We are thrilled to update everyone on the amazing work that Lucie's Place is doing. We are happy to report that we have seen amazing progress since our last update. We are happy to make special announcements that pertain to upcoming events, housing, and new services we are providing.
1. Lucie's Place can host your next community event, baby shower, or mixer! Apply here: docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeK6F6RQhnslYyysdhKTPbbbn42YY8F3nvJrh4UtLKQ78JFEQ/viewform
2. We can also do name changes any time during opening hours, swing by!
April 1, 2023, there is a name and gender clinic being held at CALS Library. This clinic will be offered as a resource support for trans individuals to legally change their names. Staffed with trained individuals and those who have experienced working with trans people and knowledgeable about the legal requirements and procedures. If you or someone you know is looking to be serviced it's FREE!
Moonchild Comes to LR
Moonchild is a band that was formed in Los Angeles, California in 2012. The band is known for its unique blend of neo-soul, jazz, and R&B music. The group consists of core members: Amber Navran on vocals and saxophone, Max Bryk on keys, and Andris Mattson on drums. April 13, 2023, they're performing at The Hall, 721 W 9th St, Little Rock, Arkansas. They will be donating their proceeds to Lucie's Place!
Lucie’s Place started a community garden last year and it turned out to be a great way to bring people together and foster a sense of community while also showing our love for mother nature. Saturday, April 15, 2023, we are throwing a Garden party welcomed and open to all ages! We will have it hosted at our center from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. It's an opportunity to get all your friends and family to come together and celebrate nature, food, and one another. We hope to see you and your loved ones come on out :) !
Lucie’s Place house should be opening this spring! The LP house reopening is a long time coming as much hard work, time, and dedication has been spent to make this happen.
Our core mission is to provide a safe, supportive environment where these individuals can find stability and community in an accepting environment. Especially, during high stress times like these where our trans siblings are being attacked on a state level, housing is needed more than ever.
Outreach for LGBTQ+ members around central AR is happening now! Priority will be given to those who are the most vulnerable, applications are on our website and are open now.
It’s important that we thank you! We thank our community for supporting, donating, volunteering, lending a hand, and answering when we call! Volunteers are the backbone of many organizations and communities, providing invaluable support that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. At this time we want to express our heartfelt appreciation to all volunteers who have generously donated their time, energy, and resources to make a difference. We know that without their dedication and commitment we would not be able to do the work we do. We are truly grateful for everything they have done for us, from helping raise funds to making donations.
Lucie’s Place Community Pantry is an amazing initiative that aims to provide new, free food to the LGBTQ+ community in need. It also offers social support and a sense of community by providing free meals, snacks, and other supplies. The pantry will prioritize all LGBTQ+ members, but is also open to anyone who needs assistance regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. With this new initiative, Lucie's Place is hoping to make life a little easier for its patrons and create an inclusive environment for all individuals in their community.
Art NightIn the upcoming months we are planning on having a Community Art Night, where we will be celebrating each other artistically! This event is catered to LGBT members, but is open to everyone, regardless of your identity or artistic background. It will be a night of creativity, self-expression, and community building.
We will provide all the necessary materials and all you need to bring is your creativity and openness to exploring the theme of coming out in your own unique way. This event is a safe and inclusive space for all individuals to express themselves freely and to support one another. We encourage attendees to respect one another's identities and experiences.
In Arkansas, there has been a rise in the number of anti-trans bills proposed and passed. These bills are typically aimed at limiting the rights and freedoms of transgender individuals within the state. These are the most current and up to date status of bills affecting LGBTQ+ individuals within Arkansas.
HB1156: Is a bill that would force trans students to use the bathroom of their sex and not their gender Identity. This would apply not only to restrooms, but locker rooms and overnight trips. This bill has PASSED and will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session has ended.
SB199: Is a proposed Arkansas senate bill that would restrict medical professionals from providing gender-affirming treatments or procedures to minors, with the exception of counseling and therapy. The bill is titled "An Act To Amend The Law Concerning Medical Malpractice And Gender Transition In Minors; And To Create The Protecting Minors From Medical Malpractice Act Of 2023."
This Bill has been PASSED.
SB270: This is a bill that would criminalize Trans people from using the bathroom/locker room that doesn't match their gender identity and would be considered "sexual indecency" if a child were in the room. Criminalizing trans people and would be making them to be registered sex-offenders if passed. This bill is still in the air. This bill has PASSED, but an amendment has been made where it will NOT target Trans people any more.
HB1468: Is a bill that says misgendering Trans people is free speech and prohibits public and higher education schools from using Trans minors pronouns and chosen names. This bill has PASSED.
SB81: Targets "obscene" books and media to minors which prevents LGBTQ+ books, BIPOC books from being accessible. This bill has PASSED.
