ED Reflections

May newsletter graphic

Spring is springing with sunshine, rain, and lots of moments to connect with friends, family and loved ones. May brings us so many opportunities to celebrate - mothering figures, grads and beautiful weather for rooftop happy hours. As spring continues blossoming new beginnings and heartfelt celebrations, it’s the connections we share as a LGBTQ+ community with a beautiful tapestry of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and identities that matter most. 
At Diversity Richmond we believe in the transformative power of connection. As we slide into the Memorial day weekend, the unofficial launch to summer and the readiness for Pride month I am inviting you to connect with us at Diversity. Now you might be asking, Lacette, how can I connect with y’all? I’m so glad you asked!! Here’s three ways to connect with us:
Visit Iridian Gallery. We have 2 exciting exhibits currently showing that you absolutely do not want to miss!! Bonus points if you haven’t had a chance to fully take in our newish mural by Nico Cathcart that graces the entrance to the gallery.
Shop 'til you drop at Diversity Thrift for our Clothing Happy Hour happening every Tuesday from 4pm - 5pm. Clothing items are only $1!!!!
Become a monthly donor of Diversity Richmond programsWe are looking for 25 people to become monthly donors at the $25, $50 and $100 level. Every dollar received supports programs that connect our community to emergency assistance, pride events and meeting/event space. From our largest program VA Pride to our Emergency Assistance Fund and cultural celebrations like Black and Bold and Viva RVA, your monthly financial support helps us to remain a catalyst, a voice, a place and a resource that enriches and champions our diverse community. 
As many of us are intimately familiar with Diversity Richmond continues to be a hub for the LGBTQ+ community. Our events, support groups, and social gatherings serve as opportunities to forge meaningful connections and create lifelong friendships. So be sure to stay connected to us and our many social media outlets for Diversity Richmond, Diversity Thrift and VA Pride because I do not want you to miss out on all of the upcoming ways we can continue to connect as a community.
In the words of the late, great, incomparable Tina Turner, YOU, our Diversity supporter are SIMPLY THE BEST!!

ED Reflections

welcome spring
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” ~ Rumi
Monday, April 17th marked 6 months of my being Diversity’s Executive Director. I am still amazed with how fast time flies when you are doing work that truly makes a difference with amazing people committed to the same mission and connected by a common purpose to continue the legacy of service to the LGBTQ+ community in Central Virginia. 
I started walking on this path knowing I had to first talk with people. The more conversations I had with staff, board and Pride planning committee members the more I realized how amazingly fortunate our community is to have such dedicated people working together to support the work of Diversity Richmond. And as the conversations continue to expand to partners, donors, and allied supporters the more I am convinced that Diversity Richmond is a beloved institution with a bright future.
Marking this six month anniversary I turn my attention to three Cs
Beginning my time with people, process and priorities, I continue my first year making connections  to the people, partnerships and policies that are mission aligned and reflective of what our community needs most. We have plenty of ways to provide services to community members in need, advocate for protective policies, and create community events that bring people together.  
This work happens when a committed group of individuals work together to deepen culture  within the organization that is guided by collective values which support how we do the work for and with our community. I joined this team of people who are now becoming more like family and that is the kind of work culture we want to continue to foster.
Finally, I am committed to showing care in how we are blossoming into a fuller Diversity Richmond that is mission aligned and prepared to show up for our community through programs, resources and advocacy. I sincerely believe in the vital work we do through Diversity Thrift, Virginia Pride and our Event Space. The best way for us to continue to do this work with impact is to care for one another and for every person we have the privilege to serve through our store, event space and pride events.
Needless to say much has been accomplished in my first six months, but so much more is ahead of us on the way. I hope you will join me and the Diversity family on the path ahead as we live into being Central Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community hub that centers the LGBTQ+ community. 

