In the hazy summer 2013, the south Queens neighborhood of Richmond Hill, New York was rocked by an act of violence that wrought trauma on the lives of the queer+ neighborhood residents and victims and also exposed the virulent dynamics of hatred in the West Indian conclave. A need was identified to advocate for queer people at the neighborhood level and to educate the community as a whole.
The Caribbean Equality Project (CEP) was founded by pioneering Indo-Caribbean, Muslim, Gay Rights activist, and native of Guyana, Mohamed Q. Amin, in response to anti-LGBTQ+ hate violence in Richmond Hill, Queens. The birth of the CEP brought hope, fearless leadership, and advocacy for inclusion, respect, and equality for the Caribbean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) community in New York City (NYC).
The Caribbean Equality Project is a Queens, New York-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that empowers and strengthens the marginalized voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of Caribbean origin and descent through advocacy, community organizing, education, cultural, and social programming.
To date, CEP is the only educational-based agency serving the Caribbean-American LGBTQ+ community in New York City, with a dedicated aim to cultivating a supportive and progressive Caribbean community free of violence, oppression, and discrimination. CEP’s advocacy efforts are directed toward fostering community partnerships and greater family acceptance.
Additionally, the organization acts as a liaison to government agencies and elected officials with the collective vision of a society based on respect, inclusion, and equality, regardless of an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity within the Caribbean diaspora. Since the official launch of the CEP in 2015, Mr. Amin and his team of dedicated volunteers have made significant strides toward the advancement and uplifting of LGBTQ+ Caribbean voices in NYC.
As an immigrant-led, social justice and human rights organization, inclusivity is the cornerstone of CEP's work, ensuring that our liberation movement educates, inspires, represents and empowers all of our Black and Brown, questioning and LGBTQ+, non-religious, Muslim, Hindu and Christian, documented and undocumented members of the Caribbean diaspora of all generations, all categories of ability and of all HIV statuses.
In the face of anti-immigrant sentiment, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, gender and racial discrimination, lack of access to health services and hate violence at the hands of their families, friends, employers, medical professionals and law enforcement officers (even in New York City), CEP's team members are dedicated to creating sustainable and progressive Caribbean diaspora communities, free of violence and all forms of discrimination.
Throughout the year, CEP does community outreach, community engagement, and partnership projects to effectively challenge established systematic complexities on LGBTQ+ issues by providing opportunities for dialogue, education, and discussion. As such, throughout the year, the CEP conducts various outreach initiatives and programming that provides an authentic safe space for shared experiences, fostering new relationships by uniting intergenerational support with an array of pioneering programs and services.
The CEP programs, services, and initiatives’ are intersectional, with an emphasis on, but not limited to, family acceptance, awareness, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, education, cultural performing arts, visibility at citywide LGBTQ+ pride parades and cultural festivals, all aiming promote acceptance and reducing stigma and eliminate all forms of discrimination in NYC.
Further, in 2018, Caribbean Equality project held its inaugural Breaking Silences conference in Toronto to unite activists centering Caribbean people in their LGBTQ+ activism, art and academics in a transnational space--the first international program that CEP has undertaken.
Each year our the scale and scope of our programs expand through the generous assistance of our volunteers and support of our community members and allies.