SB43: Redefined whose considered a Drag performer by criminalizing anyone who exhibits a gender different than assigned at birth. Singing, lip-singing, and/or dancing in front of 2+ people while presenting different than your assigned gender would make someone a drag performer. This bill has PASSED.
Do You Enjoy Cooking? Each Friday of the month we serve up a hot meal for 10-20 members-- which feeds more through the week. If you would like to volunteer to make a meal one or several Fridays out of the month. Please send an email to Jalesa@luciesplace.org
*Interested in being directly notified when we have volunteer opportunities? Click the Sign Up button at the bottom of this newsletter.*
Looking to donate to our members? Here are some of the things we could currently use:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pickup/drop off | For those who would prefer to have donations sent directly to us check out our
We are constantly updating with new needs.
We hope you are doing well and keeping safe! Lucie’s Place has been busy, and we want to let you know what we’ve been up to these past weeks during our Summer of Transition, as well as how you can get involved.
As Central Arkansas sees COVID cases rise, the services Lucie’s Place provides are becoming more and more essential. In order to meet demand, Lucie’s Place restored the hours at our Drop-In Center to be open now 5 days a week, from 10:30 am to 4 pm. At the Drop-In Center, we provide case management and referrals for members as well as food, supplies, bus passes and much more. Check out here to learn more about the Drop In Center. If you have food, clothes, masks, gloves, sanitizer, or other materials you’d like for us to distribute to our members, you can click here.
In the meantime, the search for a new Lucie’s Place Executive Director is ongoing as an Advisory Committee of community stakeholders has begun interviewing prospective candidates. This team of seven representatives and advocates from LGBTQ and homeless organizations as well as community partners has spent many hours reviewing more than 60 candidates who have applied for the position. They’ve brought their insight and experience to the process and review of candidates making sure Lucie's Place, the greater Arkansas community and most importantly our members have the right leader for the future. The Advisory Committee includes representatives from organizations including Our House, The VAN, Center for Artistic Revolution, and Intransitive, among many others. Feedback from the Advisory Committee will be invaluable as the Lucie’s Place Board interviews the finalists for the Executive Director position.
Lucie’s Place hopes to welcome a new Executive Director in the coming weeks, and we look forward to sharing that news and having you join in the excitement when it happens.
Lucie’s Place is proud to announce our sponsorship of Little Rock Black Pride’s celebration this year, taking place July 24th-26th! Little Rock Black Pride is doing essential work for our community here in Central Arkansas, providing and creating spaces for Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people. This year’s event will include a series of workshops, as well as a focus on health and wellness, including free HIV, STD, and Hep-C testing and counseling. For more information on the event, see Little Rock Black Pride on Facebook.
Finally, if you’d like to find a way to relax and get creative, consider joining Americana Creative’s Paint Party on Wednesday, July 29th at 7pm. Part of the proceeds will go to Lucie’s Place. You can watch, or join in yourself and paint your very own rainbow butterfly canvas. To sign up, see the event on Facebook here.
If there’s a clear message that Lucie’s Place has received in the past several weeks, it is that change is needed. Change that benefits our members. Change that leads to improved outcomes. Change that leads to greater connections and accountability to the communities we serve. Many have heard about the challenges Lucie’s Place has experienced, particularly around the closure of our transitional housing program in late April, and its impact upon our members. Seeing the closure of our house for the second time in the last three years has the organization taking a step back, listening and learning, in order to make wiser decisions with the trust our supporters and our members put in our organization.
However, there’s another message that’s clear. Our young homeless people need housing, and need a program and organization like Lucie’s Place to do what it can to tackle those issues.
That’s why we’re on a journey this summer – a Summer of Transition here at Lucie’s Place. And we at Lucie’s Place want to share over this summer the journey our organization will be taking to be responsible, to work and learn from our mistakes, and to change and grow into the organization we’ve always wanted to be and what our young people need us to be.
Much like how our namesake, Lucie, a young Arkansan transgender woman boldly sought to be her authentic self and bring others along with her, being Lucie’s Place is going to take boldness, braveness, and a willingness to change who we are. Change is hard, but Lucie serves as our inspiration for the change we need. If our young people are brave enough to be who they need to be, shouldn’t we do the same?
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share what’s taking place during the Summer of Transition and how you can help take part. For now, your gifts are deeply appreciated as we put them to work to revitalize Lucie's Place. You can make a contribution here.
Already this week, Lucie’s Place has welcomed the expert guidance of group of local community stakeholders ranging homeless organizations to LGBTQ organizations to take part in its search for a new Executive Director. Working side by side with community, Lucie’s Place hopes this search will bring about the leader Lucie’s Place and its members need for a stronger future and stronger community. Those who are interested in the position are encouraged to apply very soon here in order to receive full consideration from the advisory group.
