Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, Princeton’s community activist center and safe space, was presented with a congressional proclamation from U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) in recognition of the center’s service to the community.
The center is an educational community activist center and safe space for LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) youth, diversity and intersectional families.
“Let me just say, ‘Thank you,’ because when you take care and address the needs of those who are vulnerable in our society, who are marginalized or mistreated or disrespected or disregarded, when you fight for them and stand up for them and with them, you are doing God’s work,” Coleman said.
A conversation with Coleman lasted close to an hour at the center’s new home on 12 Stockton St. in Princeton on Aug. 30.
“Let me tell you, you have an ally in us. We are going to ‘fight like the dickens’ to preserve and protect all of our rights,” Coleman said. “We see the diversity in this room and recognize the importance of the coalition. Because it is the coalition that is going to save democracy.”
Inside the center, the congresswoman presented the organization with a congressional proclamation recognizing and honoring Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice’s (BRCSJ) positive impact and achievements as an activist center, educational bridge and safe space for LGBTQIA youth, families and allies.
“I do not think as a member of Congress, I have been in any space that is more loving and caring than this space right here,” she said.
“I’m so glad you are here … not only for young people and old people, and whoever else needs a safe space for that moment, but for people like me that have been elected to office and need to see the good that gets done.”
BRCSJ organized Princeton’s in-person and virtual Pride parades, which began in 2019, holds a social justice power hour every weeknight and gives training and education on issues of social and racial justice, transgender legal issues, civil rights, LGBTQIA youth and racism.
Robt Seda-Schreiber, chief activist for BRCSJ, said a top concern he is hearing from people who seek help and services from the center is “feeling unsafe.”
“Feeling unrecognized, feeling disrespected and feeling unloved,” he said. “The very essence of what we do in our mission here is to not only be a physical safe space every single day of the week here with dedicated volunteers, but also on a spiritual level.”
Seda-Schreiber said it is important for people to see that they can build toward a beloved community and get there together.
“As long as we stay united, again recognize and respect each other, as we welcome each other and love each other,” he said. “That is what we need to do. It is that simple and that difficult. In this moment all we need to do is make sure we are looking out for each other at the local level, national level, global level and individual level.”
For more information about the BRCSJ and events, visit www.rustincenter.org.