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Black & Pink organization to open Lydon House

Black & Pink organization to open Lydon House
Posted at 10:58 AM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 11:58:38-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — Feelings of isolation are nothing new for people in the LGBTQ+ community.

It can be even worse for those who have been to prison.

"Nebraska now per capita is the second most overcrowded prison system in the country," Black & Pink National Director Dominique Morgan said.

The organization, Black & Pink, which was established nearly 15 years ago, will help people in the LGBTQ+ community transform their lives after being released from prison.

"Black and Pink is the largest organization in the United States that's supporting L-G-B-T-Q + folks, and people who are living with HIV and AIDS, who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated," Morgan said.

Thanks to years of work, and a grant from the equality fund, Black & Pink will open its first home in early 2020.

"We're doing work that makes sure when they get out, they stay out," Morgan said. "And while they're out they're being elevated to leadership spaces; that they're getting access to education and they're being positioned in careers that can really change their lived experience," Morgan said.

Morgan spent nearly a decade inside the Tecumseh State Prison, he now proudly wears the number 56892 as a reminder.

"Everyone has a 5689," Morgan said. "Everybody has something that's happened in your life that can be a reason why you don't become your greatest self. [You must] choose [to] sometimes go around it, sometimes climb over it with a boost, and sometimes you go to take a hammer to it and break it all a part."

Five people will get to call the two-story house off 45th and Marcey their home.

Morgan named it the Lydon House after the organizations founder, Jason Lydon, who started Black & Pink in 2005.

I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with that honor," Jason Lydon said. "I am thrilled to be able to support Dominique's leadership and to be part of something that is creating a world where people coming out of prison are going to be nurtured instead of just further controlled."

According to a 2015 study of more than a thousand LGBTQ+ who were incarcerated, about 20% were homeless before going to prison.

"What Lydon House is going to do is take away the gamble," Morgan said. "Take away the odds of, well you may make it, you may not make it ... we're doing foundational work that really levels the playing field."

Morgan wants to break the cycle.

85% of those surveyed reported spending time in solitary confinement.

"So many of our people are surviving through the worst things that one could ever possibly imagine, and they're coming through and coming forward with leadership, with vision, with the power of creating a world that we can dream of," Lydon said.

Morgan says the Lydon house is full of light and will brighten lives.

"When they get access to that light (to that hope) they're going to reflect it onto others and we're really going to see this culture change of people stepping up [and] using their lived experience, their success to create opportunities for success for others and I'm so excited for that," he said.

You can learn more about Black & Pink on their website, https://www.blackandpink.org/