CUAV was founded in 1979 following the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, as well as police attacks on LGBTQ people, as an organized effort to promote community safety in San Francisco’s Castro District. As the country’s oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization, our past programs included a safety whistle campaign and a gay and lesbian speakers bureau for public schools, and later expanded to include a 24-hour crisis line and peer advocates to support both survivors of hate violence as well as intimate partner violence. After the adoption of an anti-oppression framework in the late 1990’s, CUAV launched TransAction with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights to organize against anti-transgender police violence, as well as the Love & Justice Program to create opportunities for LGBTQ youth of color to develop healthy relationship skills through the arts.
In 2007, CUAV engaged in an intensive 2-year strategic planning process and launched a new programmatic approach in 2009, in many ways returning to our movement’s vibrant history of grassroots community empowerment. At this powerful juncture in our history we transitioned to a shared leadership staff structure and integrated our long-standing support services with opportunities for LGBTQ survivors to develop their leadership and organize to address the root causes of violence.