Please continue to follow us here our blog as well as Lucie’s Place on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more about Lucie’s Summer of Transition in the months ahead.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed what Lucie’s Place and its supporters already know: LGBTQ people should be allowed to work without the fear of being fired simply because of who they are or who they love. This ruling, which states that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, brings us a step closer towards the goals we have laid out in our mission. Monday’s decision will be an important piece in our mission to “ensure lifelong stability” for our members.
“Securing employment is so important for Lucie’s Place members,” said Andrea Zekis, Interim Director at Lucie’s Place. “Finding, getting and keeping a job provides our young people an opportunity to save money, build confidence and personal responsibility and work towards independent living. Independence may come down to one’s ability to secure a living wage, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling demonstrates what we’ve always known, that our members should have every opportunity available to anyone else when it comes to finding valuable work, building their lives and pursuing their dreams. The ruling should serve as a message to Lucie’s Place and other LGBTQ organizations moving forward to take employment support more seriously, especially among transgender and non-binary populations, in order to reduce outcome disparities that may continue despite the ruling.”
See our Interim Executive Director Andrea Zekis talk about the ruling here.
One of our most important responsibilities at Lucie’s Place is encouraging our members to find jobs. The ruling today means that members have explicit protections, reducing the worries that an employer will fire them--or refuse to hire them--simply for living openly. Lucie’s Place has historically helped and referred members for the services they need to find and retain a job. That can be everything from resume help, mentorship, interview skills and accessing clothes for interviews.
Previous studies have shown the far majority of Arkansas support LGBTQ protections against discrimination in employment.
Though this decision is an important step forward, and a significant victory for LGBTQ rights, it does not do enough. Therefore, Lucie’s Place calls for the passage of the Equality Act, which will codify protections for LGBTQ Americans not only in employment, but also in prohibit discrimination in housing, public education, public accommodations, the jury system, federal funding, and credit. We celebrate today’s ruling, and commit ourselves to the rest of the work ahead.
The staff, management, and board of Lucie’s Place mourns the death of George Floyd and supports those working towards justice and ending the serious, unresolved issues of police brutality, white supremacy and systemic racism in our country.
As the calendar moves into June and Lucie’s Place reaffirms its mission to serve young LGBTQ homeless people in Central Arkansas, our organization acknowledges that the safe living environments, lifelong stability, success, and equality we seek for our members are not available for communities of color, especially Black communities, in Arkansas and America due to systemic racism. Many of our members live at the intersection of racial and LGBTQ identities. Many members have experienced trauma as victims of oppression and violence. Many times we worry about the safety of our members knowing most will encounter worlds which will not value or accept them. Our staff, members, and supporters, particularly those who are Black, have felt
deep pain, fear, and anger during the past days.
We at Lucie’s Place stand with #Black Lives Matter and say #Black Trans Lives Matter. We honor the pain, courage, and power of those who protest for justice and change, and we join you in doing so. The lives lost to state-sanctioned violence, white supremacy and anti-Blackness cannot be replaced. We remember not only George Floyd in Minnesota, but also Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Tony McDade in Florida, and countless others. Justice for Black Americans must be realized in order for the brighter futures of all victims of hate, oppression and violence to be realized, therefore Lucie’s Place stands in
solidarity with those actively working to promote change.
The fight for LGBTQ rights, which we commemorate and reaffirm each June, grew directly and indirectly through the work of prominent LGBTQ leaders of color and from the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for Black Lives. As we seek change and fight for justice, we remember that the first Pride was a riot--an uprising--against police brutality and oppression. We can honor the spirit of that first June by acknowledging that Black trans people face disproportionate rates of violence, by acknowledging that trans people and people of color are over-represented in our young LGBTQ homeless population, and by acknowledging that that means our work together is far from over.
As you may know, Lucie’s Place is undergoing a period of transition, but one which points towards change. We’ve begun our search for a new executive director, a process which we have committed to incorporate the diverse voices of our community stakeholders and center the needs of our most marginalized members, many of whom are trans people of color. We’re also committed to our members’ needs now, reopening our drop-in center for hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons and actively working to assist those impacted by the closure of our Transitional Living Program. Lucie’s Place is prepared to listen and learn in order to do better by our members and community so that we may do our part for change.
While there may not be many celebrations this June, standing for long-needed structural change towards justice in our society is a Pride we can all be proud about.
The Staff, Management, and Board of Lucie's Place
Do you want to create possibilities for young LGBTQ homeless Arkansans? Do you have the passion and vision to lead as well as transform lives and an organization, all while promoting change in the community?
Well, Lucie's Place wants to hear from you.
Lucie’s Place is seeking a new Executive Director. Check out what the position entails and apply here.