ED Reflections

Womens History Month
It’s March y’all!! What I love most about this month are the Spring Equinox (aka official start to spring) and Women’s History Month. Both are times where we welcome the reflection of what has brought us together and what ways are we ready to grow. Plus we all know living in the Central Virginia region that March can hold all seasons in one week and sometimes even in one day.
Women’s History Month is a time we celebrate the amazing and impactful contributions of women to the ongoing work of making our communities and world a better place. As the first woman to lead Diversity Richmond we make history together. I am especially proud of the many women who have served on our board, been key community partners and long time donors to the work Diversity Richmond does for our community.  
We are especially grateful to the many ways women make Diversity Thrift one of the top thrift stores in the Richmond area. And when I say women, I mean ALL women - trans, cis, queens, and femmes! Our thrift store continues to be a jewel in our community for the amazing finds, our clothing voucher program and newly introduced Tuesday Happy Hour (4pm - 5pm) where all clothing is just $1.00.  
And while spring is beginning to spring we are collectively mourning the loss of our beloved friend John Jesse, known to many as Natasha Carrington. A queen who always uplifted her community, made us smile, sing, and dance and continuously found joyous ways to bring people together to make a difference. We will miss her dearly.
You are invited to attend the Celebration of Life for John Jesse being held here at Diversity Richmond on Thursday, April 13th, 7pm - 10pm. RSVP here.
Diversity is planting some seeds this spring to grow a fully redesigned website that unites all things Diversity Richmond - VA Pride, Diversity Thrift and Center. Will you help us water these seeds by participating in the survey in this newsletter? We value your feedback and want to hear your thoughts. Check it out below. 
computer screen progress pride flag
Quick Survey (we promise)
Your answers to these survey questions will be used to help our team organize and design our new website. This survey should take about 10 minutes or less to complete, and your responses will be completely anonymous. Complete the survey here.

ED Reflections 

100 day pic 800

“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” ~ Rumi

I started walking on the way as the Executive Director of Diversity Richmond on October 17th.  From that day until now, I have remained committed to working with the board, staff and community stakeholders who are dedicated to the vision and mission of this organization. I am excited to share highlights from my first 100 days in the role!  

In my first board meeting I laid out the top three goals for my first 100 days - People, Process, and Priorities


The most common advice offered to new executive leaders is to listen, and that is exactly what I did. I met with..

  • 16 board and staff
  • 5 community stakeholders 

Every conversation painted a picture of an organization beloved by board, staff and community stakeholders. I am energized by the deep commitment shared to move Diversity Richmond toward a bright future where all voices are heard and valued. 


My first 100 days afforded me plenty of opportunity to reflect and respond.  It was clear to me that…

  • there is a strong foundation to build upon 
  • there is a wellspring of ideas, excitement and support for Diversity Richmond

There is no doubt in my mind that the work started in my first 100 days will position us for an impactful future.  


I keep a (poorly drawn) graphical layout of the many parts of Diversity Richmond.  Staring at it helps me set priorities to…

  • hire and onboard new staff
  • build impactful relationships with key stakeholders

As time moves us all forward, we will mark the passing time with successes, challenges and celebrations that affirm our commitment to making Diversity Richmond the LGBTQ+ community center that centers the community through programs, resources and advocacy. 

I am particularly fortunate to lead such a dynamic, community treasure that will only continue to improve as we collectively build upon the strong foundation laid out in my first 100 days.

Please feel free to reach out to me at .

Hello and Happy New Year from Diversity Richmond!

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As I settle in to my duties as Diversity Richmond’s Executive Director, I’m still riding the wave of excitement and possibility entering a new year brings. 

To some of you, I will be a familiar face, having worked for over a decade in service to Richmond’s LGBTQ+ community. And yet, as Diversity’s Executive Director, I will be introducing myself in new ways that reflect Diversity’s renewed energy around our commitment to live into our mission.

In the months to come, you’ll be hearing more from me about both familiar and new opportunities to engage us in service to our community. It’s still early in my tenure (only 87 days), but I’m already thinking about the five Ps:

  • Uplift and empower our People (staff, board, community)
  • Engage with intentional Purpose
  • Deliver Programs that are responsive and relevant
  • Offered in a Place that is welcoming and safe
  • Sustained by a diverse Portfolio of support

If that feels like a lot, it is! Our goals are ambitious because our community deserves the best partner and advocate possible. In my short time here, I am inspired by such an amazing staff and dedicated board committed to Diversity Richmond being a voice, a catalyst, a space and a resource for the LGBTQ+ community of greater Richmond. 

I am proud to lead this organization, and I, we, all of us, are energized to answer this call.

So, I’ll say it again: Hello and Happy New Year from Diversity Richmond!

Please feel free to reach out to me at .

