On a warm autumn evening in 1985 a group of Latina/o lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists stood up for themselves and their communities and founded allgo. Originally “ALLGO” or Austin Latina Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization, our founders were frustrated by gay activist agendas that did not include farm workers, police brutality and racism and by Latino activists who told them to check their sexual identity at the door.
The founding members of allgo decided that LGBT people of color would also have a home and a base of operations in Austin for impacting issues concerning LGBT people of color.
Artists, activists and educators came to allgo seeking and found respect and dignity. With our partners, allgo formed a strong working relationship between Austin’s Black and Latino gay communities and served as the voice of LGBT people of color in collaborations and activism.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s the AIDS crises hit Austin hard. Social service organizations and governmental agencies did not seem up to the challenge of reaching LGBT Black and Latino communities. allgo was composed of community organizers and activists who well versed in reaching those ignored by the powers that be to give information and hope.
allgo used its skills to launch Informe-SIDA; through door knocking, one on one meetings and group sessions many people of color were able to access HIV/AIDS services.
A sharper focus to allgo’s work came into view. A community based organization situated in East Austin, Texas, allgo’s programming model became nationally recognized due to its focus on improving our communities health, the advancing LGBT Black and Latino artists and community organizing.
Aspects of these programs included a Case Management Program for People of Color living with HIV/AIDS; a Health Education Program focused on HIV/AIDS, Breast Care, and Domestic Violence; and a Cultural Arts Program.
In 2005 allgo presented the challenge to itself of stepping further into fully embodying its vision toward a just and equitable society that celebrates and nurtures vibrant people of color queer cultures.
During this process, significant gaps were identified in the social justice organizing taking place in Texas in terms of queer people of color activists, groups and organizations working often in isolation or with little contact with similar organizers. In addition, the disconnection between people of color and the greater LGBT movement was rather evident, with LGBT voices silenced in the larger dialogue.
As these needs were identified ALLGO was renamed allgo, taking the organization’s old acronym as its name to honor the organization’s history while acknowledging the inclusion of all queer people of color. The newly expanded organization made the monumental decision to honor its vision by returning to its initial mission and moving entirely as a social justice organization. allgo also thought it important to put the lessons it had learned over twenty years to work throughout the state of Texas.
In addition to continuing our Wellness Program (Health Education and Advocacy) our Cultural Arts Program, and our Multi-Issue Action Teams, allgo now works with a network of LGBT activists of color across Texas.
The network seeks to identify LGBT people of color priorities and strategies as they relate to Reproductive Justice, Sexual Freedom, Anti-Violence and Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Once a year allgo brings these activists together for an annual summit to design strategies for the coming year and celebrate our accomplishments.