New Mexico Legal Aid

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New Mexico Legal Aid’s Safe to Be You! Project Secures Funding for LGBTQ+ Victims

In the heart of New Mexico, a beacon of hope shines brightly for the LGBTQ+ community. The Safe to Be You! project, a groundbreaking initiative by New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA), has once again secured its place as a lifeline for countless survivors. The promise of a safer tomorrow rises with the news that the Safe to Be You! project has been awarded a staggering $750,000 for the 2023 OVW Fiscal Year.

This isn’t just any grant. It’s a testament to the relentless efforts of Michelle Garcia, the Safe to Be You! program director, and her dedicated team. Their unwavering commitment has ensured the project sails into its 7th year this October. With this recent accolade, the Safe to Be You! project boasts a total of approximately $1.95 million in funding over nine years, a remarkable achievement in a fiercely competitive arena.

The Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program (LAV Program) is intended to support victims of domestic/sexual violence who are seeking relief in legal matters arising from their abuse. The LAV Program develops innovative, collaborative projects that provide quality representation to victims of domestic/sexual violence and provides opportunities for communities to examine how the legal needs of victims can be met.

But what makes Safe to Be You! so special? At its core, it’s more than just a program. It’s a movement. A movement that seeks to dismantle the discriminatory barriers faced by LGBTQ+ survivors of violence. As Michelle Garcia passionately states, “The Safe to Be You! LGBTQ+ legal access program at NMLA has allowed us to reach a deeply underserved population.” And they’ve done so with remarkable success, advancing client cases across various legal platforms, from administrative to tribal and federal courts.

The Safe to Be You! project is not just about legal victories but human triumphs. It’s about ensuring that every LGBTQ+ individual, whether in bustling cities or remote rural locations, has access to the legal support they need. The Safe to Be You! project covers a vast spectrum of legal needs, from protection orders to housing issues, healthcare access, and civil rights.

For those who find themselves at a crossroads, uncertain of their rights, or fearful of the path ahead, the Safe to Be You! project offers a guiding hand. Their message is clear: “Reaching out to our program doesn’t mean you’re bound to a particular course of action. But we’re here to help you understand your rights, your choices, and your potential.”

In a world where the LGBTQ+ community is often marginalized, the Safe to Be You! project stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to what can be achieved when compassion meets action. With the continued support of New Mexico Legal Aid, the future looks brighter, more inclusive, and safer for all.

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