Diversity Richmond Hosts Latino Entrepreneurship Academy

Fifteen-week course through a partnership with City of Richmond

Through a partnership with the city of Richmond, Diversity Richmond is hosting a 15-week course, helping local Hispanic people learn about business management from ideas to implementation. The academy classes will guide participants who are small business owners or who hope to open businesses.

Staff from the city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement (OIRE) and the Office of Minority Business Development has been working for several months in planning the academy. “We are locating LGBTQ Latino business owners and financial experts to teach the classes,” shared Diversity Richmond board member, Fernando Rodriquez. “The courses filled quickly as there is such a need and we are very proud to lead these efforts.”

“This is just one more example of how Diversity Richmond has expanded our reach in the community,” stated Diversity Board Chair, Cheezi Farmer. “This is our first attempt at such a project, but we have full confidence that people will have a positive experience and gain new knowledge of how to build on their talents and make their dreams come true.”

“We are thrilled to receive the support from Diversity Richmond in the launch of the Academy and hope this is the beginning of a long-term partnership that will benefit both the Latino community and Diversity Richmond,” said, OIRE Manager Karla Almendarez-Ramos.

The academy is being funded through a grant from the Laughing Gull Foundation to support our outreach programs.

Thank you, AARP!

Thank you

AARP has been a longtime supporter of Diversity Richmond. Over the years, AARP has made numerous projects possible such as funding the cost of the huge tent we have used at PrideFest to sell Diversity Thrift treasures.

AARP has a vested interest in our community and we are proud to dedicate the edition of this newsletter to such an outstanding organization.

Aging can be problematic and quite often LGBTQ people face obstacles that others don’t. Reach out to your local AARP chapter for more information. No need to go this alone.

Make a Donation

Thank you, Virginia Pride

Dominion Energy Pride lights

We are most proud of Virginia Pride. Even with the unimaginable challenges that the pandemic produced, the Pride committee is implementing several exciting events. This newsletter features them.

It took our breath back in June when we watched the Dominion Energy headquarters be illuminated with our colors. Throughout the month, millions of interstate 95 travelers saw our colors, proudly welcoming them to our city. Our home.

This is but one example of the work of Virginia Pride. Having such a significant lighting installation was not done through a simple phone call. It required hours of work, brought about by a dedicated commitment to our community.

From coordinating the Pride flag being raised at city hall by our mayor, to gaining the attention of our governor, to developing media relationships, to recruiting drag queens to raise funds for our work, Virginia Pride sets a very high standard.

Sometimes words fail, but to you, we say, thank you.

Make a Donation

White People


Over the last few years, Diversity Richmond has made transgender and racial issues our two top priorities. We have covered much ground, but almost daily we are reminded of the work we must do.

Beginning next week, our board begins their equity and inclusion work. These discussions will be the major portion of our meetings for several months. Then we will decide how to further proceed. Staff trainings will also begin soon.

My eyes have been opened to much and not through reading articles, but by listening to people who have shared their stories. I work with some of those folks, a few serve on our board while others are people I have met through their association with Diversity.

Do I know it all? No, and I never will as I am a white man. And I am committed to learning more and challenging myself each day.

If anyone knows the pain of discrimination, it is LGBTQ people. Couple that with America’s history of how we have treated people of color… white people can only imagine…we, in no way, can begin to fully understand what it is like to be Black or Brown LGBTQ in America.

Diversity Richmond is dedicated to having difficult conversations about the issues. Through this, we will create a better organization that, in every move we make, we will strive to ensure that it successfully passes through the equity lens.

Are we perfect? Far from it? Have we made mistakes? Sure have. Are we working to be better? Indeed.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

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Black Pride RVA celebrates big time this weekend

Black Pride RVA July 2021

Us Giving Richmond Connections, the local nonprofit that encourages the well-being of Black LGBTQ people, is hosting an exciting weekend of educational seminars, entertainment and community building activities. Planners expect big crowds and have scheduled a variety of events that will offer a wide selection of activities for people to choose from.

The weekend begins tonight with the kick-off event, “Community Root Awards,” being held in the event hall of Diversity Richmond. Outstanding leaders in the Black LGBTQ community are being recognized. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased at blackpriderva.com

Saturday’s “Day of Purpose,” is a wellness event with health screenings, HIV/STI testing, and COVID-19 vaccinations, educational classes, entertainment, a variety of food trucks and over 100 vendors. The festival will take place at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road. Admission is free.

