Mormons Building Bridges and Safe & Sound on National Public Radio
Mormons Building Bridges has been featured on the NPR series “State of the Re-Union” where host Al Letson takes listeners on a journey of the new Americana. Every episode State of the Re:Union travels to a different American city or town and asks the questions; What makes community? Who are the people who bring it together? What are the issues they face?
In SEGMENT B PART 2 of this episode, called “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” series producers explain that, “Within the LDS church, some moderate and progressive Mormons were troubled too. Among them was a woman named Erika Munson. Straight, married, and a lifelong Mormon, she didn’t set out to become an activist. But after watching LGBT congregants leave the church in the face of hostility, she founded an organization called Mormons Building Bridges.
Mormons Building Bridges facilitates conversations between gay and straight Mormons, and organizes Mormon participation in Salt Lake City’s annual Gay Pride Parade. In one of their most ambitious projects yet, the organization has partnered with the OUTreach Resource Center, an organization for gay teens, to create a program called “Safe and Sound.” Together, they’re building a network of host homes, where homeless LGBT youth can find a safe place to stay.
The issue is of youth homelessness in the area is a serious one. It’s estimated that about half of the homeless youth in the state identify as LGBT and 40% come from Mormon backgrounds. With very few dedicated youth shelters in the state, these young people face difficult and dangerous conditions on the streets.
We’ll explore the genesis of the “Safe and Sound” program, and meet the first host family, whose own transgender son inspired them to get involved, and who have just taken in their first teen.”