Raf Swiader's Ali Forney Center Dance-A-Thon T-Shirts Will Give Back to a Great Cause

Raf Swiader's Ali Forney Center Dance-A-Thon T-Shirts Will Give Back to a Great Cause

The Ali Forney Center was founded two decades ago with a mission to protect LGBTQ+ homeless youth and empower them with the tools to live independently.

In honor of this anniversary, the organization is presentingthe We Are Family Dance-A-Thon on November 20, a fundraising experience and fusion of the NYC nightlife scene and cuisine from queer chefs at the Knockdown Center in Brooklyn.

Ahead of the inaugural event, designer Raf Swiader is releasing 100 t-shirts with the Ali Forney Center, which will be premiered in his SoHo store at 135 Grand St on November 6 from 12-5 pm complete with DJs and drinks. All proceeds from the limited edition tees will go direct to AFC, while 25% of all sales from the in-store event will go to the We Are Family Dance-A-Thon fundraiser.

"As a gay person who came to New York City as a teenager I was fortunate enough to have a support network that helped me out and made me feel safe, something that is not the case to so many young people in need of protection and guidance," says Swiader. "It’s really incredible that AFC can provide that for so many of their members. It’s important I do my part in supporting their work."

This Dance-A-Thon will bring attention to the LGBTQ+ homeless youth community experiencing housing and food insecurities and is taking place on Trans Day of Remembrance. It will also commemorate The Ali Forney Center’s namesake, a gender-nonbinary individual murdered on the streets of New York City, while also supporting a new generation just in time for the Holidays.

“Throughout our history, LGBTQ+ people have built chosen families because so many of us have been denied family and acceptance, and sadly the same is true for the homeless young people in our care," says Alex Roque, President and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. "The We Are Family Dance-A-Thon pays honor to our roots, our chosen family, and serves to build community for our youth reminding them that they are not alone, that they are worthy of being cared for, and that they are worthy of all that family represents — acceptance, care, and love.”

To highlight the collaboration, Swiader's partner John Arsenault photographed a group of queer and trans dancers modeling the t-shirts with movement direction by choreographer Jason Rodriguez. Those wanting to get involved with the Dance-A-Thon can sign up here.

Designer: Raf Swiader

Photography: John Arsenault

Digital: Shota Shermadini

Hair: Mott NYC/Justin Bender

Make-up: Tony Tulve

Executive Producer: Ben Totty/Box Artist Management

Movement Director: Jason Rodriguez

Dancers: Jose Lapaz-Rodriguez/ Azusa Crawford