Over the last year I have been taking my students to the Borderland Rainbow Center and begun volunteering and sending consumers to get services from the BRC. I have learned to call the little house at the BRC home. As a queer Deaf woman I am welcomed with open arms. Understand I am extremely passionate about two things. Equality for all people and Harry Potter.
So every time I go to the little BRC house I am amazed at what it can do. I have been there when they turn it into a grocery store and distribute fruits, vegetables, chocolate milk and chicken nuggets to nearly 100 people. I have seen the little BRC house become a family living room where people from all walks of life come together at Brunch to share a meal, laughter and support. Where no matter what your family looks like you are perfect. I have seen it transform into a safe space so that teenagers can ask about pronoun preference without judgement as the cupcakes are passed around. And they were good cupcakes too. Then the very next time I walk into the little BRC house there is counseling happening in a back room where young people are supported on their journey to self-identity and another counselor is providing care for people in a variety of languages.
I have sat in a board meeting where amazing people from around the community sit on couches and lawn chairs and give so selflessly of themselves and their time and their talents to keep this little house going. I have seen the little house turn into a storage unit so that persons from other countries always have food to eat.
The little BRC house is always bright, festive, and welcoming. It is a constant classroom. There are students from different majors and different schools across the country all coming to learn from the mentors, the clients and the people that cross our threshold. They learn about LGBTQ sensitivity and pronouns but more than that, they are learning to be global citizens. They are learning cultures, languages, competencies, and humanity by becoming allies to so many minority groups. The hands on learning comes in a new form. Sitting down next to someone and listening to their stories. Stepping up as an ally and advocate. Walking away thankful for this little house that became a door to another world. The little BRC house is a place where you can ask the silly questions, eat some amazing food, learn to knit, continue your fight for recovery, sing karaoke and most importantly find a family and support.
In the Harry Potter series, we are introduced to a magical room in the Hogwarts castle. The “Room of Requirement” also known as the “Come and Go Room”. It becomes whatever the person needs. In the series, students and teachers hide banned objects in the room. It becomes a bathroom. It becomes a haven for the resistance with beds and food. And during the height of the battle it becomes an escape. Harry Potter has always been my escape and my story. And I whole-heartedly believe the words that J.K. Rowling so wisely shared . . . “We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better”.
So I found it. I found my piece of Hogwarts in El Paso. The Room of Requirement is at 2714 Wyoming. It becomes whatever the Borderland Rainbow Center needs. It is always big enough, warm enough and has enough food. There is always room for more people and languages and cultures. There is enough space for learning and companionship and your true self.
At the BRC we aren’t just imaging better we are making it happen. One cupcake, one food pantry client, one therapy session, one board meeting, one handshake at a time. We are making the world better. Some come visit us at the BRC, who knows what the little house will become when you drop by.