Gay marriage might be legal in all 50 states in the country, but the fight for LGBT rights is far from away.
One organization continuing to fight for those rights is the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
It recently re-launched its LGBT Committee, which went on hiatus last year, after its introduction in 2013.
“The whole concept is to help LGBT business owners by advocating for and supporting them,” said Elizabeth Cofrancesco, the Deputy Director of Member Service at the Brooklyn Chamber, and the head of the committee. “We are bringing together people from so many different industries, and we are here to help and find resolutions.”
Through the committee, the organization will also tackle issues most pressing to the borough’s LGBT community. Some of the subjects the group has chosen to tackle right off the bat include combating HIV/AIDS and providing services for LGBT seniors, which the Chamber sees as an increasingly marginalized community.
TFarid Ali Lancheros, who owns Bogota Latin Bistro, a Colombian restaurant, along with his business and life partner George Constantinou, is one of the members of the committee.
Lancheros has been an active member of not just the business community but the LGBT community in Brooklyn as well, particularly since the launch of the restaurant in 2005.
He has advocated around marriage equality, campaigned for the rights of gay business owners of color like him, and has been actively involved in organizing Brooklyn Pride.
“The work I’m doing with the Chamber is really to provide visibility to other members of the gay community, and provide a safe space for business owners, so that they know that they know they have support and they don’t have to live in the shadows,” said Lancheros.
It’s early days for the committee however – having only recently formulated a mission statement, along with other business owners on the committee. Plans are now in the works for a mixer to formally introduce the group to the borough and to raise awareness about its work.
To learn more about their work and get involved visit http://www.ibrooklyn.com/member_promotion/chamber_committees.aspx.