Think about becoming a Foster Parent

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For several years Diversity Richmond has partnered with Jewish Family Services in connecting LGBTQ people who are interested in adopting or becoming a foster parent.

COVID-19 has impacted our lives for the last five months, and you might be wondering what you can do to help. If you have room in your heart and home, we ask you to consider becoming a foster parent. In 2019, more than 5,500 children in foster care in the state of Virginia needed a loving home until they can return to their own, and 1,700 children were waiting to find their forever family through adoption. The isolation and upheaval of COVID-19 has been a traumatic experience for these children, which creates an even greater need for loving families to embrace them.

JFS Connecting Hearts’ goal is to recruit prospective foster or adoptive parents, and both LGBT+ couples and individuals are welcome! If you are interested in beginning the journey to becoming a foster or adoptive parent, we will connect you to training through our partner agencies and you can find support in our education peer support group, the Family Alliance.

The Heart Gallery shares the stories and photos of children and youth in foster care awaiting adoption right now. We invite you to visit the Heart Gallery on our new website: www.jfsrichmond.org/connecting-hearts/#the-heart-gallery. Please contact the JFS Connecting Hearts Program Manager, Denise Wise-David, at to discuss how you can change the life of a child in foster care.

Drive-in Drag Shows is Back! August 23rd

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Drive-in Drag Shows - August 23rd 2020 

We're back ! Join us in the parking lot for the summer's hottest show! We have a new way of ordering tickets! Simply go to the square site in the link below, add you tickets and any other items to your cart, and check out securely. We will email you with a parking assignment. 

Consider adding a donation to help Diversity Richmond continue bringing you the great programming you know and love. 

 

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Two Good Guys

Raul and Fernando

Raul Cantu and Fernando Rodriguez Connecting Diversity with Hispanic Community

Both are creative, imaginative, energetic and dedicated as individuals, so combine the two and know that the project will be a winner, to say the least.

Last year, volunteer Fernando’s idea of a Hispanic music festival, “Viva RVA!” drew hundreds of people as we celebrated culture, food and music. The weather was perfect and the day could have not been better. Plans were set for September 2020. Then the pandemic hit.

A few weeks ago, Fernando made us aware of the enormous need for food in the local Hispanic communities. While all businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, the hospitality industry has been hard hit. Many Hispanic people work as housekeeping, food service and landscaping.
So, Fernando and our Events Coordinator, Raul Cantu, announced big plans of a food drive that would help 500 families by supplying a week’s supply of groceries. Once the plan was announced, the community responded. Diaz Foods sold us considerable inventory at cost along with a donation of goods. Feed More contributed 8,000 pounds of locally grown fresh vegetables. Several other companies made significant financial contributions as did community members.

On July 28th, volunteers and staff placed hundreds of bags of nourishment in the cars of people who needed food. “It was a very humbling experience” shared Board Chair, Cheezie Farmer. “Cars were lined down the street an hour before we began. I am very proud of Diversity Richmond. We helped lots of people.”

Another food drive is being scheduled for September.

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Diversity Richmond staff, board members, and volunteers unload and sort groceries to bag.

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Our bags of groceries and socially distanced outdoor distribution line.

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Pictured Above: Fernando Rodriguez, Haily Rose, Mimi Bishop, and Christine Wener

Not My Navy

Not My Navy

This Queer Intersections episode features Anah Johnson who came to Richmond after years of serving in the Navy and living abroad in Europe. Anah is an Afro-Indigenous Trans Two-Spirited woman. She shares her experiences in the military as she navigated the growth of her identities in an oppressive environment. Anah is a trailblazer and has persevered through many obstacles to find joy in the world around her.

View on YouTube

Queer Intersections (formerly Front Porch) is a Diversity Richmond podcast focusing on the perspectives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people of color around throughout Virginia. The show is hosted by VCU School of Social Work Ph.D. candidate Keith Watts and Diversity Richmond Program Coordinator Evan Smith. The show aims to give a platform to individuals whose identities and voices are often erased.

