Over the next few weeks, the stories of some of the partners of the UUSC, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, will put a human face on the work the Service Committee is doing with its partners here at home and around the world.
One of those partners is Ian Zdanowicz. To escape the homophobia and transphobia of his native Poland, Ian left to rebuild his life in the United States. His search for community led him to QDEP – the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project where he is now a co-director.
Many queer and trans immigrants have gone through discrimination and violence in their country of origin. Then during their travel to the U.S. they are at risk for the same type of trauma. But arrival in the U.S. doesn’t mean the end of their suffering. QDEP aims to address the particular needs of queer and trans people during the harrowing immigration process in the United State. For example, trans women detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) are frequently locked in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, for their “safety.” QDEP assists LGBTQA+ immigrants in ICE detention as well as those newly released with rent, grocery, and utility support.
With the support of the UUSC, QDEP has developed a leadership development program for trans women, cis queer women, and gender non-conforming folks who are impacted by the immigration system. “We do our best to make sure that new members feel that they have a community here and that we have each other’s backs no matter what. That helps alleviate feelings of isolation, loneliness, and stress,” says Ian. To learn more about Ian’s work with QDEP, watch a video of him at www.uusc.org/guest You can make a donation to UUSC today at www.uusc.org/givetoguest.
And support the UUSC with your purchase of Doyle’s Honey – 100% of proceeds go to UUSC and Doyle will match your purchase! Stop by his table at coffee hour or call him to order at 302-540-7593.