Saturday evening, the Black Pride Block Party will be held outside Richmond Triangle Players Theater, 1300 Altamont Avenue in Scott’s Addition from 7:30 till 11:00 P.M. The free event will include food, music and entertainment. A drag show will take place inside the theater. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

The weekend will conclude with a Pride in the Park community cookout in Bryan Park, 4308 Hermitage Road from 1:00 to 6:00 P.M. on Sunday.

For more information, visit blackpriderva.com/coming-soon

Your support helps us help people everyday

Give Out Day June 30, 2021

Within the last two weeks, we have spent over $2,000 helping six LGBTQ people facing homelessness by paying rent and also providing grocery gift certificates. The money for rent was made possible by you and the store cards were donated by Kroger.

Most every day, through Diversity Thrift, we help people who need clothing and shoes. Many are referred to us by social service mental health and recovery programs.

Over the last few months, we have provided a week’s supply of groceries to over 2,800 families.

With the pandemic ending, our building is once again in demand with play rehearsals, twelve-step programs and our transgender support groups returning.

Iridian Gallery volunteers brushed themselves off and had their first gallery opening in over a year last week. Iridian is one of the few galleries in the nation whose sole mission is to support LGBTQ artists. Diversity Richmond makes history again.

We could never do our work without your support. I hope you will donate today through the Give Out link below. When we help someone, you are helping them as well, by making the assistance possible.

Give Here!


 Treehouse Realty VA

Treehouse Realty RVA Makes $1,500 Give Out Day Match

Longtime supporters Wanda Fears and Brinlin Maki of Treehouse Realty RVA are making a $1,500 matching contribution to our Give Out Day campaign. This means that they will match donations up to $1,500!

She and her team have advertised on our web site for several years and every time they sell a home due to the ad, they have been most generous to Diversity.

Wanda is now retired, but remained active by acting as a consultant. “I still work closely with the LGBTQIA+ community” she shared. “My joy has always been helping folks plan to get their homes ready for market, or helping them figure out the cost of remodeling homes they buy. I love helping people get the equity out of their home and move up in the world of real estate.”

New president of Treehouse, Brinlin Maki, assumed the position with 14 years of mortgage business experience. “We love working with the LGBTQ community and also love giving back,” she said. Diversity Richmond is but one nonprofit that she supports.

Thank you to both Wanda and Brinlin. Our community is better because of you.


Give OUT Day is the only national day of giving for the LGBTQ community, raising $6+ million for 700+ LGBTQ organizations since 2013.

Here's how your monetary donation can help Diversity Richmond support the LGBTQ community:

$65 provides one night’s lodging for someone facing homelessness
$35 provides three meals
$75 covers the rental of a conference room for nonprofits to use
$1,500 allows a nonprofit to use our event hall for free
$200 provides a month of lawn care for Diversity Richmond
$50 purchases five much needed shopping baskets for Diversity Thrift
$50 allows us to donate 13 items of clothing to a person in need
$100 purchases a week’s supply of gloves and hand sanitizer for customers
$600 provides gas for the Diversity Thrift truck for one month
$60 sponsors our monthly WRIR radio segment “Diversity Richmond Speaks”
$95 funds our twice monthly newsletters
$250 sponsors two newsletters. Banner ad and two articles about your business
$8,758 pays our monthly mortgage
$5,800 pays a month of utilities
$25 provides six articles of clothing for someone in need
$10 provides two pair of shoes
$15 provides several toys for kids in need.

Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated!

Give Here!

We Lift People Up, With Your Help


Three times this past week we helped LGBTQ people in need. We paid the rent for two and provided food gift certificates for one.

Through Diversity Thrift we granted seven clothing vouchers for people participating in addiction recovery programs. We partner with several recovery programs who share that we are the only thrift store in town who will help.

We just conducted our first COVID vaccination clinic, once again donating our event hall to the Virginia Department of Health in an effort to save lives.

Our monthly WRIR FM program is now back on the air. For our next show, we interviewed a couple who is adopting a transgender daughter, working with enCircle. Please see the full article below.

These are but a few examples of the good work that your support makes possible. Diversity Richmond leads. We strive to every day to help build a more just community.

Please consider a donation to help us continue the good work.

Make a Donation