Gloria Casarez: Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia “I appreciate helping people connect the dots and being able to translate government to community and community to government,” says Gloria Casarez, who acts as the key liaison between Philadelphia’s LGBT community and Mayor Michael Nutter’s office. She makes sure the mayor is informed about the needs of LGBT residents regarding public safety, education, economic development, health and city services. “The community level is where the ideas are generated and where much of the grassroots work gets done. My work in government now is an extension of that,” she adds. A life-long Philadelphian, Casarez has advocated for LGBT youth, for communities of color and on anti-poverty issues including welfare rights and housing for more than 20 years. She is a founding organizer of Philadelphia Dyke March, the former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Prevention Point Philadelphia, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bread and Roses Community Fund, a public foundation that supports grassroots organizations working for racial and economic justice. Just prior to her appointment to city government, Casarez was the Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI). “My biggest contribution to my work in government is to help government see that LGBT people have a stake in every aspect of city life,” she says. “As much as we’ve been reflected in health disparities like HIV and bullying in schools, we also need to be reflected in the positive things happening in the city.”
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