U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Attend Workshop
More than 55 U.S. Customs and Border Protection law enforcement officers and administrative personnel attended a Pride Month Celebration workshop presented by SAVE Dade and the Yes Institute at the port of Miami.
"Over four decades since Stonewall, and the targeting of LGBT individuals for law enforcement abuse remains an issue," said CJ Ortuno, executive director of SAVE Dade. "We are proud to be working with the CBP as they celebrated Pride Month."
The purpose of the event was to "educate our officers and bring awareness of the LGBT community," reported CPB Miami Seaport Director Ruby Hogan.
"Awareness of the LGBT community will allow CBP to continue to provide professional law enforcement services to all, while accomplishing our mission of securing the homeland," said the director of field operations for Miami, Harold Woodward.
According to Rachel Sottile, executive director of YES Institute, and Joseph Zolobczuk, YES education director: "Many people are fearful of discussing the topics of gender and orientation, and do not know how to respond when people declare themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. By distinguishing common myths and stereotypes about gender and orientation, people will have access to making a positive difference for youth and families who may feel isolated and afraid."
Brittney Hoffman, program coordinator at YES Institute, and Lorenzo Torres, a Miami Beach police officer, shared how gender and orientation have impacted their lives, and provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions. CJ Ortuno provided an overview of the inequalities that exist in Florida for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Following the workshop, CBP employees had an opportunity to interact with LGBT organization representatives, view displays, and obtain information and educational materials.