Viva RVA! and the celebration of Richmond’s LGBTQ+ & Latinx community

Viva RVA! painting

Each year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. In 2019, Diversity Richmond’s board member Fernando Rodríguez created Viva RVA!, our signature outreach program serving Richmond’s LGBTQ+ & Latinx community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and under Raul Cantu's leadership, it facilitated several food drives and COVID-19 testing events in coordination with the Virginia Department of Health (VDA). Recently we made the painful decision to postpone the Viva RVA! Hispanic Music Festival, scheduled for October 2nd, until next year due to the surge in cases of COVID-19 in Virginia and the Richmond Region

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to announce a partnership with local artist Marshall Higgins, a visual artist based in Richmond and who specializes in large-scale commercial mural installations. The soon-to-be father collaborated with fellow artist Ben Batemann to paint the Viva RVA! logo outside the main Event Hall.

“I am lucky to have been around and been influenced by people in the LGBTQ community who’ve shown me nothing but love,” said Higgins.

VivaRVA 2021 two guys

We are also excited to announce a partnership with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement (OIRE) and the Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) to host the inaugural class of the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy. 20 Hispanic participants will learn about entrepreneurship from concept to execution during the 15-week course. Several sessions will be led by LGBTQ Latino business owners and financial experts and the Academy that will begin in October.

“We are thrilled and thankful to receive the support from Diversity Richmond in the launch of this new program for the Latino Entrepreneurs in the City of Richmond. We hope this is the beginning of a lasting partnership that will benefit of the Latino community in RVA,” said OIRE Manager Karla Almendarez-Ramos.

“The City’s Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) is dedicated to making diversity and inclusion a business priority, and therefore is working with the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy to accomplish this mission. We give thanks to our partners, the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Engagement and Diversity Richmond. We anticipate great results from our collective efforts.” Stated OMBD Director, Pat Foster.

Please stop by and view the Viva RVA! mural and follow Viva RVA! on Facebook for more updates regarding the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy.

VivaRVA 2021 DR wall

Virginia Pride

Virginia Pride flag

As you probably have heard, VA Pride had to make the difficult decision to postpone an in-person Pridefest again this year due to the surge in cases of COVID-19. And while we are all disappointed, we know we’ve done the right thing in order to protect the health and safety of our community.

And while COVID may have postponed Pridefest, it cannot stop us from celebrating Pride. VA Pride’s committee of volunteers has been hard at work to create and plan smaller, more manageable events that will bring our community together. See the listings below of all that you can do to celebrate RVA’s Pride Month.

James R. Millner II
Program Director
VA Pride

“Wednesgays” LGBTQ-themed film series at the Byrd Theatre

VA Pride Wednesgays

Each Wednesday in September, VA Pride in partnership with other LGBTQ organizations, will present a special screening of an LGBTQ-themed film at Richmond’s historic Byrd Theatre. The movies are free to attend, but we ask that you please register using the Eventbrite link for each film. A $10 suggested donation at the door will go to support the sponsoring organizations. Remaining showings this month include:

everybodys talking about jamie

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

Wednesday, September 15 at 7:00 pm with Richmond Triangle Players and Diversity Richmond. Register on Eventbrite

 

MoonlightMoonlight

WWednesday, September 22 at 7:00 pm with UGRC/Black Pride RVA. Register on Eventbrite

 

kiki movieKiki

Wednesday, September 29 at 7:00 pm with Nationz Foundation. Register on Eventbrite

 

Crossroads Art Center Exhibition Opening

crossroads opening

Friday, September 17th 6-9 pm
2016 Staples Mill Rd RVA 23230

VA Pride is once again the charity partner for Crossroads Art Center’s latest featured exhibition. Come enjoy great art, food and drinks and a fabulous drag show featuring Michelle Livigne! Visit the website.

Rainbow Roll—A LGBTQ Roller Skating Extravaganza

VA Pride Rainbow Roll

Thursday, September 23rd 7-11 pm
Roller Dome
4902 Williamsburg Road RVA

DJs, Drag Queens, Costume Contest for the best rainbow themed-outfit ($100 prize!). What more could you ask for? $10 at the door includes admission and skate rental with a portion of admission going to VA Pride. Mask Required. This is a sober event.

Pride after Dark: Leather & Lace

Pride after Dark

Friday, September 24th 6-11 pm
Diversity Richmond
1407 Sherwood Ave RVA 23220

Pridefest might be postponed, but that’s not going to stop us from celebrating. Join VA Pride at Diversity Richmond on Friday, September 24 for the first-ever “Pride after Dark,” a 21-and-over event featuring the world-renowned DJ Citizen Jane. This adult-only party will feature food trucks, a full-bar with Jack Daniels and Tito’s cocktails, and sexy performances by the iconic House of Prodigy and local drag legends!

Come in leather, come in lace, come with glitter on your face and dance the night away under the stars!

Tickets are $15 with all proceeds benefitting VA Pride. Proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test required for entry. Doors open at 6:00 pm.

