Orlando anniversary recognized In Richmond

Orlando anniversary

Pictured L-R Jennyfer Hernandez, Lisa Delao, Flor Lo’pez Trejo, and Michael “Mikey” Trujillo.

On June 12 an observance marking the first anniversary of the mass murder of 49 and the injury of 53 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida was marked with an hour of reflection and words of encouragement. The service was coordinated by staff and volunteers of the Virginia Anti-Violence Project. About 50 people attended the event held in Byrd Park.

The bright blue skies and white clouds, the gentle sounds of the lake, the music of birds and the calm breezes were a perfect setting for people to share thoughts and prayers for the dead and the living. It was a chapel where all were welcomed and encompassed.
The service included the reading of the 49 names with candles being illuminated as each name was recited in both Spanish and English. Spanish translation was provided throughout the service.

May we never forget Orlando. Thank you Virginia Anti-Violence Project for helping us remember and heal.

Orlando anniversary

Deep Run shown at Virginia Historical Society

Deep Run shown at Virginia Historical Society

Local airing funded by Diversity Richmond

“Deep Run,” a documentary about a young transgender man growing up in rural North Carolina aired recently at the Virginia Historical Society. His struggles with his faith, his family and community were truthfully and oftentimes painfully presented as the cameras followed Cole throughout a partial clip of his life journey. The movie was produced by Susan Sarandon and filmed in 2015.

Following the movie, a conversation was led by local transgender activist Alexander Chapman and Diversity’s Bill Harrison. The airing of “Deep Run” was partially funded by Diversity Richmond, through the Virginia Historical Society/ Diversity Richmond Guy Kinman Scholarship.

Pictured above, Left to Right: William B. Obrochta of the Virginia Historical Society, Alexander Chapman, Diversity volunteer, Wanda Fears, and Carol Obrochta

Big turnout for DRAG Bingo!

Drag Bingo

You helped raise almost $1800 for the programs of Diversity Richmond

We couldn't do it without you and our fabulous volunteers. A big thanks to our bingo managers Janet and Binky, our drag performers, Miss North America Supreme Alvion Arnell Davenport and Miss Godfreys Bianca Blake Starr. Special shout out to the Diversity Richmond Special Events and Fundraising Committee and their 99-cent drag performance of Car Wash by Rose Royce.

Diversity Thrift partners with VCU Health Services

DT partners VCU HealthDiversity Thrift store members were proud to partner with VCU’s Division for Health Services’ free health care clinic, Health Check, which provides free health care services and preventative health information for the working poor and homeless community in Richmond.

Diversity Thrift donated 43 pairs of tennis shoes and walking shoes to help the clinic address the podiatry needs of under served communities who need new footwear to take the strain off of their feet and prevent the onset of other illnesses.

March on D.C. poster-making party

Poster Making

Wed., June 7, 6 PM • Diversity Richmond Event Hall Door #3

We’re gearing up big time for the Equality March 2017. Join us for a poster- and sign- making party, and express those feelings so everyone can see. Dinner will be provided by the Richmond Business Alliance.

Even if you’re not going to D.C., make a sign for someone else to carry. Limited supplies will be furnished, but we encourage folks to bring their own poster board, paint and markers.

Please register by facebook or call 622-4646, ext. 203, that will help us prepare for dinner.

Diversity Richmond Executive Director Bill Harrison featured in USA Today

Bill Harrison USAT oday

Newspaper features "Faces of Pride" from all 50 states

USA Today June 1, 2017 - Bill Harrison has been involved with Virginia's LGBTQ community for nearly four decades.  Co-chairing the first Pride Festival in Richmond in June 1978, Harrison recalled "probably 75-100" attendees, a far cry from the roughly 35,000 that came last year.

Read the full article in USA Today

A day with our best friends!

BestFriends smile

Despite the clouds that hovered, the rain stayed away as Diversity Richmond and Sanctuary Rescue celebrated the love of pets on May 13. Sponsored by Mongrel, “Pets and Their People Day” celebrated the love of animals and the joy they bring to our lives. Vendors including Richmond Animal League, Richmond SPCA and Pootsu Portraits were on hand to celebrate everything related to pets.

The event including a blessing of pets by Rev. Dr. Hilary Smith, Rector of Church of the Holy Comforter and our “Pet Pageant.” The honor of this year’s crowning went to the adorable chocolate lab, Teddy.

(Hey, how come nobody brought their cat?)

