Ali Forney Center raises $200,000 towards the purchase of Harlem’s homophobic church.

“We hope to turn a place that promotes hatred and violence into a space of healing and compassion,” Carl Siciliano, AFC Executive Director

A fortnight ago the Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church, home of the anti-LGBT Rev. James David Manning, was foreclosed on and auctioned off. In those two weeks, through the hashtag campaign #HarlemNoHate, New York’s shelter for LGBT youth the Ali Forney Center raised $200,000 towards buying the building. The AFC will convert the church into much-needed housing for LGBT homeless youth in Harlem.

“It has been an extraordinary two weeks,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director and Founder of the Ali Forney Center. “We have been overwhelmed with support and encouragement and now have the opportunity to turn a place that has promoted hatred and violence into a safe space for LGBT homeless youth.” 

It is perhaps poetic justice that Ali Forney, who inspired the founding of the LGBT organization, was murdered in Harlem in 1997, only 12 blocks from ATLAH, and that LGBT youths who are most at risk of homophobic violence will now take over the beautiful and historic building where a religious bigot once preached hate.

“The Ali Forney Center has 200 youths per night on the waiting list for our beds,” says Siciliano. “As an organization, we have no obligation more urgent than to increase our capacity to provide housing to these vulnerable youth. With the support of the Harlem community, those who have contributed and many others offering to help, we approach the February 24th auction with confidence and hope. 

“We will continue fundraising through the #HarlemNoHate campaign and make every effort to be in as strong a position as possible to acquire the building,” says Siciliano.