Volunteer Spotlight showcases the work of NEAT's volunteers who are the backbone of what we do every day for LGBTQ+ Justice.
Name: Victor Sanchez
City & State: California
Tell us about yourself outside of NEAT volunteering! (e.g. work, family, hobbies)
I listen to public radio while helping out my family around this rural community and make efforts to enjoy much of life especially reading the newspaper and supporting other political campaigns around the country.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
Just to help out my fellow human beings to love who they love consensually. Also my sister is dating someone who is transgender so that builds a better connection there.
What is your volunteer role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
I’m a simple phone banker that wanted to make a difference one way or another to make sure that human rights were going in a better direction for many that need to know that they are loved and accepted.
Share a memory from volunteering that sticks out in your mind.
Telling the team when my sister told my parents about dating someone who is transgender and the consequences that occurred afterward , when my family was quiet livid. The team did what they could to console me and I’m alright I’m just worried about how my sister and him will be able to have a future that can be quite questionable in terms of acceptance from family.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
That you will get plenty of amazing coaching and some sense of courage will be formed when confronting possible homophobia and xenophobia through these calls. That somewhere in that mind frame that when you go through minutes and hours to make a difference in a community that may or may not be yours... that you find yourself knowing that it is outstandingly worth it.
There is always value to your life. Maybe a huge amount or just a tiny faction but my goodness there is value to your efforts to helping someone you don’t know.
Did you know that LGBTQ+ individuals carry more student debt than the average individual, and that those individuals have a higher percentage of regretting taking on the debt to receive their education? As reported in 2018 by the Advocate, research by Student Loan Hero demonstrated that LGBTQ+ Americans, on average, carry over $16,000 more in student debt than the average borrower. It also showed that 60% of the population regret taking on their debt (compared to the national average of 45%).
With that in mind, NEAT was honored to join Americans for Financial Reform and over 100 other organizations in a call on Congress to address student loan debt relief in the next legislation package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint statement in part, states that:
We further urge you to provide student debt cancellation at a level that meets the scale of the problem. We applaud the 31 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Alma Adams, who have pushed for at least $30,000 in student debt cancellation and the 15 Members of Congress who have cosponsored Rep. Omar’s legislation for full student debt cancellation This is a time to be bold. Sixty-three percent of Americans support permanently reducing student loan debt by at least $20,000. In the context of this pandemic, more student debt cancellation means more economic stimulus.
Cancellation of student debt will assist the entire country with economic stimulus at a time when it is direly needed. It would also help level the financial playing field for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.