Starting a nonprofit is tough. Being able to nurture and develop it long enough to celebrate a second anniversary is an accomplishment.
PRISM is ready to celebrate that milestone with a PRISMVersary.
“The PRISMVersary is an opportunity [for everyone] to experience our resources and the power of the voices behind them in ways never seen before,” founder Maxx Fenning said. “As PRISM heads into its third year as a nonprofit organization, we wanted to do what we do best, but in a physical space: creating new and exciting ways for people to engage with LGBT-inclusive education and sexual health resources. Our vision is to let people of all ages experience what it's like to be a young person again, with all of the whimsy and curiosity that comes with it.”
The event is Saturday, April 30, from 7-10 p.m. in the Hotspots Art Gallery at 3500 NE 12th Ave. in Oakland Park. With interactive art and exhibits, the party will be more than your average pat-ourselves-on-the-back anniversary soiree.
“Using augmented reality, attendees will be able to take a step into our social media and fully immerse themselves in what PRISM has to offer. From sexual health trivia to powerful testimonies and footage of us on the ground — not to mention free food — this really does have something for everyone,” Fenning said.
In addition to interactive exhibits, the night will feature a silent auction, food and drink, live performances and a live model painting by legendary airbrush artist Avi Ram.
A Long Road
PRISM began at the start of the pandemic to celebrate and empower queer youth. They want to empower young people to maintain their physical and mental health, and make sure they have access to the resources they need to begin their best lives.
“Part of the reason that PRISM has had so much success is that we are extremely adaptable. Because we're youth-led, we're able to see new struggles and concerns that young people have as they happen,” Fenning said. “Our mission is to expand access to LGBT-inclusive education and sexual health resources, but what that looks like is always tailored to the current moment.”
PRISM and Fenning have also engaged in social activism, including the fight against the new “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“Being at the forefront of some really high-profile battles such as the ‘Don't Say Gay’ [law] has shown me how much work there still is to be done for LGBT youth. What I do know is that PRISM will continue to be at the front lines to fight those battles.”
The group was also drawn into the battle of online queer censorship. Their Instagram account was flagged and it took weeks to resolve the issue, which significantly impacted their fundraising. Fencing said they still haven’t gotten a good explanation as to why.
“After requesting information from Meta's internal investigation, they told us it was something about ‘data scraping.’ We have no clue what we have ever done that constitutes data scraping. However, this sharpened our focus on queer censorship as a whole, both online and offline. Given what we've seen in Florida since, that couldn't have happened at a more pressing time.”
Tickets for PRISMVersary are $50 on their website and $60 at the door.