The Freedom Center for Social Justice was founded in 2009. As a Southern-based national organization, we see all too often how the poor, people of color, immigrant communities and sexual minorities are excluded and marginalized. We are committed to providing essential support and advocacy for trans people, elders, people of color, youth, sexual minorities and communities of faith and facilitating the necessary dialogue that opens doors, offers hope, raises awareness and save lives.

The Freedom Center for Social Justice launched the Southeastern region’s first LGBTQ Law Center and Transgender Employment Program. Since August of 2013, these programs have touched hundreds within the Carolinas and promise to continually grow as the current critical needs are met and subsequent deficiencies identified.

Nationally,  Transgender Faith and Action Network (TFAAN) expands upon the successful TransFaith In Color conferences for trans people of color and allies and hosted in Charlotte in 2011 and 2012.

What We Do

Our mission is to enhance quality of life by increasing the number of healthy options and opportunities available to low income neighborhoods, communities of color, sexual minorities and youth.
Our goals are to counter the effects of poverty and all forms of oppression as they impact the lives of those on the margins of society, particularly those in the Southern United States.
To honor the mission and support the goals of the Freedom Center for Social Justice, we have established programs and initiatives that support and help create true culture change within communities, businesses, organizations and institutions that serve and connect to us all.

How We Do It

Since its inception, the Freedom Center has been involved in social justice and civil rights efforts nationwide. We are currently engaged in the planning and organizing efforts of several key campaigns, including the North Carolina NAACP-led Moral Monday Movement that has become a model of effective intersectional organizing for many other states. We work closely with clergy, particularly clergy in the Black church traditions, as well as activists, youth organizations and legislative groups to counter the oppressive laws and policies that negatively impact the LGBTQ community, people of low wealth, immigrants, people of color and youth in the state.

Our staff is engaged in educational efforts and speaking engagements as well as the advancement of initiatives like the FCSJ-led campaign #NoMoreWedges/#NoMasCunas. This is a multi-year effort to ensure that those not committed to justice and equality for all not be allowed to place wedges on the bases of race, class, immigration status or sexual orientation between us as a community.

Formerly TransFaith In Color, the newly established Transgender Faith and Action Network (TFAAN) is building upon past work done by the trans people of color and faith who founded this effort. The TransFaith In Color Summit 2010 and Conferences in 2011 and 2012, connected hundreds of trans people from various faith traditions to create more welcoming and affirming houses of worship. In 2014 TFAAN hosted more than 300 trans people and allies for a three day conference in Charlotte, NC. It was a time of deep learning, networking, healing and empowerment for many. The network will also support the work past attendees and others are doing within organizations and communities to raise awareness, change policies, heal, network and shift culture. Our team of partners and advisors are working with us in 2015 on strategies for building the network and enhancing the benefit it will bring to those who are trans and allies.

TFAAN is also co-convener of The Trans Leaders Cohort which is done in partnership with The LGBT Task Force in Washington, DC and The Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, CA. Our three organizations combined efforts in 2011 to support transgender and gender variant seminary and religious studies students around the country. Participants take part in a competitive process to secure one of the 5 seats available in each class.They go through a year-long intensive that includes travel to and participation in each of our three conferences. The objective is to support these students who in many instances are among the first in their institutions to openly be present.

This program was started in 2014 and has been modified to increase effectiveness. It provides employment support in the form of job readiness and skills building workshops and training for trans people in particular, but is open to other members of the LGBTQ community as well. Unemployment and its impacts affect the trans community tremendously. Gaining and maintaining quality employment has been consistently at the top of the list of concerns expressed by those who identify as trans and gender variant as well as those who reject such labels but are still impacted by transphobia and discrimination. This is an even bigger issue for trans people of color in the South.

Our program leverages relationships between our staff and area colleges/universities, businesses and our network of volunteers to increase job readiness and build communication, interpersonal, personal finance management and healthy conflict resolution for transgender people in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. By partnering with organizations and businesses, as well as regional employers, we are able to increase the number of gainfully employed and employment-ready members of the trans and LGBTQ community in North Carolina and beyond.

SAGE Story is a national digital storytelling program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the storytelling skills — and draw on the unique life experiences of — LGBT elders to diversify the public narratives on aging, long-term care and LGBT rights. SAGE Story is led by Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE), and is made possible through the generous support of AARP Foundation and The Ford Foundation. In 2014 The Freedom Center for Social Justice was selected as one of the national organizations to participate in the program and we took 10 elders through the program. Our cohort was the only one nationally that combined an intergenerational component by having LGBTQ youth interview the elders, and the only one that included the voice of a trans elder. Those stories can be found here.

North Carolina and Pennsylvania were selected as the two states to be invited back for the next round of the project. This year our cohort includes three additional trans elders and has committed to building a support network for LGBTQ elders that will not include social as well as advocacy work. Participation in activities like the Charlotte MLK Jr. Parade and reaching out to others to get them engaged are among the things they will now do beyond sharing their stories with the broader community.

Our Partners

1000 Cranes
Better Together Southern Coalition
Campus Pride
Charlotte NAACP
Charlotte School of Law
Conference for Southern Equality
Equality NC
HKonJ Coalition
Johnson C. Smith University

Many Voices
LGBT Chamber of Commerce
National Black Justice Coalition
NC Council of Churches
Pacific School of Religion
Sacred Souls Community Church
Southerners on New Ground

Temple Beth El
The Powerhouse Project
The Transgender Cohort
The Transgender NC Health Coalition
The Task Force
Time Out Youth
Transgender Law Center @ SONG
Umoja Project
UNC Charlotte




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