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AffinityAffinity -- Chicago

Affinity is a six-year not-for-profit organization currently serving Chicago’s black lesbian and bisexual women’s community. For the past five years, Affinity has served the black lesbian community through a combination of educational, social and community collaborations. One of the central elements of Affinity’s mission has been the creation of opportunities for visibility, empowerment, and leadership for black lesbians locally, while serving as a national organizing model.

Our History & Mission

AFFINITY evolved out of the efforts of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered leaders and members from our community. There was a need to respond to the dearth of services and resources available on the south side of Chicago for members of these groups. Something needed to be done. These discussions grew from a "seedling idea" to a full blown plan to work towards creating a Community Center on Chicago's south side, which would provide a safe and accessible environment committed to promoting or providing services and resources which would facilitate "wellness."

Affinity Board - 2002AFFINITY'S Steering Committee members have worked consistently towards this goal since October of 1994. During this critical time, Affinity created a "Needs Assessment" tool and surveyed the community members in an effort to determine what resources and services respondents found important. Affinity then compiled the data from close to 200 community members and found this data useful in obtaining our first operation grant from the Crossroads Fund, which was funded in 1996.

AFFINITY has and will continue to form collaborative relationships with groups and organizations within the aforementioned communities as well as the community at large as a way of ensuring that the community members have access to quality comprehensive resources.


Affinity's mission is to provide comprehensive services and a safe space on the South Side of Chicago for Lesbians and Lesbigay youth of African descent.

The scope of our efforts will also include providing a supportive environment for bisexual women, transgendered persons, lesbians of color, our families, friends, and other supporters. We ask that all constituents respect that some of our activities and events will include forums that are open to all, and some that are only open to those of African descent. We will provide and promote services to meet existing and emerging needs related to health, advocacy, education, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Our fundamental commitment is to facilitate wellness within and among these groups and to contribute to the national knowledge base regarding African American Lesbians.

Forty Plus
Healthy Woman Series
Lez Chat
Social Justice
"Xpressions of You" Youth Program

Forty Plus
Forty Plus is dedicated to providing a safe place for interaction and socialization for lesbian and bisexual women of African descent over the age of 40.

Key Benefits:

Open forum for discussion
Supportive resources
Networking opportunities

Scheduled Meetings:
The Third Saturday of each month, 4:00pm - 6:00pm. Other activities are scheduled by group organizers.

Healthy Woman Series
The Healthy Woman Series explores health issues and barriers to accessing health services for lesbian and bisexual women of African descent. Healthy Woman seminars are facilitated by professionals within the community. The seminars and programming are designed to provide education, resources, alternative health information, and promote healthy living for women.

Key Benefits:

Seminar facilitated by professionals
Resources and referral information
Exercise classes designed for women of all ages and sizes
Participation in health panels and conferences
Collaborative programs and organizing around women's health issues

Scheduled Meetings:
The First Thursday of each month, 7:00pm - 9:00pm. Other activities are scheduled by group organizers.

Lez Chat
To provide creativity and high energy to a sistah chat which hosts a range of humorous, controversial and timely discussions on issues which impact urban Black lesbians between the ages of twenty-five and forty.

Key Benefits:

Open forum for discussion
Supportive resources
Networking opportunities

Scheduled Meetings:
The Second Thursday of each month, 7:00pm - 9:00pm. Other activities are scheduled by group organizers.

Social Justice
The Social Justice committee serves as a change agent for those systems which traditionally marginalize and oppress people of color, and specifically lesbian, bisexual women and lesbigay youth. Activities have included participation in rallies, marches, letter writing campaigns and also promoting change within the Chicago Public School System around issues of diversity and safety for lesbigay youth.

Key Benefits:

Direct action in planned demonstrations
Participation in local, regional and national coalitions
Development of community organizing skills and knowledge base

Scheduled Meetings:
Committee chair coordinates meetings based on planned community actions

"Xpressions of You" Youth Program
"Xpressions of You" is dedicated to providing a safe place for interaction and socialization for lesbigay youth between the ages of 18 to 25.

Key Benefits:

Forum for discussion around issue of "coming out", safer sex, and risk reduction
Safe and friendly environment
Resource and referral information
Peer outreach/volunteer opportunities

Youth Drop-In:
The Third Friday of each month, 7:00pm - 10:00pm.

Goal: Produce a high quality newsletter and coordinate all media interactions.


Solicit community-wide articles
Coordinate information between Affinity communities and community calendar events
Update and secure subscriptions for the newsletter
Maintain archives
Coordinate the obtainment of other publications both locally and nationally
Ensure that the Affinity newsletter is produced in a cost efficient and continuously improving fashion
Ensure Affinity information and advertisements are published in other publications

Skills Needed:

Good oral and excellent written communication
Task oriented
Envelope stuffing & label affixing
Word Processing

Time Committment:

Approximately 4 hours per month
This includes one meeting per month and some working hours
Meetings are expected to last one hour

serving chicago's black lesbian, bisexual and trans women's community

Affinity Community Services,
5650 South Woodlawn Avenue, Garden Level

© 2002 Affinity




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