Victor Steed "V" On Working at Diversity Richmond

Vee

Working at Diversity Richmond has given me the opportunity to give back to communities that need it the most, which has always been very important to me. As a queer Black person who has experienced homelessness and food insecurity, working in an environment with other LGBT+ people and getting involved in the community has been a dream.

Most recently, the food drive we held for Viva! RVA was a spectacular way to show our support for communities hit hard by COVID-19. Seeing the smiling faces of thankful people as they received their food was incredible and I’m really happy to have been a part of it. It’s a lot of hard work and long hours working in the event hall, but getting to meet more people working in Richmond’s non-profit community and helping to supply the needs for low-income families/individuals is definitely worth it. I can’t wait to see what Diversity does for other communities in Richmond in the near future. I’ll definitely be lending a hand.

Diversity Richmond Board statements

Luise

Dear Friends:

I am honored and excited to have been elected as Board Chair of Diversity Richmond. I look forward to continuing to work together with Diversity’s Board of Directors during this critical moment in time as we support the Black Lives Matter Movement, confront police violence, anti-trans violence, LGBTQIA+ discrimination and a pandemic.

Diversity Richmond’s work is crucial to our community. I look forward to us doing the work together and making a continuing impact on LGBTQIA+ lives around Richmond VA and beyond.

Cheezi, Diversity Richmond Board Chair

Longtime activist, Luise “Cheezi” Farmer, was recently elected Board Chair of Diversity Richmond. Cheezie is the first African American to hold the position in the organization’s 21 year history.


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Robyn Bentley, Diversity Richmond Board Vice Chair

In one of his final television appearances, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who marched in 1965 with voting rights protesters on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, shared his reaction to activists and protesters who marched across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody.

"I said to myself, seeing like I've been down this road before, that I've been so moved and so inspired by hundreds and thousands of people — Black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American, men, women, people of different backgrounds, from all over America and from around the world. It gives me hope that as a nation and as a people, we're going to get there, we're going to make it. We're going to survive and there will be no turning back."

We have a lot of work ahead of us. We also have a lot of people to do the work. And many more will be joining in. Together we are going to get there.

John Lewis passed away on Friday following a battle with cancer. He was 80.


 Young Michael

Michael Young, Diversity Richmond Treasurer

I was forwarded this by another ally recently – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hard to imagine we are still struggling with the same issues over 50 years later. It is time to recommit ourselves to treating each other with love and respect.

Diversity Richmond Sponsors Food Drive

VivaRVA Food Drive

Goal is to help 500 families

The Hispanic community has been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic. The hospitality industry is but one example with servers, housekeeping staff, maintenance workers, dishwashers, chefs, bartenders and cooks losing their jobs. Landscaping businesses are another example as many companies can no longer afford those services. Also, many Hispanic children normally receive breakfast and lunch through public school programs, which, at the moment, do not exist. In addition, Hispanics/Latinos of low socioeconomic status may be less likely to seek testing if they are uninsured or lack access to paid sick leave.

In response to this crisis, we are sponsoring Viva RVA Food Drive. Our community partner, Diaz Foods, is selling us several pallets of food at cost. Add that to the $2,500 that we have raised and we can provide a week’s groceries to 200 local families. Our goal is 500.

You may remember last summer’s, Hispanic Music Festival coordinated by volunteer Fernando Rodriquez. The festival was our first major attempt to better connect with our local Hispanic communities. With the festival not being held this year, we searched for another way to bridge the gaps between Diversity Richmond and local Latinx people.
“We grab every chance we can to help and no better example than our food drive,” said Executive Director, Bill Harrison. “The thought of anyone, much less a child, going to bed hungry is not acceptable.”

Harrison added that funds from the Laughing Gull Foundation are supporting the drive. Laughing Gull provided a three-year grant in 2018 to fund work addressing racial equity and inclusion. The money has been used in support of the organization’s annual event, “Black and Bold,” when local Black LGBTQ leadership is recognized. It also sponsored last year’s Hispanic Music Festival. Richmond’s Genesis Consulting is also donating $1,000.

