I have had the honor and privilege of working with Dakota OutRight many times during my time in North Dakota. Each time I encounter members of their board and the people they serve, I am struck by how friendly, accepting, and welcoming they are. Moreover, I am moved by how hard and tirelessly this tiny organization works to promote the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals within their community.
With a mere shoe-string budget and dedicated volunteers, Dakota OutRight manages to host monthly discussion groups for LGBTQ+ youth who may not get any other chances during the month to talk to people like themselves. They’ve created their own “Creating Safe Spaces” curriculum which help educators make their campuses safer for their LGBTQ+ students. They provide support and education to the parents of LGBTQ+ children and youth, and in doing so save countless youth from abandonment, abuse, and a lifetime of grief and pain. And they organize and throw one hell of a Pride each summer featuring not only a great day at the park but a river cruise and drag show which bring visibility to our community and connectedness to a people who frequently are forced to live in the shadows of a closet.
Dakota OutRight does so much for their community, and it is time that their community does something for them. On Thursday, April 20, Dakota OutRight will be participating in GiveOUT Day 2017. GiveOUT Day is a yearly online donations drive for LGBTQ+ community non-profits. Dakota OutRight is participating for the first time, and they have a goal of $5,000. I exhort the LGBTQ+ community of North Dakota, and its allies, to dig into your pockets, purses, or couch cushions to help this amazing organization reach and exceed this very reasonable goal. Let’s help them do the wonderful things they do to help the LGBTQ+ community of Bismarck-Mandan.
Get out your credit cards and go to http://dakotaoutright.org/giveoutday/