United States-based Alturi, a non-profit organization devoted to helping LGBTI communities worldwide, launched publicly Sept. 30.
Supporters at the launch included U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, and U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), who has introduced the Global Respect Act to protect the basic human rights of the international LGBTI community.
Alturi provides an online platform (alturi.org) that enables people “to take a stand against the violence and discrimination confronting the international LGBTI community and provide direct help for LGBTI advocates around the world.”
“At this historic moment, Americans have the opportunity to learn about and support the people on the frontlines of the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s rights and dignity around the globe,” said Steve Roth, director and co-founder of Alturi. “Even as we celebrate marriage equality and other advances for the LGBTI community in the U.S., same-sex relations are still a crime in nearly 80 countries around the world, and even punishable by death in some. Our work is not complete. We must continue to fight for equality and respect for LGBTI people everywhere, and Alturi makes that possible.”
Alturi will provide financial assistance to established organizations and through them to activists abroad. Five of these non-profits are based in the United States:
- American Jewish World Service
- Astraea Foundation
- Heartland Alliance
- Human Rights First
- Human Rights Watch
Five are based outside the United States:
- Kenya-based UHAI EASHRI (East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative)
- Argentina-based Akahatá – Equipo de Trabajo en Sexualidades y Géneros
- Ecuador-based Asociación ALFIL – Identidades en diálogo
- Guyana-based Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD)
- Caribbean-based CariFLAGS
According to its press release:
“Alturi is designed to help Americans learn about the issues facing LGBTI people around the world and take action in support of LGBTI advocates creating change worldwide. Alturi features real-life stories, accessible analysis, and a curated newsfeed to help visitors make sense of the issues affecting the lives of LGBTI people across the globe. The website also highlights international and U.S.-based organizations doing and funding cutting-edge advocacy abroad and enables donations to them, with 100 percent of contributions going directly to the recipient organizations.
“Alturi draws inspiration from the lives and work of people like Angeline Jackson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica and a survivor of ‘corrective’ rape, who has become a leading voice for LGBTI rights—especially for women—in Jamaica. On his visit to Jamaica in April, President Obama recognized Jackson as a ‘remarkable young leader’ who provides ‘an example of what is possible, even in the most difficult of circumstances.’ Jackson is a member of Alturi’s Global Advisory Board.
” ‘I’m thrilled to be a part of Alturi at its very founding,’ said Jackson. ‘LGBTI people across the globe are fighting for our own survival and dignity in the face of extraordinary violence and oppression. Alturi promises to play a key role in the worldwide movement for LGBTI human rights for decades to come.”
Alturi announced two volunteer boards of advisors: an Executive Board and a Global Advisory Board.
The Executive Board consists of leaders in communications, marketing, finance, and advocacy who are responsible for providing guidance on Alturi’s strategic direction and programs, securing funding, and serving as public champions of Alturi’s work. Its members are:
Warren Brown, Out Caribe
- Martín Diego Garcia, Latino Victory Project
- Steve Dumas, Westfield Corporation Architecture Studio
- Stephen Farragher, Xylem Inc.
- Jack Harrison-Quintana, Grindr for Equality
- Fabrice Houdart, World Bank
- Vincent Jones, Reinvent Communications
- Tony Lima, SAVE
- Rebecca Rittgers, Proteus Fund
- Dr. Chloe Schwenke, Georgetown University
- Greg Willenborg, Willenborg Productions
- Oscar Yuan, Ipsos Strategy3
The Global Advisory Board is composed of human rights practitioners and leaders from around the world whose perspectives will inform Alturi’s global strategy, ensure accountability to international advocates and LGBTI people on the ground, and provide a voice for Alturi’s work. Its members are:
- J. Bob Alotta, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- Markéta Hronková, La Strada Czech Republic
- Zeenia Irani, World Food Program USA
- Angeline Jackson, Quality of Citizenship Jamaica
- Paul Akio Kawata, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC)
- Graeme Reid, Human Rights Watch
- Melissa Tilling, Funway Holidays
- Czeslaw Walek, Prague Pride
- Dr. John Waters, Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN)
- Bob Witeck, Witeck Communications, Inc.
- 10 nations where the penalty for gay sex is death
- 1000s who died in anti-gay, anti-trans attacks
- 79 countries where homosexuality is illegal
- 99 who are in prison for being gay, 148 more awaiting trial (needs to be updated)
- LGBTI asylum seekers’ resources
- Obama addresses lack of LGBT rights in Jamaica, cites Angeline Jackson’s advocacy (SDGLN.com)
- Obama applauds LGBT advocate during Jamaica speech (Washington Blade)