce that we will be honoring Jeanne Córdova at our 2018 Fueling the Frontlines Awards on November 8th in Los Angeles.

“Jeanne looked ahead and saw her generation of lesbian feminist activists, many of whom had been blessed to make comfortable lives for themselves, many of whom didn’t have children of their own, and felt it was really important to get the word out to them about giving to their lesbian and queer children, about giving back to their community.” –Lynn Harris Ballen, Jeanne Cordova’s partner

Astraea is thrilled to announce that we will be honoring Jeanne Córdova at our 2018 Fueling the Frontlines Awards on November 8th, 2018 in Los Angeles. Author, activist, and Chicana-identified butch woman Jeanne Córdova devoted her life to activism on behalf of the LGBTQI community. Although best and most recently known for her award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws, Córdova’s activism and collective organizing spans decades–from founding the popular 1970’s lesbian feminist newspaper The Lesbian Tide to acting as President of the Stonewall Democratic Club. Córdova’s contributions to the lesbian feminist and extended LGBTQI communities are phenomenal, yet at all times it was the power of community and shared lesbian leadership that fueled her philosophy. In A Letter About Dying, to My Lesbian Communities she thanked the thousands of members of the national lesbian communities whose activism, lives, and loves touched her own–“especially those dykes who have become family and siblings of choice over the last 40 years.”

Jeanne was committed to helping sustain the movements that supported her as a young Chicana-lesbian activist. Before Córdova passed away in early 2016, she proclaimed, “It is wonderful to have had a life’s cause: freedom and dignity for lesbians,” and announced that her estate would donate $2 million to Astraea to carry out just that goal. “We need to think about giving to our gay and lesbian youth and institutions like Astraea or other lesbian organizations. They’re the ones who are nurturing our real daughters right now, around the world,” Córdova wrote in her final letter announcing the donation. In 2017, the Jeanne R. Córdova Fund supported 14 powerful grassroots organizations in South/Latin America and Southern Africa that focus on movement-building, human rights, journalism and cultural activism among lesbians, feminists, butch and masculine and gender nonconforming communities.

Jeanne created so much more than a considerable legacy with her intentional bequest — she created decades of possibility — for Astraea, for our movements, and for our people. Jeanne exemplifies the visionary philanthropy we celebrate and depend on every day. It is in this spirit that we both honor and celebrate Jeanne’s formidable life and legacy at our Fueling the Frontlines Gala on November 8th.

Celebrate Jeanne Córdova with us on November 8th!

Tickets to the gala are now available at an early bird rate! Buy yours via the button below to #FuelTheFrontlines of LGBTQI activism and celebrate Jeanne Córdova’s legacy with us:

Purchase your ticket



Questions about our Fueling the Frontlines Gala? For more information, contact Sally Troncoso at 212.810.4155 or


A New Global Acceptance Index for LGBT people

Today, the Williams Institute, as part of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership has released three new research reports detailing the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people around the world.

Today, the Williams Institute, as part of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership has released three new research reports detailing the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people around the world. The findings reveal that LGBT rights have increased globally since 1980, though acceptance has become more polarized; increasing in the most accepting countries and decreasing in the least.

The Global Acceptance Index ranked 141 countries on their relative level of social acceptance of LGBT people and rights. Findings were analyzed from 11 cross-national, global and regional surveys and reveal that 80 countries (57%) experienced increases in acceptance. Forty-six countries (33%) experienced a decline in acceptance and 15 countries (11%) were unchanged.

“The Global Acceptance Index provides a consistent and comparable way to measure attitudes and attitude change, which could better understand inclusion of LGBT people in many areas of social, economic, and political life,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute.

Two additional studies used the Global Acceptance Index to analyze the effects of LGBT acceptance and inclusion. Examining the Relationship between Social Acceptance of LGBT People and Legal Inclusion of Sexual Minorities found that democracies with a commitment to a free press and the rule of law had the strongest relationship. However, the relationship between acceptance and legal inclusion becomes weaker in shrinking civic spaces, such as autocracies and anocracies.

A third study, Links between Economic Development and New Measures of LGBT Inclusion, affirmed previous findings that the inclusion of LGBT people is linked to a country’s economic performance.

Some key findings include

  • Legal measures appear to be stronger predictors than social acceptance.
  • Legal rights and social acceptance may be stronger predictors of GDP per capita when combined than when they are alone.
  • Countries with the most inclusive Legal Environment Index showed a statistically significant addition of $8,259 in GDP per capita.

These new measures allow for global, cross-national comparisons of public sentiment about LGBT people and their rights. “The Global Acceptance Index,” notes Kerry-Jo Ford Lyn, Director of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership, “provides a critical global benchmark for measuring and comparing progress we make in ensuring that LGBT populations are protected from violence, stigma, and discrimination wherever they are.”

Astraea is committed to supporting the LGBTQI grassroots organizations around the world who are working to reduce violence and discrimination, and bring lasting social justice to our communities.


Note: These reports were produced as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Global Development Partnership. The Partnership was founded in 2012 and brings together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Arcus Foundation, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, the Williams Institute, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RFSL), and other corporate, non-profit, and non-governmental organization resource partners.

#FuelTheFrontlines Spotlight: Jorge and Paola Ramos

We’re only days away from Astraea’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards in Los Angeles!

On May 25th, 2017 at the Ace Museum, we will gather to celebrate the frontline voices who are leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Bruce Cohen, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

The night will also feature an exclusive performance from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera by Toshi Reagon and cast members, as co-authored by civil rights activist Bernice Johnson Reagon. You won’t want to miss this bold and timely performance.

