Oh What A Night

Black and Bold 2019

February 15th was the hottest night in the City of Richmond, as hundreds gathered on the campus of the HBCU Virginia Union University for Diversity Richmond’s 3rd Annual Black and Bold Leadership Awards Ceremony.

Initiated in 2017, this award winning event was created to recognize the contributions and leadership of out and proud African-American LGBTQ community members. This year was no exception, as Diversity Richmond not only continued to expand recognition to the community’s allies, but also included LGBTQ representatives across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This year’s event celebrated a wide range of community members. From local youth activists to a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Honorees this year included:

Dr. Veronica Ayala-Sims
2nd Lieutenant Deuntay Diggs
Quincy Evans
Gregg Fordham
Jaide Hinds-Clarke
SWERV Magazine
Brooke Taylor
Congressman A. Donald McEachin
Legendary Drag Entertainer, Christmas Snow

If you are interested in joining the planning committee for the 4th Annual Black and Bold Leadership Awards, please contact Rodney Lofton at (804) 622-4646 ext. 203 or email Rodney.

Diversity Richmond Celebrates 2018

$30,000 in Grants Presented to Local Nonprofits

Grants 2018

It is another banner year for Diversity Richmond as we celebrate individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and accomplishments. From supporting adoption and foster care to transgender health services, public school LGBT student groups, combating LGBT homelessness and theatre productions, Diversity Richmond is making a difference.

Through our 2018 grants, we are investing $30,000 by supporting 13 local nonprofits that take dollars and change the lives of countless numbers of people. We also recognized the accomplishments of several people who have made significant contributions to our community.

Award Recipients:

Big Smooch Award, Stonewall Sports-Richmond
Guy J. Kinman, Jr. Leadership Award, The Honorable Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond
We Stand On Your Shoulders Award, Riqia Taylor
Diversity Embraces Award, Lisa Cumbey
President’s Philanthropy Award, Cassi Niemann and Hunter Rhoades
Big Smooch Award, Loretta Mountcastle, Vicki Jolena-Orthaus and Martha Ann Spruill

2018 Grant Awards:

Transgender Veterans Support Group
Twin Oaks Queer Gathering
Metropolitan Community Church
Richmond Triangle Players
Monument City Music
Health Brigade
A.C.T.S.
Virginia League of Planned Parenthood
Restoration Fellowship
Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
GLSEN
Virginia Anti-Violence Project
NATIONZ Foundation

World AIDS Day “RVAIDS”

RTP AIDS Panel

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day, Richmond Triangle Players’ Robert B. Moss Theater hosted “RVAIDS,” a documentary drama that incorporated various mediums to honor those infected and affected by HIV.
 
This moving and powerful performance was written by University of Richmond students in the course The AIDS Epidemic in Richmond: A Documentary Theater Project, taught by Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera, under the directorial guidance of Jose Joaquin Garcia.
 
In addition to the documentary drama, a community conversation was held featuring panelists Lisa Cumbey, Social Justice Activist (and primary caretaker) of artist J. Alan Cumbey, who died of AIDS in 1992, Karen Legato, Executive Director of Health Brigade, Zakia McKensey, Founder of Nationz Foundation and University of Richmond student, India Henderson.
 
The panel discussion was moderated by Rodney Lofton, Vice President and Deputy Director of Diversity Richmond.

First Baptist Church Welcomes LGBT for Community Conversation

First BaptistWhen we received the invitation from a pastor at Richmond’s First Baptist Church to participate in a congregational conversation about the LGBT community, he reassured us that it was in attempt “to have an honest dialogue”….for us not to fear because the invitation was coming from a Baptist Church.

The hour and a half discussion addressed many issues and was well received by the group of about 50 church members. “As I entered the room, I was met by a woman who confided that her child was gay and would not attend church because they had been told that God did not love them. This was causing her obvious pain,” shared Bill Harrison.

“It was emotional at times for all four of the panelists, I think. We each shared our own hurts, victories and those of our LGBT brothers and sisters. If someone has issues with our community it is usually based on religion and discussing those topics in a safe environment is when understanding takes place.”

It was a good day. While we were probably “preaching to the choir” as the majority were vocally understanding and supportive, hearts were touched, and stronger bonds were formed.

“What else can we do?” was asked by several members. “Where do we go from here?” Yes, it was a good day to be in church.

Diversity Richmond Loves Altria!

