Three more weeks: HINTERLAND Photography by Paige Critcher

Paige Critcher's photographic, four-year labor of love explores the idea of boundaries within a visual and psychological approach to landscape.

Now through Feb. 24
at the Iridian Gallery at Diversity Richmond
1407 Sherwood Ave., RVA 23220
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Hinterland images

Kevin Barry FurnitureAlso on view in the Iridian Gallery

Handmade wood furniture by Kevin Barry

Barry's work is built entirely of reclaimed White Oak, heart of Pine, Cherry and Maple. The artist has chosen to keep what are sometimes considered "imperfections" visible in his work, allowing knots, nail holes and saw marks to give a hint of the wood's previous life.

Community Champion: Zakia McKensey

Zakia McKenseyZakia McKensey, a native of Richmond, VA has worked tirelessly to advocate for the transgender community and those affected or effected by HIV/AIDS. Zakia started her career in HIV prevention in 2001 with Fan Free Clinic as the MSM (Men who Sleep with Men) coordinator. She worked there for close to ten years. During her time there she was one of the founding pioneers for the TG clinic that serves local transgender clients and assists them with hormone replacement therapy and overall health and wellness.

Her next chapter included becoming an employee with Richmond City Health District. There she served for six years as a Disease Intervention Specialist, helping to locate, diagnose and treat individuals who were exposed or at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

In December, 2015, she became the Transgender Community Advocate at the Virginia Anti-Violence Project. There she provides support and advocacy to LGBTQ survivors of domestic, dating and intimate partner violence, and helps to facilitate a healthy relationships curriculum. She is also the Executive Director and Founder of Nationz Foundation, a new nonprofit 501c3 organization that provides free HIV and Syphilis testing, as well as linkage to care services and a food pantry to assist those clients in need or who are having a rough time in life. She is an advocate for L.G.B.T.Q equality with special interest in the Transgender community. When she is not fighting the battle to erase stigma related to HIV, or advocating for survivors, she is also the C.E.O. of Nationz Pageantry System, which showcases talents of male entertainers and female impersonators. This effort promotes healthier lifestyle changes through entertainment and fashion.

Heritage Hosts Five-Course Dinner Fundraiser for Diversity Richmond

Heritage chefs

Popular Fan Restaurant Presenting Four Top Chefs for Concerting Palates

Supporting community causes is nothing new for Heritage owners, Emilia and Joe Sparatta. For example, over the last few years, they have raised money for pancreatic cancer and ALS research. On January 16, they will showcase the talents of three local well-known chefs who will join them supporting the work of Diversity Richmond.

"We were introduced to Diversity by an employee, Michael Verner and were really impressed with the breadth of services," shared Emilla. "The LGBTQ community has been great friends to us and we knew that now more than ever we needed to show our support and solidarity."

Recruiting the chefs who will join Joe in the kitchen was fun. "Over the last few years we have become friends with some of Richmond's top chefs and when the moon and stars align just right, they can all come together for a night like this. Each chef brings a unique style and perspective and was excited to work with Ardent's awesome beers to make this a fun and successful night."

"Richmond has been so supportive of us and we wanted the opportunity to give something back. These dinners have been a great way to get chefs together and strengthening our RVA community."

For reservations, call Heritage at 353-4060. The restaurant is located at 1627 West Main Street, 23220.

Pictured: The Chefs Who Are Working for Equality: Joe Aparatta, co-owner of Heritage with Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar and Butchery; Jason Lucy of Lucy's and Adam Hall of Saison will all be in the Heritage kitchen preparing samples of their award winning fares on January 16. For reservations, call Heritage at 353-4060.

Diversity Richmond Proud Financial Supporter of "One Love LGBT Families"

One Love Valentine opening

The opening of "One Love LGBT Families" at the Valentine on January 11 was a true moment in history for our community and our city. Through a collaborative effort of the Valentine, Richmond Region Tourism's OUTRva Campaign and photographer, Michael Simon, beautiful and moving photographs of local LGBT families captured the hearts of several hundred people who attended the gala.

Diversity Richmond is most proud to be a financial sponsor of the event, made possible through the proceeds of Diversity Thrift and Diversity Bingo. For more information on how the project came into being, check out the WRIR FM "Diversity Speaks" article in this newsletter.

One Love: LGBT Families
at The Valentine, 1015 E. Clay Street, Richmond, VA
Now through September 4, 2017
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Altria Group, Capital One, Virginia is for Lovers and Diversity Richmond.

Mayor-elect Levar Stoney "Richmonder of the Year"

Levar Stoney and Bill HarrisonBill Harrison one of twenty nominees

The second annual "Richmonder of The Year," sponsored by the Richmond Times Dispatch was recently held at the John Marshall Hotel. Mayor-elect Levar Stoney received the award. Diversity Richmond president Bill Harrison was one of twenty Richmonders nominated for the recognition. Pictured are the Mayor-elect and Bill at the ceremony.

AARP shred truck and fraud-watch workshop was big success

AARP shred truck

On Sat., Dec. 3, we had a steady stream of people carrying boxes of private papers here at Diversity Richmond -- thanks to AARP's provision for a free mobile shred service. That same morning, AARP also gave a fraud-watch workshop in the Classroom. Everyone learned a lot, and there were smiles all around because it feels so good to get rid of paper clutter.

AARP has been very generous to Diversity Richmond all year long providing refreshments for several of our programs, as well as tent sponsorship for us at the PRIDE festival. To learn more about how AARP might benefit you, check them out here.