Best Friends

Health Brigade and Diversity Richmond partner on mental health provisions

Health BrigadeHealth Brigade is happy to announce that the organization will now provide Mental Health Services to members of the LGBTQ community who are referred through Diversity Richmond. Mental Health and Wellness Services are provided to enhance life satisfaction and well-being. The Health Brigade staff’s  understanding of the complex and interrelated issues that impact mental health allows them to assist people in identifying, understanding, and resolving challenges.

Health Brigade provides:

• Specialty mental health services

• Psychiatric evaluation and medication

• Support groups (e.g., Employment, LGBTQ, etc.)

• Wellness and adjunctive services (e.g., Meditation, Acupuncture, etc.)

For referrals, please email Rodney Lofton or call (804) 622-4646 ext. 203. Once the referral has been received, a Health Brigade staff person will provide contact by phone for a brief screening.

Survey needed for people living with HIV-Disease

Are You Poz

Are you poz? Are you living with HIV or AIDS? You may want to participate in a community health survey on HIV/AIDS, marginalization, and empowerment.

This study is being conducted by Aaron Samuel Breslow, a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. The study is approved by the Institutional Review Board at Teachers College, Protocol ID: 17-148

Click here or copy and paste this link to share your stories: https://goo.gl/LMRgxq

THANK YOU!

GiveOutDay

Diversity Richmond thanks everyone for their generous contributions for the online fundraiser, “Give OUT Day.” Because of YOU, Diversity Richmond raised $4,125.00, including a special $1,000.00 matching gift by Wanda Fears.

This was our first time participating in this wonderful event. Thank you. We will keep you informed of Give OUT Day 2018.

Diversity Richmond receives donation from gc2b

gc2b

Diversity Richmond is proud to share the recent donation received from the apparel company, gc2b. An LGBT-owned company that provides high quality chest binders for transgender individuals, gc2b recently donated 20 binders to Diversity Richmond and the Central Virginia LGBTQ community. Thank you gc2b!!! To learn more about this incredible company, please visit their website.

If you or someone you know is interested in a free chest binder, please contact us at (804) 622-4646 ext. 203

“My Brothers Don’t See the Challenge, They See the Warrior!”

Art Patterson

Local activist Art Patterson leads way for men with physical challenges to be treated as equals.

Art Patterson is a man with a mission, like every man in Mankind Project. But this June, part of his mission will come to life on the hallowed grounds of Claymont Court. Art’s dream has been for men with physical challenges to go thru the New Warrior Training Adventure weekend together. His want is for men who are perceived by the community at large as disabled, to be seen for their gifts and their Gold!

Art is the senior member (18 years with MKP) of the New James River Warriors, the IGroup that meets in Richmond on a weekly basis. He’s seen many changes thru the years, including multiple IGroups and men who are dear brothers to him for life. He also has his share of physical challenges, as he has cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect balance, movement, and muscle tone.

Think back to your weekend. Imagine adding a physical challenge like that to the emotional and spiritual energy you expended over those 48 hours. How was Art impacted? “I spoke to a friend after my weekend, and he said ‘Art, you sound different’. And I felt different. If you had told me what the next 18 years of my life would have been like, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have been lost without MKP.”

Art also spoke about the gifts that he has been blessed with over the years, particularly the insight into himself and his condition. “Being a Warrior Brother gave me SPACE. I had the space to be inter-dependent. I was able to admit to myself that I didn’t want to have cerebral palsy. Before I thought that it was selfish to think that. Being a part of this community also gave me an opportunity to bring out my thoughtful, reflective side, something that I had never had a chance to use before.”

What can other challenged men expect to find, by going thru a NWTA weekend? “A man will find that he will be treated as an equal among other men, something many challenged men don’t experience anywhere in their life. They are viewed for their gifts and not their physical challenges. There is a place of safety here, a place where the anger that a disabled man feels isn’t mistaken for bitterness or danger. This is a place where his anger, like the rest of him, is welcome and it becomes a place for healing. With his fellow brothers, he will find a space of safety, and a place where he is valued, while at the same time, he can be nurtured by other men who know or feel his struggle.”

Art’s goal for this first weekend: “To create a container where a challenged man is able to find himself, and be proud of who he is. I want to see as many physically challenged men as can to come out and experience the support and love of a community that’s ready to serve them.” And his longer term goal? “Physically challenged men can become the largest group within MKP over time. It is providing me a chance to step into my mission and my calling. It is scary, yes, but I’m ready!”

Ask yourself a question. Are YOU ready to support this calling and work within MKP? What can we do to help these men and others like them to challenge the community’s ideas around disability? What can we learn for ourselves?

Men are waiting. Be there on June 1st-4th, 2017, either as a staff man, Men Of Service, or at the Brother Dance, and be a part of history. Challenged Warriors is a reality.

For more information, contact Art at or Timothy Lowery at

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