Category Archives: Appeals

What OFC means to my family

I serve as Family Programs Director here at Our Family Coalition. I’m a lesbian mom, an immigrant, and have been a proud Bay Area resident for the past 25 years. I live in the East Bay with my spouse, our son, and our cat Frederic, whom we consider our second child.

I came to work at Our Family Coalition for deeply personal reasons that I’d like to share with you, before inviting you to join us in our work with a generous end-of-year donation.

My family had attended the LGBTQ Family Night at the YMCA in Berkeley since our son was a toddler, so we knew first-hand that the organization offered amazing programs and classes for families like mine. We saw more queer families under one roof in one night than we could hope to see in a year! And we kept coming back.

Then in 2011, we needed help dealing with homophobia at my son’s school. I had worked with the school to launch their first LGBTQ family group and became the VP of LGBTQ Affairs on the PTA’s Executive Board, but knew we needed more to make schools inclusive for our son and his classmates. I contacted OFC’s stellar Education Team to do a training for the teachers and parents. When I saw their impact on our school community, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that work.

When an opportunity to join OFC’s team came up, I leapt at it, and I’ve considered this work a calling ever since.

OFC’s family support programming is truly unparallelled: no other organization – locally or statewide – offers the quantity and quality of opportunities that we do for LGBTQ parents and caregivers of young children. At our workshops, playgroups, support groups, and community events, people break their isolation and find one another; they strengthen bonds with their kids and their community. Families learn about valuable resources and expand their leadership and parenting skills in spaces where families like ours are the norm, not the exception: all this thanks to Our Family Coalition’s work.

My son is now 12 years old. On the verge of his teen years, he wants to give back. He said to me,

“Mommy, I don’t have much money to donate. But I can give what I can spare.”

And he has been true to his word.

In addition to his modest donation, he has helped at our CampOuts. He helped kids with science projects at San Francisco Pride Family Garden, and helped kids make buttons declaring their family pride at Oakland Pride Family Garden.

It’s not always easy to get a tween to engage in something bigger than themselves. Yet when they do, they put their heart into it. My son sees the value of what OFC gives to the community and our family, and he wants to be a part of it. I couldn’t be more proud.

Won’t you join my son in supporting Our Family Coalition by making a generous donation today? 

Our grant and foundation funding only goes so far – we have to rely on our community to reciprocate, to give back in whatever way they can. We offer nearly all our family support services on a donation basis, counting on those who can to help us.

My son gives what he can, and that’s what I’m asking of you: please give what you can.

If you’ve ever attended a workshop that gave you information that helped you support or protect your family; if you’ve ever gone to a parenting class or a support group that helped you feel you weren’t the only one; if you’ve ever come to a playgroup or a community event and saw your child playing with a wide-open heart, surrounded by families that looked like yours: please donate what you think that information, or that belonging, or that community has been worth to you and your family. 

Your support will enable us to keep bringing our community together. Together, we build resilience and understanding. And with that, we can change the world.

Yours with pride,

Yusni Bakar

Family Support Programs Director

What legacy do you want to leave your children?

by Don Romesburg

I’ll be honest—back in my twenties, I wasn’t one of those gay men who knew I wanted to be a dad. In fact, I was thrilled that being gay could mean rejecting the whole marriage-and-kids deal. But 20 years ago, when I got together with my partner, David, I started to think differently about it. Still, we always faced the long journey to foster-adoption from a win-win perspective: Without kids we’d continue to have a great life together, and if we could bring kids into the mix, all the better.

In 2008, our older daughter joined our family as a foster kid and, a year later, we all adopted each other. In 2013, our little one also joined us. Taking the journey we have as transracial foster-adoptive dads in an open relationship with our kids’ first families is a road I never imagined taking when I was younger. Now, in my late forties, I can’t imagine a richer life to be living.

Our Family Coalition has been a part of our story since the late 1990s, when David and I would see their booths at Pride and the Castro Street Fair, always reminding us of parenting as a possibility ahead. What I didn’t know then was that OFC was advocating for pathways to fostering and adopting free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Since having kids, we’ve also been grateful for the many social events and ways to come into community with other LGBTQ families. In San Francisco, we can sometimes take a shared world of queer families for granted. But I never take OFC for granted. It is an essential organization for LGBTQ people and their kids throughout California.

Help keep Our Family Coalition going strong:
your donation now will be matched 1:1 through December 31!

As a professor, historian, and activist I’ve been fortunate to spend the last six years advocating for LGBTQ history to be taught in our schools. Our Family Coalition has been leading and supporting that work every step of the way, from the passage of the FAIR Education Act in 2011 – which ensures LGBTQ people be included in K-12 history and social science education – to the California Board of Education’s adoption of a first-in-the-nation LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 History Social Science Framework in 2016, and, most recently, the state’s approval of textbooks that accurately reflect that history. This work is perhaps the most important legacy I leave my daughters’ generation. But it would not have been possible without OFC steadfastly prioritizing it, directing resources, dedicating staff time, and remaining vigilant throughout the years it has taken to bring our state so far.

All of us, as LGBTQ families, are making history. This organization’s contributions to my family’s life, to the lives of countless others like us, and to the transformation of K-12 education in California, would never be possible without individuals like you and me stepping up and giving what we can.

Join me in supporting Our Family Coalition this year! We can leave our children an incredible legacy – of justice, of understanding, and more – when we work together.

Yours,
Don

OFC member and proud dad Don Romesburg is Professor Women’s and Gender Studies, Sonoma State University and lead scholar for the FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition

Thank you in advance for your generous donation!