Rainbow Railroad has been an integral resource for LGBTQ+ fleeing persecution abroad. Amidst a wave of anti-queer legislation in the United States, the non-profit is now shifting focus to its home front.
Rainbow Railroad is acclaimed for their work relocating LGBTQ+ people from unsafe locations globally. CEO Kamahli Powell recently told Tracy E. Gilchrist of Advocate Today what resources they have for queer communities in the United States, including their recent literacy festival, which promoted LGBTQ+ authors and stories.
Helping LGBTQ+ People Escape Oppression And Persecution | Advocate Today
"We've been able to help hundreds of people now," Powell says. "Rainbow Road help 400 people relocate from around the world last year in 2022 and provided support to nearly 2000 more."
Recently, waves of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation have left communities across states worried for the future of their civil rights. Powell shares that bans on queer healthcare and visibility have prompted some US citizens to seek relocation abroad.
"One remarkable fact is that in 2022, the United States, where Rainbow Railroad is based, received within the top ten of requests for help," he explains. "Within the United States, tons of U.S. citizens asking for rainbow railroad's help for relocation."
He continues: "And I think that that speaks to a lot of fear. And it's not just about anti-LGBTQ legislation. We saw a spike in requests for help even after Roe v Wade and the clear parallel Supreme Court justice made between that and protection of marriage."
Rainbow Railroad recently concluded their in-person literacy festival, which promoted LGBTQ+ authors and stories in a time where state schools have banned books with queer and racial themes.
Their website describes the festival as an event that will "contribute to that healing by bringing together prominent queer writers, and select beneficiaries of Rainbow Railroad, to share moving and inspiring stories taken from their personal ‘roads to freedom.’"
Powell relays this sentiment, as he and his organization believe deeply in the power of storytelling, and how words can change reality.
"It's a group of authors who can speak firsthand about their stories," Powell says. "And, you know, we believe that storytelling is a powerful part of our work."
For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Today on The Advocate Channel.
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