Apple CEO Tim Cook and retired three-time NBA championship winner Dwyane Wade have partnered together to build new homes and provide services for at-risk LGBTQ youth out in the west of the U.S.
This announcement comes Wednesday, revealing the completion of the campaign by the local advocacy group, Encircle. This non-profit organization has been providing mental health services for LGBTQ youth since 2016 and has surpassed it’s goal of raising $8 million to build 8 new homes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah with the purpose to provide safe spaces and prevent teen suicide.
According to The Trevor Project, “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, with LGBTQ youth being four times more likely to seriously consider suicide, to make a plan for suicide, and to attempt suicide versus their peers.” In addition, a 2020 survey shows that “29% of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, been kicked out, or run away.”
This campaign comes at a time where the LGBTQ youth are under attack and require the support of allies to make sure they remain safe and protected.
During a press briefing on Wednesday Cook tells reporters, “Encircle’s mission is very personal to me because I see myself in so many of these young people. It’s not easy when you’re made to feel different or less than because of who you are or who you love. It’s a feeling that so many LGBTQ people know far too well.”
This fight is nothing new to Wade as well. Wade has always been an ally to the community and has taken a personal interest in the cause after his daughter, Zaya Wade, revealed in February of 2020 that she identifies as a trans girl. Upon her coming out, Dwayne Wade swiftly ran to social media to express his support for his daughter and commended her bravery to live in her truth.
In fact, Dwayne Wade took the time to express his connection with the LGBTQ community and the purpose of this campaign.
“I stand here as a father, a parent, who at 8 years old my daughter came home and had a conversation with me as a father. For anyone who doesn’t know my family's story, Zaya was assigned male at birth and at 8 years old came home and had a conversation with my family that she wasn’t anymore and she wanted to live her truth and wanted to be who she felt she was born to be. At that moment I had to do a lot of learning, my wife and I—a lot of listening. That’s what this is about. It’s about listening so you can learn.”
Governor of Utah, Spencer Cox also praised Encirle for the work that they’re doing for the LGBTQ community and has offered his support in the cause.
Encircle has locations in Salt Lake City, Provo and St. George, Utah. Nonetheless, they continue to expand their outreach with construction for new locations already underway in Heber, Logan and Ogden, as well as Las Vegas.