Can you help? Monetary donations maybe made on-line at www.DiversityRichmond.org or by mailing a check to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, 23220. We also need volunteers to bag the groceries and help share them with recipients. For more information, contact Raul Cantu at

Diversity Drag Shows Really Big Hit!

drag shows drive in

When Diversity Richmond board member, Michael-Birch Pierce approached us with the idea of a drive -in drag show, we got excited, but we really had no idea what a hit the shows would be. Every production thus far has been a sellout.

Attendees pay $10.00 to reserve a parking space in the Diversity parking lot. Folks bring their own food and beverages or support one of the food trucks on the premises. Then they sit back and enjoy the talents and antics of a number of performers who do not allow the pandemic to in any way, quell their enthusiasm for being on stage.

Diversity Richmond host the shows for several reasons according to the organization’s Event Coordinator, Raul Cantu. “The shows give people an enjoyable, safe environment to have fun. It is also a way to help support our entertainers whose employment has been drastically impacted by the pandemic.”

Cantu shared that the shows have averaged about $1,500 in gratuities which are divided by the performers. “The shows are also well received as attendees not only have a great time; they love supporting the performers.”

The reviews have all been positive. “It is so nice to forget all the craziness for just a little bit and enjoy the show with a socially distanced crowd. We will 100% be back!” shared Heather Clarke of The Hive Weddings.

The performances have become so popular that Pierce and Cantu are now booking two shows per night. The next shows are Sunday, July 26th at 6:00 and 8:00 P.M. See the graphic below for details. Please email Raul with questions at

Photo: Just a few of the entertainers who have performed at our Drive-In Drag Shows

Queer Intersections

Queer Intersections Evan Keith

Quan McLaurin resigned from his position as the Director of Diversity Retention at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. In his public resignation letter he shared: "It is morally unconscionable for me, as Director of Diversity Retention, to ask students of color to stay at a university and within a space that not only does not value their well-being and lives, but actually perpetuates very real and damaging racial trauma against trauma, and then 'gaslights' and silences them by grossly appropriating scripture."

This episode focuses on Quan's experiences as a student and staff member at Liberty, his work to create affirming spaces for Black and LGBTQ+ students, and the LU Underground Railroad which raises money for employees of color who want to leave but can't afford to.
Support Quan's efforts here.

Queer Intersections (formerly Front Porch) is a Diversity Richmond podcast focusing on the perspectives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people of color around throughout Virginia. The show is hosted by VCU School of Social Work Ph.D. candidate Keith Watts and Diversity Richmond Program Coordinator Evan Smith. The show aims to give a platform to individuals whose identities and voices are often erased.

Listen to Diversity Richmond's QUEER INTERSECTIONS

Greater Richmond LGBTQIA+ Community Needs Assessment

LGBTQIA needs asessment

Greater Richmond LGBTQIA+ Community Survey

Are you and LGBTQ+ person 18 or older living in the greater Richmond area?

You are invited to participate in a survey about the experiences of members of the LGBTQIA+ community living in or around Richmond and the perception of the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. The study is being conducted to inform the development and targeting of potential requests for support for services, programs and resources for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Learn more and access the survey here

Greater Richmond LGBTQIA+ Community Needs Assessment

You are invited to participate in a research study about the experiences of members of the LGBTQIA+ community living in or around Richmond and the perception of the needs of the LGBTQ community. The study is being conducted to inform the development and targeting of potential requests for support for services, programs and resources for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Be part of a focus group of Latinx, African American, older (55+), youth, or transgender members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Richmond area. In this study, you will go to a group meeting, lasting about one hour. In the meeting, you will be in a group with 5 to 12 other members of the LGBTQ+ community. You will be asked to talk about things like experiences in the community, the kinds of support that you receive, needs that you see for LGBTQIA+ community and places where you feel safe. For more information on how to participate here.

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