Each year thousands of LGBTQ immigrants and asylum seekers come to the U.S. from their home countries to escape persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, many with the added worry of not knowing where to find safe and supportive help once they arrive here.
Hans How, vice president at AsylumConnect, wants to spread the word that they’re working to allay those concerns with the first online database that connects LGBTQ asylum seekers with verified resources and information to negotiate the U.S. asylum process, along with providing a sense of community.
So when we asked changemakers to give us their best ideas for activities at our inaugural Upswell in Los Angeles last November, Hans submitted a proposal to share AsylumConnect’s mission with our social good community, and he got to do just that — during his Spark Talk in Upswell’s Public Square!
What inspired Hans to take that step and submit a proposal? “I wanted to raise awareness on the challenges facing LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S. and share how AsylumConnect uses technology solutions to help them get access to lifesaving resources,” he said. “LGBTQ asylum seekers are an extremely vulnerable group of people who are often absent from the public’s eyes, therefore I wanted to use a well-publicized platform like Upswell LA to shed light on their struggles.”
Hans says the experience also helped him build some wonderful contacts, including with Sunil Oommen, an NYC-based nonprofit fundraising guru. “I introduced him to Katie Sgarro, the co-founder of AsylumConnect, and he has given us great advice on fundraising strategies and foundation outreach.”
Submit Your Proposals for Upswell Chicago by April 19
With plans underway for Upswell Chicago, happening this November 13-15, we’re asking you to help us design Upswell by submitting your best ideas for one of six kinds of activities – including Spark Talks, deep-dive and shorter workshops, focus groups, science/tech demos, and reflection activities.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider Hans’s advice about how to craft your proposal, as he did for his Spark Talk, to capture the interest of your target audience of changemakers: “I would try to identify the types of audience members who might be interested in the Spark Talk, understand the general organizational topics that they would find useful, and be very clear about the ultimate message that the speaker wants to deliver at the end.“
Don’t miss this opportunity to co-create with other changemakers, turn your innovative ideas into bold action, and be the spark that could accelerate our efforts to build a society where all can thrive. Check out our Co-create page for the submission form and all of the information you need. Gather your thoughts and submit your proposal by the April 19 deadline!