Diversity Richmond recognized by The Valentine with Richmond History Makers award

Richmond History Makers

Diversity Richmond is being honored on March 13 with the prestigious “Richmond History Makers “ award. The annual presentation, hosted by The Valentine, will be held at Virginia Union University, Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center.

Diversity is being recognized in the “Championing Social Justice” category. The organization’s 2017 celebration of Black LGBTQ History Month impressed the judges, who stated, “This nonprofit has evolved into a multifaceted organization while remaining a respected voice for the acceptance of sexual and gender minorities.”

For the past two years, Diversity Richmond partnered with the Black History and Cultural Center of Virginia to recognize the contributions of African American LGBTQ people and their allies. It is the only LGBTQ organization in the country to have such a partnership with a Black History Museum. It is also the only such organization in Virginia to celebrate LGBTQ Black History Month.

Rodney Lofton, Diversity Richmond Deputy Director, will accept the award.

“We are certainly honored and humbled,” shared Diversity Board Chair, Art Toth. “The entire month of recognitions was Rodney Lofton’s idea and it has become a very meaningful time for us all. I don’t think many objectives better define who we are striving to become than our Black History programs.”

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets

Please vote for your favorite thrift store!

Style Weekly’s annual Best of Richmond contest

It’s that time of year again when Style Weekly runs their annual Best of Richmond contest. There is a category for best thrift store, if one in particular comes to mind!


Capital One employee volunteers were a big help with huge Fan Video donation

Capital One Volunteers

The popular store, Fan Video, located on Strawberry Street, closed their doors a while back. They were most generous as they donated their entire film inventory to Diversity Thrift. We have hundreds of DVDs and VHS tapes of every genre. Comedies, classics, love stories, dramas, chick-flicks ~ we have it all. And we are practically giving them away at $1 each.

The good folks at Capital One took on the project of installing our video pop-up store to showcase this fantastic gift. Thank you for the generous contribution and help from both Fan Video and Capital One.

Ethnic Studies Conference

Ethnic StudiesVCU hosts the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Ethnic Studies which focuses on confronting white neo nationalism. There are more than 40 sessions and 200 presenters.

March 8 - 10; $10 (day rate)
Learn more

LGBTQ Children in Foster Care

LGBTQ children in foster care

Foster Care can be a difficult time in a child’s life. While many children in foster care face abuse or neglect, for LGBT-Q children this stress can be compounded with additional feelings of rejection. A recent study by the Human Rights Campaign noted that there is a higher percentage of LGBT-Q children in the foster care system relative to the LGBT-Q child population as a whole.

Virginia is one of only seven states that currently has foster care non-discrimination laws. These laws protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation but there is still work to be done to ensure that these LGBT-Q youth do not face more discrimination. Even when placed with a foster family, many LGBT-Q children can still face bullying, physical aggression from peers, harassment and trauma.

Foster parents play a key role in reducing discrimination and providing the necessary support to their potential foster child. Through education, exposure and training, these foster parents can obtain the tools to ensure their foster care children have the best possible future. Like any child in the foster care system, they need the support and respect of an adult who understands their situation.

Embrace TFC is working very hard to provide LGBT-Q youth a safe and stable home! This population is in great need of individuals like you. Regardless of your marital status or sexual orientation, you can be the difference for a child in your community facing a difficult challenge. Embrace TFC provides a team environment and works with potential foster parents from start to finish to ensure they are properly prepared.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about how you can help, please contact Erin Salum, Foster Parent Recruitment Coordinator by phone at 704-500-6256 or by email, .

Source: https://www.hrc.org/resources/lgbt-youth-in-the-foster-care-system

Diversity Celebrates Only Black History LGBTQ Project in Virginia

Black History Month Honorees

Pictured: Award recipients Officer Ellio? Anderson, The Reverend Lace?e Cross, Jelani Drew, Rebecca Keel, Dr. Lauranett Lee, The Honorable Cynthia Newbille, Schiavone McGee and “Wiggles.”

By Rodney Lofton

As I write this tribute to Diversity Richmond’s recognition of the Black LGBTQ History Month, I am reminded of the Virginia Slims tagline, “You’ve come along way, baby.”

On February 2, in partnership with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Diversity Richmond celebrated the kick-off of the 2nd Annual Black and Bold Awards, a program to celebrate the rich and vibrant contributions of Black LGBTQ community members. Nine honorees, ranging in ages, genders and identities were celebrated in the fields of activism, education, the arts, religion and social justice.

