Diversity Richmond Celebrates recognizes outstanding activism and community work
November 28th was a red letter day for the Diversity Richmond family. Governor Terry McAuliffe, Mayor Levar Stoney and VCU President, Dr. Michael Rao were among the many who celebrated the work of our organization. The Governor received the Schall-Townley Award for Extraordinary Personal Action for his steadfast support of the LGBT community. The recognition is named for Carol Schall and Mary Townley, two Richmond women who successfully challenged Virginia’s unfair marriage laws.
VCU’s Dr. Rao and the school’s Chief of Police, John Venuti, were recognized for making possible the planting of a transgender memorial tree at the VCU police headquarters on Broad Street. Included in that award was local activist Kenneth Decker, whose vision of the tree memorial became a reality. Kenneth also brought the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance annual event to Richmond.
Receiving the “We Stand on Your Shoulders Award” was Willie J. Dell, an early ally for the LGBT community and the first African American woman elected to Richmond’s City Council. Also receiving the award was local therapist Dr. Donnie Conner for his years of community support, and Richmond Triangle Players as they celebrated their 25th anniversary.
Richmond Mayor Stoney brought long-time activist Guy Kinman to the stage as we celebrated his 100th birthday. Mayor Stoney read a lengthy proclamation by the City, declaring Guy’s birthday as “Guy Kinman “ for the City of Richmond. Wow.
Other individuals and organizations recognized for their community support were: Joe and Emilia Sparatta of Heritage Restaurant, Altria Group, Capital Ale House, Chiptole, Raul Cantu of Nacho Mama’s, Virginia Pride, Lamar Advertising, Prime Timers of Central Virginia, AARP, Babe’s of Carytown, Club Colors and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
Pictured L to R: James Parrish of Equality Virginia; Carol Schall and Mary Townley; Gov. McAuliffe; Diversity Board Chair, Art Toth; and Mayor Levar Stoney