Four years ago Diversity Richmond launched our first Black and Bold Awards ceremony. In planning the inaugural event we said we would be satisfied if fifty people attended. Over 200 folks supported the event. We knew that we had created something that was needed. The occasion has been orchestrated in different ways, but the heart remains the same.

Here in Richmond and across the land, the contributions and leadership of Black LGBTQ people have often gone unnoticed and unacknowledged. LGBTQ people already face more than our share of prejudices and legal discrimination. Add a darker complexion to the equation and the bigotry grows.

Diversity Richmond leadership knows that the more inclusive we are, the stronger we are. For the past few years we have worked to become better than we have been in the past. Energy has been focused on racial healing and understanding. We know that discussing race can be difficult so we try to create safe spaces for dialogue. We also know that we have just begun to scratch the surface.

We host Black and Bold for several reasons with one being we know that our civil rights movement would never have made our huge advances if not for Black leaders, invisible as some have tried to make them out to be. And while we cannot change the sins of our past, we can help ensure the future is different. We have grown as a community, recognizing that things must be done differently if we truly want equality and equity. For white people, looking in the mirror can be difficult while the errors of our ways and attitudes are being called out.

We celebrate Black leadership as recognizing people of color for their strengths and courageousness is long overdue by the LGBTQ community. Being truly inclusive is long overdue. White people listening is very long overdue. While the main focus of the LGBTQ community has been a struggle for equality, we have not done a very good job of defining equality within our own ranks.

On February 28th we celebrate. Please join us.

Bill Harrison