Okay, so I’m slightly slow to updating this website, but I got the amazing honor of being chosen as one of City & State’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars for 2021. If you’re not in the niche world of New York politics, this is A Thing, and I’m so grateful to folks to recommended me, and for all the people who have helped me get me to the point where I, a lefty trans woman who started a consulting firm to have a little more flexibility while caring for a small child could, a few years later, have such a thing bestowed upon me.
Onward to causing a ruckus with my fabulous firm and roster of amazing, inspiring clients.
It is the formal end of the NYC Budget season (though in reality, budget season never ends for us), and things worked out very well for our clients.
This is within the scope of a brutal year and a half for NYC, America, the world at large: there is intense need for moving massive resources, and we have not been shy about our personal desire to see divestment from the carceral state and reinvestment in housing, health care, and other social services. This is our feeling—it isn’t us speaking necessarily for our clients—but it shades the work we take on. True democracy requires people having the resources, safety, and trust in government to contribute. We have a long way to go.
While budget and policy wins are not a salve for all we need, Bowen Public Affairs Consulting got increases in funding for all of our NYC budget clients. This meant increases in funding for organizations that support worker cooperatives, sex workers, and transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people. That’s many millions for economic justice.
barriers to opportunities for survivors of human trafficking will be broken down by allowing them to clear all convictions related to their trafficking. The START Act truly gives survivors the fresh start they deserve—improving access to employment opportunities, improving access to appropriate immigration legal remedies, and helping break cycles of trauma for thousands of survivors across our state.
Within the last week, we saw the release of two big writing projects:
a Housing Plan for LGBTQ+ Communities , with Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC), part of their New Lens for NYC’s Housing Plan project. Written by Bowen Public Affairs’ Andrea Bowen, edited by Jessica Katz and Sheena Kang of CHPC.
Work It, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity, a partnership between the NYC Unity Project and the NYC Center for Youth Employment (both entities of the NYC government), written by Andrea Bowen, with edits and support from a wide variety of City agencies and nonprofits. The Mayor’s office was kind enough to include us in the press release, just like they did with Unity Works, one of our other big victories.
Since this time last year, we also played major roles in securing millions for LGBTQI+ youth workforce programs in NYC and the District of Columbia (the latter of which was actually a divestment from the Metropolitan Police Department of DC and an investment in workforce programming for trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary youth). And we advised worker cooperatives on strategy around procurements. And we helped pull together electeds and candidates for support of a worker cooperative policy platform.
We’re around to bring policymaking rigor to social justice causes, and we’re dreaming about what we can do in the next year no matter who is in executive chambers or legislatures.
Bowen Public Affairs is here to support your cause with material victories and serious work, in NYC and elsewhere. If you want to talk with us, email andy [at] bowenpublicaffairs [dot] com. We’ll come through for ya.
So, Unity Works finally went into operation after a delay, annnnd the City of New York included me in the press release! Here’s what I said:
“Many voices in the LGBTQ+ community, notably transgender and gender non-conforming activists, have pointed to the deep need to just get community members into jobs. This has been the struggle before our current crisis, and remains so,” said Andrea Bowen, Principal of Bowen Public Affairs Consulting, which helped design the program with City and community partners. “Unity Works is a bold step toward showing that government recognizes its obligation to support the LGBTQ+ community, and is powerfully responding to community feedback.”
ORIGINAL POST! October 9, 2019.
The First Lady of NYC announced UnityWorks, the most comprehensive workforce development program in the nation for runaway and homeless LGBTQI+ youth.
This is the result of a lot of work from a lot of people. It comes from community members, organizers, the demands of the TGNCNB (trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary) Solutions Coalition, LGBTQI+ youth advocates, and allies in government, notably the Center for Youth Employment and the Unity Project.
Bowen Public Affairs Consulting was honored to play a role in all of this, working with community members and workforce programming experts, to shape this program.
Years of community organizing, struggles for survival, and brave statements from the TGNCNB community have continually surfaced a major demand: we need jobs. UnityWorks is a major step toward providing our community with careers and economic well-being. We will continue to fight to make sure resources like this program are extended for TGNCNB people of all ages, but we’re excited for this program’s promise as a model for putting community members into well-paying careers.
For Bowen, principal at Bowen Public Affairs Consulting, the LGBTQ movement’s tendency to shy away from addressing economic injustice issues shows “the big banner things that we focus on, they’re a little out of whack.”
The steps that need to be taken to address LGBTQ economic inequality include using government funding to create LGBTQ-oriented social programs, pushing philanthropists in the queer movement to support on-the-ground service providers and uplifting political advocacy that distributes resources to the community, said Bowen, a queer trans woman.
tl;dr: As of today, we officially got *multi-year* funding for staff in NYC’s public hospitals to help trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) people find affirming care.
With the amazing work of City Council members, the TGNCNB Solutions Coalition (which Bowen Public Affairs works with) successfully advocated for $390,000 a year baselined (multi-year funding) for TGNCNB health care navigators in the NYC FY20 budget!
The big annual City Council budget document (the Schedule C) came out today, and solidified: $390,000 to support TGNCNB people in the pursuit of the best possible health care within public hospitals (Schedule C says $390,000 for “transgender healthcare training,” but that funds the aforementioned navigators).
It is vital to give applause to the community organizers and leaders who made this work get to this point. Bowen Public Affairs Consulting owes all the work it has done to the people mentioned below.
Anything the Coalition achieves, love goes to this crew for building community, holding community forums where community members said they wanted these navigators in the first place, for getting money and resources to make this work happen, thinking it through, strategizing, making sure the evolving policy fits the community’s needs, testifying at hearings and getting other folks to show up to hearings, and doing all of this while organizing rallies, and healing community.
On the City government side, thank you to Council Members Carlina Rivera and Mark Levine for holding the initial hearings that led to this funding, for helping us craft the vision for this funding, and for working with your colleagues to make it real.
Thanks to many other Council Members for pushing this hard, including Diana Ayala, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Finance Chair Danny Dromm, Stephen Levin, Francisco Moya, and Helen Rosenthal.
Also, thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson for shepherding through two budgets now with monumental spending for the TGNCNB community. Thank you to the LGBT and Women’s Caucuses for supporting this!
Also, many many staff made this possible. You are stars.
Our movement has an obligation to pursue economic justice, and if we don’t make a full-court press for government dollars, we’re leaving money on the table. Thanks to everybody who sees that, and is making that reality happen.