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posted Friday, August 10 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 32

We have Queer youth space!
Multi-year campaign for a community center succeeds

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Three Wings, the nonprofit organization behind the long-running 'We Need Queer Youth Space' campaign in Seattle, has signed a lease for a 1,750-square-foot space on Capitol Hill.

Located near Broadway at 911 E. Pike St., Suite 208, the space is intended as a 'cultural arts center' for Queer young people. Three Wings hopes the youth-led center will serve as a catalyst for change in Seattle and beyond.

Three Wings has striven for the past two years to create and sustain temporary spaces, workshops, and programming for Queer young people in and around Seattle. However, finding a permanent home was always on the group's agenda.

According to Three Wings, the acquisition of the space is a 'major milestone' and is the product of over two years of work in pursuit of a permanent home for Queer young people.

'There will always be people who doubt what young people can do,' Genna Watson, a Queer Youth Space organizer, told SGN while the group was still looking for a permanent space. 'But we're here to prove them all wrong. Together, we have already built something incredible.'

ACCESSIBILITY WAS KEY
From the start, organizers say, Three Wings was committed to finding a space that was fully accessible, despite the difficulty of finding such a space at an affordable rent on Capitol Hill.

'Many of the potential spaces were limited by the Americans With Disabilities Act,' said Three Wings board member Emma Petersky. But the Pike and Broadway space, she said, 'has a large elevator and plenty of room for people of all abilities to build a community together.'

Three Wings held an open house on August 3 to show the new space to the larger community.

The 'We Need Queer Youth Space' campaign began in February 2010 following Queer Youth Mutiny, a public forum in which young Queer people from the greater Seattle area identified two central needs: community organizing that is youth-positive and youth-led, and a cultural gathering space created by and for Queer youth. To help further these goals, Three Wings received a grant of $100,000 from the city of Seattle in July 2011.

Three Wings is led entirely by young people from the greater Seattle area. The group's three-pronged vision comprises cultural arts and activism; health and wellness; and research, education, and employment for Queer youth.



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