Lucie’s Place is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees and applications without regard to race, color, culture, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or presentation, religion or spirituality, age, national origin, ancestry, immigration status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, marital status, pregnancy or parent status.
by Greg Adams, Lucie's Place Board President
We, the board of Lucie’s Place, understand the responsibility we have to our members, our staff, our supporters and the greater Central Arkansas community, a responsibility we take seriously as the stewards of a crucial resource for LGBTQ young adults and a beacon of hope for the greater LGBTQ community. We also understand that important role and duty to our young people and our community begins with trust. In the previous days, we’ve heard from many community members, stakeholders, our staff and our members about matters which have challenged that trust, matters we do not take lightly.
What is clear: the dignity and safety of our members and our staff must always come first. The mission of Lucie’s Place says it provides LGBTQ young adults experiencing homelessness in Central Arkansas with safe living environments. We have become aware of incidents when our members and staff did not feel safe at Lucie’s Place, and this is troubling and disappointing. How can we “ensure lifelong stability and success” or “promote equality and acceptance” for our young people without being certain we are meeting those essential human needs first? Our board believes deeply in our mission, and we know the young people we serve, our staff, our supporters and greater community do as well. This is why we believe moving ahead to a better, stronger Lucie’s Place will require looking outward and forward and working together. We have already started those conversations with stakeholders and other community members, which have led to the following actions, and know moving forward there will need to be more to help bring Lucie’s Place where it needs to be.
In order to help move towards that dialogue and future, Lucie’s Place Board of Directors has taken the following actions.
1. Accept the resignation of current Executive Director Rev. S. Johnette Fitzjohn, who has served in that role since 2018. Rev. Fitzjohn will help in transitioning her position to new leadership. We thank her for her efforts to help the organization grow in recent years to where it is today. Lucie’s Place will immediately begin the process to find a new Executive Director.
2. Hire former Lucie’s Place board member Andrea Zekis as Interim Executive Director to help guide the organization through this transition. She is a founder of ArTEC, the Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative and a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. She’s a veteran of the LGBTQ movement with stops at Human Rights Campaign Arkansas, Basic Rights Oregon, National Center for Transgender Equality and the ACLU of Alaska.
3. Welcome two new members to its board of directors, Justin Sarlo and Dr. Bee Kelley.
Justin Sarlo is the prepress manager for a local commercial printer. He is a US Army veteran, former board member of Renegades for a Cause (a group dedicated to giving back to the community at large), a transgender activist, and mentor to many young transgender men, nationwide. Additionally, he has won many performance titles and is the current reigning Mr. Classic Arkansas USofA MI
Bee is an associate professor of chemistry at Philander Smith College in the department of Chemistry teaching organic, inorganic, and biochemistry. As a recent member of the Little Rock area she is always looking for ways to help in the community. Bee has been a frequent HRC Arkansas volunteer and is an HRC Elevate Fellow.
4. Voluntarily recognize the right of our remaining staff members to form a union, and enter into the negotiation process with them. At the same time, the board also decided to continue to support the hours and pay of remaining staff during this interim period while our house is closed.
Lucie’s Place has come long way since our founder’s vision a decade ago to support and empower LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness and instability. Because of the time, energy and valuable support of those who shared that vision, Lucie’s Place now has a dedicated housing facility and drop-in center where young people get valuable services. Unfortunately, these are also challenging times due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, as these facilities are currently being used on a very limited basis due to concerns over safety. Our shared housing facility has gone from eight residents to currently zero. We know we are not alone, as many LGBTQ community centers and homeless shelters have shuttered their doors or reduced their hours and services throughout the country out of concern for staff and the safety of the young people they serve.
Lucie’s Place also knows these closures and reductions of services come at a time when our young people need us most, often finding themselves relying on unsafe, unsustainable and unsupportive resources or living environments in order to survive. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, between 20% to 45% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and this public health crisis doesn’t go away in the middle of our current COVID-19 public health crisis. Since we know Lucie’s Place might be the only place some young LGBTQ people can count on, our commitment at this time is to continue to do what we can at this time to provide resources and assistance to LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness or insecure housing.
We will actively seek, plan and prepare for ways Lucie’s Place can meet the demand. Lucie’s Place, and those who support it and believe in it, have also long understood one person or one organization doesn’t do this alone, and that getting through this time will depend on the strength of the connections within our community, our networks. We are grateful to those who are taking on their own efforts to support Central Arkansas’s LGBTQ homeless youth. Much like Lucie’s Place started in community, so will many of those solutions at this time, and as directed by our mission, we seek to be a part of those solutions.
Much appreciation to all who have supported Lucie’s Place in the past and today. We ask for your continued support in the days, weeks, months ahead as we transition to a more effective and sustainable provider of services to LGBTQ young adults experiencing homelessness. If you have suggestions, questions, or concerns about these efforts, we hope to hear from you.
The Board of Directors of Lucie’s Place.