With a packed room of family, friends and supporters, the eight honorees, including two LGBTQ allies, were awarded one- of- a-kind medals, designed by Virginia Commonwealth University student, Angelique Scott. This year’s list of honorees included:

  • Officer Elliott Anderson, LGBTQ Liaison, Chesterfield County Police Department
  • The Reverend Lacette Cross
  • Jelani Drew
  • Rebecca Keel
  • Schiavone McGee
  • The Honorable Cynthia Newbille
  • “Wiggles”

In addition to the awards ceremony and recognition for their work in the community, the honorees and guests were treated to the unveiling of their individual portraits photographed by Harron Fells, with art direction by Fernando Rodriguez of ONE MAN DESIGN.

Diversity Richmond would like to thank our community partners: Dominion Energy, The Monument Group, Suzanne Makarem and Alan Hutson, Jr., for their sponsorship for this incredibly beautiful and moving event.

Please Say Thank you to Delegates Delores McQuinn and Betsy Carr

While the number of Republican and Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly who support us continues to grow, the only two subcommittee members who voted to deny LGBT discrimination in housing and employment were Delegates Delores McQuinn and Betsy Carr.

Following the vote to allow discrimination, Delegate McQuinn gave a most passionate speech about her life as an African American woman and also injustices that others have faced. She actually called out a former delegate who spoke on behalf of the Family Foundation’s objections to LGBT equality, telling him as a white man he knew nothing of discrimination. The room burst into applause twice while she was talking.

Please take a moment to thank both these women. or 698-1070. or 698-1069.

Thanks to gc2b Transitional Apparel

gc2b 40 Chest Binders

Diversity Richmond would like to thank gc2b Transitional Apparel for their very generous donation of 40 chest binders to the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Care Package Program. These chest binders will be helping trans-masculine individuals to give the appearance of a flatter chest.

If you are interested in receiving one of these packages (or any of the others that we have available) please contact Taylor Davis at

Diversity Thrift Thrives Under Leadership of Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas

By Mattie Coll

Neil Thomas has a two year anniversary as Diversity Thrift Senior Store Manager on March 1st.A United Kingdom native, Neil spent most of his life in Scotland before coming to Richmond. The father of two little ones, he has a third on the way this spring.

Neil’s typical day at Diversity begins with a “to-do list for what is going on.” He notes who is volunteering and how “we can be most productive.” His volunteers are different each day with some being folks who are fulfilling community service hours. “It depends on who is here, what are their strengths and the best way we can prepare for the work day,” he shared.

Diversity Thrift customers love the store’s fresh new look. The old carpet was replaced with polished concrete, the walls are painted and the windows are now exposed with light flooding in. Neil shared that he tried to “streamline the store so it is an easier place to work and nicer for customers, too.”

“I am always there to hear what people want to say about the store. During the day I float around and talk with people while they are shopping. I am there to help them with whatever they may need.”

The next time I am in Diversity Thrift I will say hello to Neil and I hope you will as well. He is warm and welcoming, with a charming Scottish accent and straight forward style. We offer a big congratulations to him on his March 1st anniversary.

Welcome Mattie Coll, New Volunteer Contributor

Mattie CollLet’s give a big Diversity Richmond hug to our new contributing writer, Mattie Coll. A Richmond native, Mattie is a retired writing instructor and a published poet and essay author. She can be reached at if you have a story idea.

Diversity Richmond Thanks You For Your Support!

Holiday Party

Pictured are board members, staff and a few volunteers who want to say thank you for another phenomenal year. This past year had challenges, but we met them with vigor and success. Your on-going support has made many good things happen. Happy New Year everybody!

Diversity Richmond plays such an important role in the community

Meet Up Funds

When Iridian Gallery volunteer Lisa Cumbey was telling Kate Magee about the gallery’s present show, “Beyond The Valley of Wigs In Space,” the idea of having the next Meet-Up event at Iridian immediately came to her mind. Kate and her spouse, Sierra Knight Magee have been coordinating the Meet-Up events since 2006. While most are socials, periodically they are fundraisers.

The holiday-themed party was a group effort. Several people including Richmond Lesbian Feminist volunteers, Iridian Gallery committee members, Diversity board member Ayana Obika and others joined forces in providing holiday treats and locating raffle prizes. Their efforts were successful with local realtor, Wanda Fears, Freckle Flower Farm, Knead Massage and Mongrel and Mean Bird donating gifts. The night included a little unexpected, but fun karaoke.

“Diversity Richmond plays such an important role in the community, to be able to support them and raise awareness is something we feel very strongly about,” shared Kate. “Plus bringing people in to see this extraordinary show was a real plus.”

Iridian volunteer Lora Beldon was most appreciative of their efforts. “The need to raise funds to support Diversity and Iridian Gallery is huge. We are the only art gallery in the south with our sole mission being to support LGBTQ artists. We are continually sharing our story to build awareness.”

To learn more about the group, which now has over 2,000 members, email Kate at Kmicoverage.com.