Pictured Top: People lined up early to take advantage of AARP's free shred truck service. Bottom: AARP's Genea Luck facilitated the fraud watch workshop.

Community Champion: Bary Hausrath

Bary HausrathBary Hausrath is a founding member of the Virginia Equality Bar Association, an association of legal professionals committed to equality for LGBT Virginians. He is VEBA's secretary and treasurer, sits on the board of directors, and is the chairman of the website committee.  Bary is the principal organizer and one of the core volunteers for VEBA's traveling name and gender marker clinics. At the clinics, volunteer attorneys receive training and then help trans and gender nonconforming individuals correct their name and gender marker on identification documents. Bary has been a guest lecturer at both William and Mary Law School and University of Richmond School of Law on LGBT legal issues, helps train other lawyers through continuing legal education, serves on a working group to address gendered language in the Virginia Code, and routinely moderates or serves as a panelist on current topics.

Bary just began his third term as President and Board Chair for the Richmond Business Alliance, Richmond's local affiliate of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, the RBA was recognized by Diversity Richmond for its outstanding service to the LGBTQ community, a tradition of organizational service Bary hopes to institutionalize: in March of 2017, the RBA and other community organizations will host the first ever LGBT-centric job fair in the Richmond region here at Diversity Richmond.

One Love: LGBT Families

One Love The Valentine
One Love LGBT Families

By Meg Hughes, Curator of Archives, The Valentine

The Valentine's current photography exhibition asks visitors to consider what it means to be a family. Developed in collaboration with Richmond Region Tourism's OutRVA campaign and photographer Michael Simon, One Love: LGBT Families features contemporary photographic portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families from the Richmond metropolitan region.

The concept of family within the LGBT community has historically and, out of necessity, been flexible. After coming out, many LGBT individuals are ostracized from their family and friends. However, everyone needs love, and the LGBT community has been actively creating support networks for decades.

The legal landscape has changed dramatically for LGBT families since the early 2000s, when states began to pass legislation recognizing same-sex couples. Virginia legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, and the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision (2015) recognizes a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. LGBT families are now beginning to have greater access to the legal options available for major life events - getting married, having kids and preparing for the future.

One Love: LGBT Families is on view December 1, 2016-September 4, 2017, in the Valentine's Lower Level.

Opening Reception
Wed., Jan. 11, 2017, 6 - 8 PM
at The Valentine, 1015 E. Clay Street, Richmond, VA

Click to RSVP by January 4, or call (804) 649-0711 ext. 339
Limited parking available. Carpooling encouraged.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Altria Group, Capital One, Virginia is for Lovers and Diversity Richmond.

Diversity Thrift coats to warm homeless women this winter

DT coatsSt. Mark's Episcopal participating in CARITAS

When we heard that St. Mark's Episcopal needed clothing in their efforts to help the homeless women who would be spending winter nights in the church basement, we jumped to help. The church, along with several other local communities of faith, partner with CARITAS and house homeless people during the cold months. Diversity Thrift donated ten coats.

St. Marks, being the good people they are, also provides a warm, nutritional dinner, breakfast the following morning along with a packed lunch to go.

"Our community's support of Diversity Thrift enables us to do this," stated board chair, Art Toth. An anonymous donor also had the coats cleaned before they were donated to St. Marks.

Pictured: Diversity Richmond Program Coordinator, Rodney Lofton and Malinda Collier, Director of  Lay Ministry, St. Mark's

Lisa D. Cumbey recognized by Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

VCIC Lisa Cumbey

Humanitarian award presented for community contributions

For the last 53 years, the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has annually recognized community leaders for their work to bring about social justice by fighting discrimination through education and activism. This year, community member, Lisa Cumbey, was one of four people to receive the recognition.

VCIC works with schools, businesses and communities to achieve success by addressing prejudices in all forms. A nationally recognized organization, its progress  is cited often. For example, a middle school that VCIC partnered with, reported a 74% decrease in discipline referrals in just one year after the students and staff participated in VCIC programs.

Founding Principle of Propolis Design Group, Lisa's passion for social justice has been evident for years. Her work with the LGBT community spans back to the 1980s when she donated design and marketing services for pride festivals, AIDS fundraisers and organizations such as Fan Free Clinic and the Richmond Gay Pride Coalition. She has since donated services to many causes, including several videos for Equality Virginia's OUTstanding Virginians Awards, and branding for Richmond Lesbian Feminists. Lisa and Kim Farlow designed and executed our rebranding campaign. Lisa co-chairs our Iridian Gallery steering committee, serves on our Special Events and Fundraising committee and, with board member Robyn Bentley, produces our beautiful newsletter. It is estimated that, through her contributions of time and talent, that Lisa has donated over $1M in pro bono services to the nonprofit community.

Lisa is also the first individual recognized by VCIC for work in the LGBT community. Once again, history was made.

Pictured: VCIC chair Richard L. Thalhimer presents the 2016 Humanitarian Award to Lisa Cumbey

We never know what (or who) will come through the Diversity Thrift doors

carnival horse tableImagine the surprise of our truck drivers when they arrived at the home of one of our generous donors and this carnival carousel-like horse coffee table was awaiting pickup. We love what we do and obviously folks love us. Best thrift store in town, just ask anybody!

According to the donor, it is believed that the horse was used in the classic television show, "The Honeymooners," starring Jackie Gleason. We have no way of verifying that, but it's still fun to say that, "Rumor has it...."