Youth Programs Coordinator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Jesse Archer (He/Him/His), and I am the Youth Programs Coordinator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. My team of amazing staff and volunteers work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and Allied youth ages 13-23, many of whom are experiencing homelessness. I have a husband that I recently married, and together we purchased our first home in Sacramento just over a year ago.
How are you making a difference in your community?
Working together with my staff and volunteers at the Center, I make a difference by providing youth experiencing homelessness with a place to be 7 days a week at our drop-in center. During drop-in, youth can shower, eat, relax, use our washer/dryer, socialize with other youth and get connected with additional resources.
Why is the work important to you?
The work we do at the Center is vital for our community, because so many of us don't have families or friends that are affirming to our identities. The Center is a safe and welcoming place where LGBTQ people of all ages can connect with other likeminded people. This is important to me, because growing up, I struggled coming out and accepting myself.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
For many, prom is a rite of passage, but for LGBTQ youth it can be an unsafe environment. One accomplishment that I am proud of is coordinating Q-Prom every year. Q-Prom is a safe and affirming prom experience for LGBTQ and Allied youth ages 13-20. Q-Prom provides over 800 youth with an authentic prom experience where they can be themselves, bring any date they want, and dress however they want.
What have you struggled most with in your life?
From a young age I struggled to understand why I had so much while others had so little. I did not understand why some people enjoy incredible wealth and resources while others struggle to get by. Today I channel that frustration into helping others get access to food, clothing, social support, and other resources they need. The wealthiest society on earth should be willing to provide to those who are most in need.
What lessons are important for future generations?
I think the most important lesson for all generations is to prioritize the wellbeing of others in addition to the wellbeing of themselves. I hope that people in the future support progressive policies that guarantee universal basic necessities like food stability, housing, healthcare, and income.
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
Our community must not solve just one problem but instead see issues we are facing as they are, deeply interconnected. Food insecurity, homelessness, mental health, and income inequality are all important and must be addressed together.
How do you decompress?
I spend my free time playing video games such as World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm. I have been an avid video game player since a young age and enjoy the pro-social, strategy, and critical thinking skills learned from working as a team to slay dragons, defeat the other team, and most importantly build long lasting friendships.