Diversity Richmond launches five year strategic plan

Responsible nonprofits stay in touch with their communities. The needs and expectations of the public change and nonprofits must keep up or will become obsolete.

As busy as this place is, it’s difficult to imagine Diversity Richmond becoming outdated, but we take our responsibilities seriously. For the past several months we have been laying the groundwork, setting priorities for our next five years and are now mapping the next steps.

Over the last few years our workload has grown tremendously. For example, through a grant from Altria, we are battling homelessness in the LGBTQ community. Through referrals of partner agencies we are helping people who are facing dire circumstances, only because they are LGBTQ.

We continually look for ways to help. None of this work could be done without community support. Thank you for your ongoing allegiance to bringing about a fuller community of justice.

DR Board of Directors

Diversity Richmond Board of Directors (L-R) Jean Segner, treasurer; Beth Marschak, past chair; Crystal Suber, vice chair; Art Toth, chair; Cheezi Farmer, secretary. (Back L-R) Michael-Birch Pierce, Ayana Obika, Keri Abrams, Robyn Deane, Ray Green*, Brian Harrison and Robyn Bentley.
*After several years of service, Ray Green recently retired from the board.

Diversity Richmond partners with University of Richmond and The Valentine

DR partners UR Valentine

Recording HIV/AIDS Richmond history

For several months, The Valentine has been working on an upcoming exhibit, Pandemic, addressing epidemics that have affected Richmonders. The project will include the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the impact that the disease had on our city. The HIV companion piece, HIV@RVA is being produced by the University of Richmond, through the leadership of Professor Laura Browder. The main voices of HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns during the height of the epidemic were of white gay men. People of color rarely saw their faces on posters and public service announcements or in any media form. As an end result, many people became infected because the lack of effective outreach. HIV@RVA will address the fact that the stories of people of color living with HIV-disease have gone untold, unnoticed and unappreciated. While much of the project work is being donated, Diversity Richmond donated $1,500 as start-up funds. “This is an incredibly important project,” stated Diversity Director, Bill Harrison. “We have a moral obligation to have a fuller story told and we are honored to play a role in this.”

Pictured: Diversity Richmond Deputy Director, Rodney Lofton presents a $1,500 check to University of Richmond professor and curator of HIV@RVA, Laura Browder for HIV/AIDS history project

Diversity Thrift donation lands in North Carolina museum

DT donation NC museum

While recently processing thrift store donations, store manager, Ava Entzinger came across a pocket-sized photograph album. Entitled “Grandma’s Favorites,” the owner’s name was inscribed along with the note,” These precious photos are my valued treasures.” The grandmother’s name, Reidsville, North Carolina address and phone number were listed in case the album was ever lost.
 
So we did a little research and located the address on-line. The home looks vacant, but it’s a charming two story house with lots of shrubs and trees. It was easy to picture the grandmother on the porch or working in her garden.

We contacted the Museum and Archives of Rockingham in Reidsville and they are elated to add the album to their collections.  The Museum’s Jordan Rossi wrote, “As a county museum we emphasize genealogy and frequently offer genealogy consultations. Photographs are especially meaningful to people researching their families. We are excited to add this.”

Connections like these are not unusual at Diversity Thrift, but with this particular donation, there is a happy ending as it will be safely preserved forever.

LGBT Southerners are not invisible

LGBT Institute Survey 2017

The LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights has partnered with Georgia State University to conduct an anonymous, volunteer research study of LGBTQ people in the South. Dozens of community and grassroots organizations and individuals are helping spread the word. Diversity Richmond is one of them, and we hope you’ll join us.

You can take the Survey here. We know the South is under attack most often when it comes to anti-LGBTQ legislation and physical violence, even though more LGBTQ people live in the South than anywhere else in the country. And, compared to all LGBT funding, the South received little for research.

This survey aims to help fill this gap, and ensure our stories are told. Solid research is an important tool that helps us tell our stories and dismantle discriminatory systems. The need for this survey has become even more urgent as LGBTQ people are being erased from policy and research: LGBTQ questions from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) and the upcoming 2020 United States Census are gone. This survey make clear: our lives and our experiences will not be erased. Please join Diversity Richmond in taking and promoting the survey.

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.

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