We’re hosting a fundraiser during the 2023 Mpact Transit + Community conference to support one-n-ten, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) youth. Our goal is to raise $1,000 by the close of the conference! Donate here.
Founded in 1993, one-n-ten is the largest organization in Arizona providing comprehensive services to LGBTQ+ and allied youth ages 11 to 24. One-n-ten “envisions a world where all LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are embraced for who they are, actively engaged in their communities, and empowered to lead.”
The fundraiser, new this year, is just one of the ways the Mpact Transit + Community conference works to welcome LGBTQ+ attendees.
On Sunday, November 5, there is an afternoon “give-back” event with one-n-ten, organized by the Mpact Innovators. Later Sunday, there’s an LGBTQ+ networking happy hour at Fez right before the Welcome Reception at the Phoenix Art Museum. And one-n-ten will have a table at the Monday afternoon Wind Down reception.
Supporting the LBGTQ+ community is part of a goal for the annual conference to be welcoming and inclusive to all attendees. We believe that only by recognizing and including diverse experiences will the best solutions for our communities be made possible.
Several Mpact National Steering Committee members helped organize the LGBTQ+ events at this year’s conference. As they affirm and show, diverse voices are part of the conference, often doing great work in challenging places.
“LGBTQ+ rights aren’t a fringe case. Equal access and opportunity are a central part of mobility and community, from homeless trans youth to local business leaders and more. Not only that, the queer community is a part of this conference, we are your coworkers, your speakers, your clients,” says Amy Yoder, Planner, Transit Oriented Development, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN.
“It is so important to support LGBTQ+ youth,” says Tim Chan, Group Manager, Stations Planning, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Oakland, CA. “They are at much higher risks for trauma, including homelessness, suicides and substance abuse. Planning for communities shouldn’t just be for adults but must also include young people.”
“At the local level there are plenty of queer and allied policy makers, advocacy organizations, and government agencies that are incredibly inclusive, and doing the groundwork to ensure their constituents, clients, and community members are protected. It’s our goal that the conference be a place to raise those voices,” adds Corrie Parrish, Senior Planner, Kittleson & Associates, Portland, OR
Mpact is committed to creating a conference environment that is diverse, inclusive, safe and free from discrimination regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability or any other classification protected by law. Our conference Code of Conduct invites everyone to “come as you are and engage in a way that is meaningful and applicable to your own professional and personal identities.”
Why is it necessary to put a spotlight on this? In 2023 alone, there were close to 500 anti-LBGTQ+ bills introduced nationwide, according to the ACLU of Arizona. Access to equal participation and opportunity is also under threat for people with disabilities, BIPOC communities and immigrant groups as well as people experiencing homelessness.
Many of these topics intersect with conference sessions – focused on affordable housing, avoiding displacement with new transit investments and addressing homelessness and security on transit. Fundamentally, these topics intersect with the goal of all our work – to build more equitable and sustainable transit-oriented communities.
“Especially given the history of exclusion and displacement related to transportation and development, we believe we must and will play a role in supporting the people, policies, and projects that are building a foundation for sustainable, inclusive, and equitable communities” said Tamar Shapiro, CEO at Mpact.
We know that achieving this reality is much easier said than done. It requires people being willing to challenge norms and intentionally change policies and practices – to produce different outcomes. The conference is where we come together to dig into the challenges and share new and innovative approaches to getting better outcomes – and advancing the vision for equitable transit-oriented communities.
And, reminder: Election day, November 7, is during the conference. Please make sure to vote early in your community!
See you in Phoenix!