Celebrating 5 Years in the Bronx
This month, Callen-Lorde is celebrating the 5th anniversary of Callen-Lorde Bronx!
Since opening in July 2016, Callen-Lorde Bronx has cared for thousands of patients in the Bronx, steadily growing capacity to meet community demand. In fact, since opening, the Bronx experienced a 173% increase in the number of patients served. And, despite the resource challenges imposed by the pandemic, Callen-Lorde Bronx served 2,355 patients in 2020 – a 35% year-over-year increase from 2019.
“Our mission has always been to be serve our communities when they need us, where they need us. Expanding our reach to serve LGBTQ+ communities in the Bronx would not have been possible without the support of BOOM!Health, organizations like Destination Tomorrow, and the many community-based organizations that have been doing this work for years. We are so proud to celebrate the rich history of the Bronx and our incredible staff who serve the LGBTQ+ community there,” said Wendy Stark, Executive Director.
To commemorate the anniversary, Bronx-based visual artist Lafi Melo collaborated with the team at Callen-Lorde to create original illustrations of namesakes Audre Lorde, Michael Callen, and Bronx iconography. The art was created into a mural that adorns the front of the health center.
Of the collaboration, they said, “When I was able to move out on my own, my biggest worry was gender-affirming care. Callen-Lorde was a beacon of hope that opened a door for me to have that same possibility of a better life. Creating this artwork is a major gift to me on a personal level and I’m so grateful to be given a chance to bring color to the community I love so much.”
While Callen-Lorde’s grassroots extend to 1969, Callen-Lorde Bronx was the community health center’s first location to receive a standalone FQHC status – a federal designation for community-based health care providers that receive funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas.
Read a statement below from the artist, and click here to watch our video on YouTube celebrating the team at Callen-Lorde Bronx. Happy anniversary, Callen-Lorde Bronx!
“My name is Lafi Melo, aka WWWdotcalm. I’m 25 and living in the Bronx, the same borough my grandfather first came to from Palestine to start a new life for our family. When I was able to move out on my own, my biggest worry was gender-affirming care. Callen-Lorde was a beacon of hope that opened a door for me to have that same possibility of a better life. Creating this artwork is a major gift to me on a personal level and I’m so grateful to be given a chance to bring color to the community I love so much.
Offering this opportunity to someone who has deep ties to Callen-Lorde, an emerging artist, is life changing. My greatest intention is to highlight the advocacy of Audre Lorde and Michael Callen along with literally drawing the connections between their work and the culture of the South Bronx. Typically, iconography of the Bronx as well as iconography associated with Pride and the 2SLGBTQ+ community can be very limited. I’m inspired greatly by the evolution of the Pride flag, the mosaic of experiences seen in Callen-Lorde’s waiting room, and the Bronx’s legacy of greatness.
This pandemic hit this community especially hard, sirens endlessly rushing to full hospitals that were surrounded by freezer trucks ready to turn neighbors into obituaries. It was tempting to get lost in the grief but spaces like Callen-Lorde remained a reminder that we had already fought a deadly virus and again, their health care professionals would be lighting the way to a safer future.