For the last six years, Carla Silva has been working for Alliance for GLBTQ Youth. But she’s been a champion for the LGBT community long before that.

“I’ve been advocating alongside and working for the safety and rights of queer youth for the past decade,” Silva said. “I aspire to both increase the social justice knowledge base for the current systems of care, and stimulate discourse that creates sustainable inroads within our communities across difference.”

Silva moved from New York City to South Florida in 2008. She has seen the support of the local LGBT community grow, especially among the youth. But there is still plenty of work to be done.

“Economic disparities within the GLBTQ communities of color are devastating, and we have not focused collectively on ameliorating them,” she said. “The reality is that while our country is engaged in a struggle for racial justice, the GLBTQ community in South Florida has been disengaged.”

Despite the ongoing struggles, Silva still sees hope for the future.

“I see a more pluralistic community caring for each other across age, race, class, status. A community focused on including the whole person, and the whole community walking forward together.”

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