Altria paints

We have a longstanding relationship with the good people at Altria. The most recent project they completed for us was the painting of our classroom, a space that is used for free most every night by a LGBT organization. They even supplied the paint and brushes. And the room looks great!

Other Altria help that has been provided was the funding of two buses to the LGBT March On Washington and the painting of our beautiful murals on the exterior of our facility. Pictured is the happy Altria group after a day of hard work.

$30,000 now available through 2018 Grants Program

We are pleased to announce that through this year’s grants program, $30,000 is available to local LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly 501(c)3 nonprofits. What would your organization do with extra funds? Put on your thinking caps and let us hear how we can help you address our community’s unmet needs.

Deadline for applications is
Monday, November 5, 2018 by 4:00 P.M.

Click on this link to download the application

Every day at Diversity Richmond we strive to build a stronger community and our annual grants program is one way we pursue that goal. Since 1999 we have given about $1Million to local community organizations. This is made possible by Diversity Thrift proceeds, special event revenues and our financial donors who support our work.

Click on the link above to complete the application. We look forward to hearing from you.

To support Diversity Richmond, donate by credit card here or mail checks to Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220.

There should be a law requiring everyone to learn the Matthew Sheperd story

RTP Laramie 080w

The Richmond Triangle Players theater was packed to overflowing recently as we paid homage to the teenage boy who was brutally beaten and nailed to a fence because he was gay. While that happened 20 years ago, his story needs to be told now more than ever.

Present at RTP that morning was an array of political and community leaders, but the two people who could share the Matthew Sheperd story better than anyone were his parents, Judy and Dennis. The horrors of Matthew’s death, as shared by his mother, could easily happen to any number of people. Hate and prejudice knows no boundaries, be it race, religion, gender or any other means of difference. Since their son’s murder, the Sheperds have turned horror into healing by making hate crimes their lifelong campaign.

Richmond Triangle Players is soon producing “The Laramie Project,” the powerful production that tells Matthew’s story. It should be required for every LGBTQ person to attend. Our history is easy to forget, and our present state of affairs is also easy for some to ignore and that is a deadly thing.

Thank you Richmond Triangle Players. Your vision and leadership is an excellent example of the beauty and strength of our community. Bravo.

Diversity Reflections

Diversity Richmond hosts three weekly LGBTQ AA meetings.

Thursdays – 7:00 pm
Saturdays – 7:00 pm
Sundays: 11:30 am

The meetings are held in the Classroom (door entrance #2). For additional information, please visit www.AARichmond.org

Bisexual Support Group has moved

The Bisexual Support Group now meets at Metropolitan Community Church, 2501 Park Avenue, 23220. The discussion group is open to all people who are attracted to more than one gender. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month in the Celebration Hall classroom (located in the church’s basement) and run from 7:00– 8:30 P.M.

Second Annual Petersburg Pride

Petersburg Pride

Hurricane Florence couldn’t damper the excitement in the air for the 2nd Annual Petersburg Pride Festival, held Sunday, September 16th. With the threat of thunderstorms and torrential downpours, members of the LGBTQ community braved the weather to celebrate Petersburg’s observance of Pride.

Diversity Richmond was proud to be in attendance for this wonderful event, including both past and present board members Crystal Suber, Ayana Obika, Luise “Cheezi” Farmer and Ray Green. The weather may have interrupted the festivities a bit, but Pride was celebrated and enjoyed by all in attendance.

First Baptist Church welcomes LGBT for community conversation

First Baptist

When we received the invitation from a pastor at Richmond’s First Baptist Church to participate in a congregational conversation about the LGBT community, he reassured us that it was in attempt “to have an honest dialogue” … for us not to fear because the invitation was coming from a Baptist Church.

As I entered the room, I was met by a woman who confided that her son was gay and would not attend church because he was told that “God did not love him.” This was causing her obvious pain.

It was emotional at times for all four of the panelist, I think. We each shared our own hurts, victories and those of our LGBT brothers and sisters. If someone has issues with our community it is usually based on religion and discussing those topics in a safe environment is when understanding takes place.

It was a good day. While we were probably “preaching to the choir” as the majority were vocally understanding and supportive, hearts were touched, and stronger bonds were formed.

“What else can we do?” was asked by several members. “Where do we go from here?”

Yes, it was a good day to be in church.

Bill Harrison

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