Lucie’s Place is proud to welcome our new Executive Director, Xejeia Freelon of Houston, Texas. It is with great joy that we embrace a new addition to the team at Lucie’s Place, as well as a new direction.
The new ED selects to be called x by the folks around them, and uses they/them pronouns.
Lucie’s Place has historically been responsible for providing LGBTQ young adults experiencing homelessness in central Arkansas with the tools needed to ensure lifelong stability and success. While Lucie’s Place intended to operate under this standard, recent events outlined a need to reconcile with patterns of harm perpetuated by our organization’s former leadership.
Lucie’s Place was born from the solemn acknowledgment that queer and trans youth face dispropotionately high levels of systemic and social violence that creates barriers to living whole, well, and sustainable lives. Both the Board and Staff of Lucie’s Place recognizes where we have fallen short in our commitment to our youth, and the ways in which we have directly caused and contributed to placing queer young adults, along with members of our organization’s team, in unsafe situations. The former serving leadership recognizes a deep need for transformation within the organization’s principles and practices as we take steps towards a restorative process.
We at Lucie’s Place feel confident that Xejeia Freelon is the best person to guide us on this journey with transparency and accountability.
As Executive Director, x utilizes their knowledge and years of experience as a healer, youth advocate, community organizer, and interdisciplinary artist to guide and ground their leadership in compassion. x feels that in order to effectively show up on behalf of the community, we must practice “listening to the heart of matters.” For x, this means placing the voices and experiences of the most vulnerable amongst us at the center of our efforts.
Born in the Delta and raised in the Deep South, x is personally familiar with the impact of queer- and trans-phobia, and incorporates their lived experiences as a black, non-binary femme in all aspects of their work. x was brought to Little Rock through love, art, friendship, and a passion for black and queer histories.
We at Lucie’s Place believe that we must always lift as we climb---and we want to embody this core belief in our practices. Only a year ago, our drop-in center was an office space exclusive to members. Now, our location on West 7th Street operates as an LGBT community center, with events and workshops hosted by local allied organizations. In addition, we are excited to announce that several of our youth now have housing, secured through our grant-funded Rapid Rehousing Project.
Lucie’s Place recognized need for change during our Summer of Transition—now, we’re adapting once again as the COVID-19 pandemic affects shelters across the nation. We want to thank the endless generosity of our local community—from our allied organizations inTRANSitive, the Center for Artistic Revolution, and the CAHR Project, to our individual donors, volunteers, and community members who have offered up their homes to our youth during this crisis.
x and the Lucie’s Place team would love to hear back from former members, friends of Lucie’s Place, past and present volunteers, and those previously employed who are interested in sharing their experience and participating in our new vision and reparative process.
x moves with the words of Assata Shakur’s declaration of love as their guiding principle of leadership:
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
The Lucie’s Place Team