A limited number of tickets are still available. Get yours now.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to father and daughter Fueling honorees, Emmy Award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos and Latinx public servant Paola Ramos. Together, Jorge and Paola have over 45 years’ experience in elevating the narratives and championing the issues important to queer Latinos and their allies across the United States.

Seasoned newscaster Jorge Ramos has documented five wars, covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, and interviewed countless world leaders. Ramos’ in-depth reporting and forthright commentary on human rights, immigration, white supremacy, and other issues that directly impact our communities is his invaluable contribution to the resistance. After being physically removed from a press conference in 2015 by asking how the then-hopeful Trump administration planned to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, Ramos did not cease asking the hard questions: instead, he went directly to the source, creating the documentary Hate Rising, an expose on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and other emboldened hate groups in the United States.

“Discrimination is still present in this country. We need organizations like Astraea to make sure that the rights of everyone are being protected,” Ramos tells us.

Sharing her father’s vision for a just world, New York City Council spokesperson PaolaRamos works to protect human rights by fighting for the sanctuary and equity of immigrants in the five boroughs. A fierce believer in her communities, Ramos previously served as Deputy Director of Hispanic Media for Hillary Clinton’s 2017 President Campaign, where her efforts ensured that Secretary Clinton maintained an open dialogue with Latino and immigrant communities across the country. “We have Dreamers knocking on doors which never have before. We see Latinos lining up with their grandmothers and their cousins. It’s our job to capture those positive stories and to keep it going,” she urges.

Join us in honoring Jorge and Paola Ramos for their tireless commitment to migrant rights on May 25th.

Unable to attend the Awards? Still want to celebrate the intrepid spirits of grassroots activists? Donate a ticket so that a community member can attend this inspiring event. To learn more, please contact Loran Hamilton at

#FueltheFrontlines Spotlight: WHEN WE RISE producer Bruce Cohen

We are nearly a week away from Astraea’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards in sunny Los Angeles, California!

On May 25th, 2017 at the Ace Museum, Astraea will honor the frontline activists who are leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Bruce Cohen, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

The night will also feature a special ensemble performance from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera, co-authored by Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon––a production that was made for times like these!

Have you made plans to spend a memorable evening with us? If not, a limited number of tickets are still available. Get yours today.

Today, we excited to introduce you to 2017 Fueling the Frontlines honoree Bruce Cohen, who passionately believes in the intimate stories behind our queer liberation.

Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen is renowned in Hollywood for producing nuanced films about everyday people, including our LGBTQI movement forbearers. In addition to an Academy Award win for American Beauty in 2000, Bruce was nominated in 2009 for his work on Milk and again in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, tells the story of Harvey Milk, the celebrated gay rights activist who became the first out elected official in California, thus paving the way for queer civil servants across the country.

In 2017, Bruce once more teamed up with Black on Black’s creation When We Rise, an epic television miniseries that tells the story of the first forty years of queer movement building in the United States. From Cleve Jones and Roma Guy to the Daughters of Bilitis and ACT UP, our community’s history is dramatized in six episodes that are masterfully staged by some of the greatest LGBTQI directors––including Astraea grantee partner Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) and Van Sant.

Join us in honoring Bruce for his commitment to queer artistic collaboration and his championing of on-screen resistance on May 25th.

Get your tickets today.

#FueltheFrontlines Spotlight: Activist and trans organizer Jennicet Gutiérrez

Have you made plans to attend this year’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards yet? Please join us on May 25, 2017 at the Ace Museum in Los Angeles as we honor the frontline activists leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

We are organizing at the moment to mobilize our communities because the new administration came out heavily attaching the immigrant community. We want to make sure we have a plan in place to protect and defend.

Jennicet Gutiérrez

Tickets are selling quickly; get yours soon.

Today, we are excited to profile translatina activist and 2017 Fueling the Frontlines honoree Jennicet Gutiérrez.

Jennicet believes that her struggle for liberation began with her birth in Tuxpan, Jalisco, México, which was unaided by a midwife. In the three decades since then, she’s fearlessly advocated for her fellow trans people of color. An organizer with Los Angeles-based Astraea grantee partner Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Jennicet works to end the deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrants and all Brown and Black folks. Recently, Familia has successfully campaigned to terminate Santa Ana County Jail’s contract with ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), thus ending the inhumane detainment of immigrants.

In June 2015, Jennicet received national media attention and created a critically important platform for undocumented LGBTQI people when she bravely interrupted President Barack Obama’s LGBT Pride Month Reception speech to draw attention to the growing numbers of LGBTQ people being forcefully held by the United States. “I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgement of our gender expression and the release of the estimated 75 transgender immigrants in detention right now. There is no pride in how LGBTQ immigrants are treated in this country and there can be no celebration with an administration that has the ability to keep us detained and in danger or release us to freedom,” she wrote in the Washington Blade the next day.

Currently, Jennicet and Familia are tirelessly working to end the deportation of Valeria de la Luz, an undocumented transwoman, through the #FreeValeria campaign.

Proceeds from Fueling the Frontlines benefit LGBTQI grassroots activists like Jennicet who are doing brave and bold work in the United States and around the world.

Get your tickets today.

Unable to attend the Awards? Still want to celebrate the intrepid spirits of grassroots activists? Donate a ticket so that a community member can attend this inspiring event. To learn more, please contact Loran Hamilton at


The 2017 Fueling the Frontlines Host Committee