Tickets and information available at vapride.org

Our Family Coalition focus group

Our Family Coalition logo

Our Family Coalition is conducting focus group interviews virtually and providing $25 gift cards as a thank you to participants.

OFC needs to know what you and your LGBTQ+ family most need to thrive in the months and years ahead. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at this link: ourfamily.org/give-back/2021-survey

For more information, email .

Meet Aurora Higgs, Diversity Richmond Program Director

Aurora Higgs

“To say we are excited to have Aurora on our team is an understatement.”
Cheezi Farmer, Board Chair

My name is Aurora Higgs (she/they) and I am a Black nonbinary femme from Richmond’s Southside. My vision for the role as Program Director is dynamic, visionary, and equity-based. This means that I plan on offering future-oriented work that amplifies the diverse voices of the Richmond metropolitan community through a race-informed equity lens. I want to uplift the needs and platforms of those communities most impacted by white supremacy and oppression. I have a rich background in creative programming and production, advocacy, equity, and organizational inclusion. I will draw on my expertise to honor the needs and wishes of the community.

Simply put: I am an artist-scholar who intends on reallocating resources to those most in need. I have a vested-interest in disrupting narratives of trauma in the community. Despite the oppression that faces our historically-marginalized communities, we refuse to be single stories of trauma. We deserve programming and resources that allow us to show-up in authentic ways that can also center our joy and all of the things we contribute to society as a whole. As a community center. I consider my job to uplift processes of capacity-building, radical joy, and storytelling to complement the traditional approaches to progress and liberation.

To my community reading this: Please see me as a resource, and let us know what kinds of affirming programs you’d like to see coming out of Diversity Richmond. You can best reach me via email at

Aurora received her BS in Business Marketing with a minor in French from VCU as well as her MEd in Leadership Studies, School of Education with a concentration in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education. She is currently obtaining her PhD at VCU in Media, Art and Text with a concentration in Transgender representation in media.

Diversity Thrift Voted #1!

Readers Choice Logo 2021

We're so proud we could just bust! Thanks to our dedicated Diversity Thrift employees and volunteers and your generous donations of the items we sell, we've been voted number one by STYLE WEEKLY readers. The Best Of Richmond issue arrives online and on newsstands Wednesday, August 18th.

Splitting the Difference a solo show by Vivian Chiu

Vivian Chiu

Please join us for the opening of Splitting the Difference, a solo show by Vivian Chiu. With an aptitude for problem solving and a sensitivity towards materials, Vivian creates sculptures that attempt to formalize coincidental happenings in repetitive labor intensive processes. She is currently teaching in the Craft/Material Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Snacks will be served and drinks available for purchase. Social distancing will be observed and masks are strongly encouraged.

Friday, Aug. 13, 7-9pm
Iridian Gallery at Diversity Richmond
1407 Sherwood Ave 23220
Regular gallery hours are 9 - 5 daily.

Follow the gallery on Instagram and facebook

Minority Vets Food Drive Huge Success

Minority Vets

In partnership with Black Pride RVA, VA Pride and Diversity Richmond, Minority Vets of America recently distributed about 3,000 pounds of food and hygiene supplies to the community. “We served mostly minority veterans and their families, with additional supplies being donated to several area shelters and food banks. We also distributed 10 shelter kits to veterans experiencing homelessness or living in their vehicles,” said Lindsay Church, Executive Director of Minority Veterans of America.

Throughout the weekend, about 25 volunteers supported the project by packing and distributing to the community.

Diversity Richmond is proud to fund Minority Vets of America as they coordinate such needed work.

Photo above: Minority Vets Richmond and national teams join forces for the Supply Drop event. Stepahanie Merlo, Jessica Norman, Rachael Merlo, Mary Tschirhart, Traci Babington, Jason Nuñez, Tanika Santos-MacSwain, Ashley Carothers, Lindsay Church

Photo below: Rachael Merlo, Stephanie Merlo (Richmond Chapter Lead), Jason Nuñez (back, Executive Assistant MVA), Cheezi Farmer (Black Pride RVA, Diversity Richmond), Larry Albright-Williams (Black Pride RVA), Lacette Cross (Black Pride RVA)

Minority Vets

DRAG BINGO returns August 26th with cold hard cash prizes!

Drag Bingo Aug 26 2021

$20 admission gets you 10 games with $50 jackpots plus a $500 jackpot! Over $1,000 in CASH prizes! Cash Only - ATM on premises. Proceeds benefit Diversity Richmond.

Celebrity Caller Grace Wetpants.
Performances by Stacy Max, Wette Midler, and Javon Love with music by DJ Statistics.

No Smoking. All-ages welcome. Bring the whole family!

Shakedown Eats food truck on site offering something for both meat eaters and vegetarian/vegans! You can order ahead here and pick up your dinner on the way in or walk up when you get here. Shakedown accepts cash, credit and venmo.

The Diversity Richmond event hall is located at 1407 Sherwood Avenue, RVA 23220. Please keep us in mind to host your next business conference, seminar, birthday, quinceañera, wedding, or other event. More info here.

Subcategories