A letter from our Executive Director, Wendy Stark

These past nine months or so have been incredibly intense. Throughout, Callen-Lorde has continued to navigate unforeseen circumstances in caring for our communities and pushing for the foundational changes we so deeply need in this nation.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Callen-Lorde jumped in right away. We knew our charge was to do what we always do – provide comprehensive primary care that keeps our communities healthy and out of hospital beds. We quickly shifted from seeing patients almost exclusively in person to mostly online, while keeping our Chelsea clinic open for those who needed in-person care.

We knew we had to do more, to be part of the overall public health response to this crisis. So, Callen-Lorde staff provided around-the-clock medical services in two hotel locations, housing those who would otherwise be in congregate living shelters. Simultaneously, we were working hard to open our Brooklyn clinic, a decade-long dream of ours and home to the Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health, the first of its kind in preparing the next generation of health professionals. On May 14th, we saw our first patient in the new, 25,000-square-foot clinic in downtown Brooklyn, expanding our care to four locations across three boroughs.

More recently, Callen-Lorde sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a co-plaintiff to stop the egregious and harmful rollback of the anti-discrimination protections put in place by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Together, we’ve overcome great odds to make progress, but we must remember that progress is neither linear nor permanent. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that through it all, we will never stop fighting.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our staff, board, and you, our communities. Each and every one of us has a part to play in the fight for liberation, built upon the legacies of those who came before us and designed to better the future of those who will come after us. As you continue to play your own role, I ask that you support ours with a gift to facilitate the work that lies ahead. Reflecting on our collective resilience, I can confidently say that no matter what comes next, we will be here – providing healthcare and fighting for health justice.

Yours in the fight,

Wendy Stark

Executive Director

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