Queens Community House LGBTQ Programs Partner with Assembly Member Catalina Cruz to Host Block Party in Jackson Heights
On September 24, Queens Community House (QCH), one of the borough’s largest social service organizations, partnered with Assembly Member Catalina Cruz to host “Autumn Outfest”, a day-long block party event in Jackson Heights. QCH was led by its two LGBTQ+ programs, Generation Q and the Queens Center for Gay Seniors.
Throughout the day, elected officials, vendors, QCH program staff, and Queens residents of all ages gathered for live music, a Drag Story Hour, a fun bounce house, a comedy show, food, games, and resource tables for individuals and families.
QCH also partnered with Chhaya, an organization focused on addressing the housing and economic needs for low-income South Asian and Indo-Caribbean New Yorkers. “We’re grateful to Chhaya for this partnership because it gave us an opportunity to put together a fun, inclusive, and informative experience for all Queens neighbors,” said QCH Executive Director Ben Thomases.
Assembly Member Cruz spoke in support of the LGBTQ+ community in response to a few protesters heckling during the event. “We wanted to make people feel supported and loved and won’t let the homophobic hate protesters who showed up change that,” said Assemblywoman Cruz.
In addition to Assembly Member Cruz, elected officials in attendance included Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, and former Councilmember Daniel Dromm. All joined in voicing their support for the LGBTQ+ community and the importance of the event.
“Being the first Black man to serve as the Borough President of Queens, I understand the importance of ensuring communities that have been historically underrepresented, as well as voices that have been locked out of the room, are at the table, and that includes the LGTBQ community,” said Borough President Richards. “I want to congratulate Queens Community House for doing a phenomenal job at opening their doors for everyone in need of assistance, and I look forward to continuing to support them as they reopen the [Forest Hills Community Center].”
“Time and time again, the entire community of Queens consistently proves that love is louder than hate, and Autumn Outfest was a demonstration of that,” said Julia Peitzer, Generation Q Assistant Director. “The block party succeeded in creating a space where people can be themselves and are accepted.”
“I’m proud to be standing with the LGBTQ community, and the Latino and South Asian community,” said Senator Ramos. “Our wonderful borough is home to people from all over the world, coming from all paths of life.”
“While bigots were out today, I also saw the beauty of our community as we displayed solidarity for our LGBTQ neighbors,” said Assemblywoman González-Rojas. “Hate won’t be tolerated in Queens. We will always lead with love.”
Queens Community House (QCH) is a multi-service settlement house committed to serving the diverse neighborhoods of Queens. QCH serves more than 25,000 children, youth, adults, and older adults every year. Our mission is to provide individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. Through a broad network of programs operating out of 39 sites in 15 neighborhoods, we offer Queens residents a needed support system at every stage of life, helping them to develop the knowledge, confidence, and skills to change their lives for the better and become active participants in their larger community.
Director of Communications
Queens Community House