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988 is the new national Suicide Prevention Hotline

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The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday Dec. 12 issued a ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’ commencing the requisite process to require American telecommunication carriers and and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit number hotline for suicide prevention and mental health crisis.

“The FCC was mandated by Congressional passage of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 to ensure that telecommunication companies would establish 988 as a simple but effective way for Americans experiencing a mental health crisis or who had thoughts of suicide to reach out for help,” Will Wiquist, an FCC spokesperson told the Los Angeles Blade Friday.

With the documented rise in suicide rates across the United States since 1999, in some states as much as 20% greater, a simple three digit solution speeds up access to critical services which would ultimately save lives,” he added.

Calls to 988 would be directed to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network of 163 crisis centers that is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Currently, the Lifeline is available by calling 1-800-273-TALK and through online chats.  In 2018, trained Lifeline counselors answered over 2.2 million calls and over 100,000 online chats. 

A report by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau Office of Economics and Analytics released this past August noted that  from 1999 to 2016, suicide increased in 49 of the 50 states, and the increase was greater than 20% in more than half of those states.  It also noted that suicide rates are higher across various at-risk populations, including Veterans and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities.  

“The Trevor Project applauds the FCC for unanimously approving the proposal to adopt 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Shortening the Lifeline number to three digits, along with transferring calls to those who can best serve high-risk populations like LGBTQ youth—who are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers—will save lives,” a spokesperson for the Trevor Project wrote in an emailed statement. “It is critically important that this proposal is implemented as swiftly as possible and that all Lifeline counselors are provided with LGBTQ cultural competency training to best serve LGBTQ youth in crisis.”

The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in the U.S. seriously consider suicide each year. In the organization’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2019, 39% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered.

The FCC’s August report found that the technical and operational issues associated with implementing 988 could be addressed and resolved more quickly than any consumer re-education efforts needed to repurpose an already existing 3 digit special designated number.

The Commission will begin taking public comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking following publication in the Federal Register.  Following review of that public record, the Commission will move toward final rules.

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Community Services - PSA

A March for the Women of Afghanistan

In Los Angeles and West Hollywood, Afghan youth and activists will meet on the Sunset Strip and march to West Hollywood Park

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WEST HOLLYWOOD – Individuals and groups from over 85 countries have come together #RiseForAndWithWomenOfAfghanistan.

THIS Saturday, 25 September, we will take to the streets in a global day of action. Worldwide events are being led by local Afghan activists and informed by activists on the ground in Afghanistan.

In Los Angeles and West Hollywood, Afghan youth and activists will meet on the Sunset Strip and march to West Hollywood Park (onebillionrising.org/riseLA)

In New York City, a rally and action with Afghan activists, women’s rights leaders, Broadway stars and more will take place at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, in sight and sound of the United Nations as the UN General Assembly meets. (onebillionrising.org/risenewyork)

In cities and towns across the globe, activists, women’s organizations, human rights groups, and high profile individuals are leading events, actions, risings (onebillionrising.org/events)

We cannot underestimate the power of our solidarity. Bearing witness to the violence and fear the Taliban is unleashing on Afghanistan will send a powerful message to the Afghan people – and women specifically – that they are not alone. Just as importantly, it will remind the Taliban that we see what they are doing and will not back down until all Afghan people live with the full human rights they deserve.

JOIN US. SPREAD THE WORD. For info and our demands/statement, visit: onebillionrising.org/afghanistan

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Community Services - PSA

Indoor large events required to verify vax or negative test for entry

COVID-19 test must be within 72 hours prior to event. Results can be printed, on a phone- with email/text msg results from test provider/lab

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Photo Credit: City of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – As of September 20, the State requires that all attendees at indoor mega events show proof of full vaccination or a negative test result prior to entry. Self-attestation can no longer be used to verify an attendee’s status as fully vaccinated or as proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.  

Indoor mega events are events with 1,000 or more attendees indoors and include, conventions, conferences, expos, concerts, shows, nightclubs, sporting events, live entertainment, and festivals.

Acceptable proof of vaccination status includes a photo identification with any one of the following:

  • CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card (white card)
  • World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine record card (yellow card)
  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 digital vaccination record
  • Other COVID-19 digital vaccination record issued by an approved company
  • Documentation of vaccination from the healthcare provider or entity that provided the COVID-19 vaccines
  • California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) vaccination record

The vaccination proof should include the person’s name, type of COVID-19 vaccine, and the date of the doses administered. The person can show the vaccination card, a photo of the card as a separate document, or a photo of the card stored on a phone or electronic device.

Acceptable proof of a negative test includes a photo identification with testing results that must include the person’s name, type of COVID-19 viral test performed, and negative test result.  The date when the COVID-19 test was taken must be within the 72 hours prior to the event. The test results can be a printed copy or on a phone, including an email or text message results from the test provider or laboratory.

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Community Services - PSA

“Empower Los Angeles,” Trans job fair Wednesday, September 22

“Empower LA!” is the first in a series of career fairs to empower Trans & non-binary people recruitment efforts by participating companies

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and TransCanWork, an organization committed to advancing transgender, gender diverse & intersex workplace inclusion, announced the launch of “Empower Los Angeles!” a virtual career fair for transgender and non-binary job seekers on Wednesday, September 22 from 11am to 3pm PST.

“It is already widely known that the transgender and non-binary communities face heightened levels of discrimination across all facets of society—while national unemployment rates have skyrocketed over the past 18 months, these folks now face compounded, threatening circumstances that contribute to further marginalization, economic oppression, and financial insecurity,” said RaShawn Hawkins, Human Rights Campaign Workplace Equality Deputy Director. “Creating safe spaces for transgender and non-binary job seekers is critical to ensuring that they may begin a career with affirming, inclusive employers.”

“Empower Los Angeles!” is the first in a series of career fairs that aim to economically empower the transgender and non-binary community through intentional recruitment efforts made by participating companies who are also working to support transgender and non-binary inclusive workforce development efforts. Each virtual event can host up to 60 employers, as well as 1,000 job seekers, per city via virtual exhibitor booths that are fully customizable and include various features such as video and chat functionality through the platform Brazen.

“I’ve heard and witnessed countless stories of friends and community members losing jobs, facing financial insecurity, and racking up debt just in order to survive, and that was long before the start of a pandemic,” said Lexi Adsit, TransCanWork Executive Director. “This virtual career fair is just one of many ways we are helping to create a true culture shift—TransCanWork isn’t just in the business of bringing together employers and potential employees, we’re in the business of culture change to ensure long-term success and stability for the transgender, gender diverse and intersex community and our corporate partners.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program and TransCanWork quickly pivoted programming by providing additional employment support through an educational web series, “Who’s Hiring?” that highlights LGBTQ+ affirming companies and open positions of employment. Now that the professional landscape has been permanently transformed, both organizations are dedicated to leveraging a strategic partnership to further impact employment mobility for transgender and non-binary people around the country. During the Los Angeles fair, Bank of America will be the Presenting Sponsor and Amgen will be the Platinum Sponsor. To register as a job seeker click here.

Data released by HRC and PSB Research outlines the economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community, showing that the community is more likely to have faced financial and professional hardships.

  • 30% of LGBTQ+ respondents had their work hours reduced, compared to 22% of the general population
  • 27% of transgender or non-binary Americans who held or applied for a job reported being fired, denied a promotion or not hired for a job they applied for because they were trans or non-binary.
  • 16% of transgender or non-binary people said they lost a job because they were trans or non-binary.
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