News • June 10, 2020

#TheTimeIsNow To Support LGBTQ Youth

This Pride month, Equality North Carolina Foundation is joining the organizers and leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in saying: "enough is enough!" We invite you to join us in solidarity with this movement and this moment.

At ENCF, our work is rooted in fighting for a more equitable future and we believe that young people will be the leaders of that change. This Pride month and leading up to Give OUT Day on June 30, we're spotlighting four very special rural youth from across North Carolina who are fighting to build a better state through our Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship. We hope you'll join us in learning about them and supporting their work through Equality North Carolina Foundation in the weeks to come.


For many rural LGBTQ youth living in North Carolina, isolation from community is, unfortunately, a part of everyday life. When Carter J entered ENCF's Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship in 2018, he was a student at East Carolina University where he'd experienced a lack of support for both LGBTQ people of color and folks living with HIV in the Greenville area.

"In Greenville, it's very difficult to [build out] networks because we have so many barriers -- we're more rural than the other regions of North Carolina," Carter J told ENCF.

Through the RYE Fellowship program, ENCF was able to give Carter J the tools to create a space for people of color, people living with HIV and LGBTQ folks to find each other. His project through ENCF was titled the H.I.M Empowerment Project, which stands for the "Human. In. Me. Empowerment Project."

Over the course of a year, the H.I.M Empowerment project regularly brought these marginalized communities together to hold space, discuss their shared struggles and build out lifesaving relationships.

"HIV is disproportionately hitting Black and Brown communities harder, and that's going in-depth into our economics and how systemic racism works, and illnesses that our society has shed onto people of color," Carter J told ENCF. "Freedom is a constant struggle and the fight for our rights -- civil rights, human rights -- we need to know that all of these issues are interconnected."


The Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship began in 2018 with the question, "How can we help queer youth thrive in rural North Carolina?" Now the question is, "How can we scale the impact of the RYE Fellowship?" The answer is you.

Will you give $25 today to help us fund the next cohort of Rural Youth Empowerment Fellows this Fall? With your support, youth like Carter J will be able to build out more spaces for vulnerable North Carolinians as we navigate this new reality together in the months ahead.

Thank you for everything that you do for Equality North Carolina Foundation and the youth of this state -- it means the world.

P.S. -- Check out a very special video message from Carter J here!

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