Virginia Pride fundraiser at the Crossroads Art Center

art center event

The recent Virginia Pride fundraiser hosted by the Crossroads Art Center was a smashing success. You can probably tell, even while wearing masks, that our volunteer bartenders were happy to be of service. Pictured are left to right, Holden Samuels, Justice Smith and Corey Martin. The Crossroads Art Center is located at 2016 Staples Mill Road.

EnCircle welcomes LGBTQ foster parents and teens

enCircle Logo COLOR RGB

May is Foster Care Awareness Month

By Margaret Nimmo Holland, Vice President of External Relations, enCircle

EnCircle is a 133-year-old nonprofit organization that is anything but old-fashioned and close-minded. Founded by a Lutheran pastor in 1888 as an orphanage, it has grown exponentially in recent years but often has operated below the radar. “We have been quietly helping children, adults, and families throughout Virginia for over a century, but people needing our help or wanting to support us didn’t always know we were here,” according to CEO Ray Ratke. The organization now supports and educates people with disabilities, provides mental health counseling, helps migrant youth reunite with family in the U.S., and supports foster youth and parents.

As the organization has expanded its footprint, it has also found a louder and clearer voice. In 2020 the organization’s Board of Directors changed its name from Lutheran Family Services of Virginia to EnCircle. “We want to communicate to everyone that our circle is wide, and all are included,” said Ratke. That open circle includes LGBTQ youth in foster care and a diverse group of foster parents.

The Treatment Foster Care program at enCircle has connected children who are in the custody of the Department of Social Services to loving homes for years. These days, the program is usually asked to match teenagers, sibling groups, or children with medical needs with foster parents. While these placements sometimes result in adoption, that is not necessarily the goal of Treatment Foster Care. It is designed to provide stability, support, and healing for children – and lead to permanent family connections, whether that is through adoption or return to the birth family or relatives.

EnCircle is always looking for additional foster parents who are willing to meet kids where they are, with staff supporting foster parents at every step of the journey. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, meaning there is a critical need for foster parents who are open and understanding. LGBTQ adults bring lived experience navigating issues of identity and orientation, and as foster parents they can be an incredible source of support for a teenager who has experienced rejection and trauma.

If you would like to learn more about enCircle or what is involved in becoming a Treatment Foster Parent, please visit You can also reach out directly to Program Manager Amy Barbour at .

Next time: Learn more about one enCircle Foster Parent’s experience supporting a teenager who is transgender and how that family is supported by enCircle’s staff.

Welcome Victoria Banks to Diversity Senior Leadership

Victoria Banks

We received over 90 applications for the Events Coordinator position and are pleased to announce that Victoria Banks was our first choice. And she said yes! Victoria brings much event planning and sales experience as since 2015, she has served in several event positions with Christopher Newport University, most recently being Event and Conference Coordinator.

While the pandemic canceled many of our planned events, sales are active again and Victoria is excited to meet everyone and welcome them to Diversity Richmond. Victoria’s contact is

Our 13,000 square foot Event Hall provides flexible space to accommodate meetings, conferences, trade shows, banquets, weddings, musical and theatrical performances and much more. The Event Hall features a full-service kitchen, a sophisticated audio system and adjoins our main parking lot. It is fully accessible for special needs visitors.

DR Event Halls

More Drive In Drag Fun!

Drive In Drag May 16 2021

Sun., May 16th 6 & 8pm

Your favorite queens tear it up with two Sunday evening shows! Get your tickets here and we will send you a parking assignment. See you there!

Community Accountability Committee & Feedback



“I am excited about serving on the committee,” shared Diversity Thrift employee, Ava Entzminger.

“I have been a part of the Diversity team for a long time and am fully invested in making a difference. If there are things we need to do differently, we must do them.”


The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened disparities in communities across our nation. Specifically, QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous People of Color) community members have faced the harshest realities during these many months all while being expected to persevere through the many forms of white supremacy, including the continued terror caused by some in institutions such as the police.

Diversity Richmond acknowledges that our role is central to combatting these disparities and empowering others. We must also acknowledge that our commitment has not yet met the expectations of QTBIPOC community members.

We have taken this moment to create a committee to hold ourselves accountable alongside community members. Diversity Richmond will use our platform to speak against all forms of hate, and we will also ensure that our words are supported with tangible actions that meet the needs of the communities we hope to serve.

Our committee will meet to discuss our internal and external commitment to racial justice through our operations, programs, policies, and personnel. As we continue this process, please feel free to contact us to learn more, express interest in participating, and give any feedback/critiques.

Evan Smith (they/them or he/him)
Program Coordinator

Love Rush by Andrew Sedgwick Guth through June 5th

Love Rush

The Iridian Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition featuring the work of Harrisburg, PA painter Andrew Sedgwick Guth. “Love Rush,” spanning all three Iridian exhibition spaces, features about 100 new works by Guth. Many were created during the last year of the pandemic, and some were intended for shows that never opened to the public.

Guth creates his own personal folklore, mixing traditional 19th century Pennsylvania embroidery techniques with his love of constellations, astrology, and Greek mythology. He recontextualizes images culled from digital connections and curated social media feeds, including queer men in intimate settings alongside imagery and customs which had not been constructed to include them.

Gallery hours are conveniently the same as Diversity Thrift located at 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm. Follow Iridian Gallery on Facebook and Instagram @iridiangallery for updates.

Casino may be a Diversity Richmond neighbor

Live Casino Hotel Richmond

One of the two finalists for the casino location is on Arthur Ashe Boulevard. If this is the selected location, the casino and Diversity Richmond will be neighbors. Live! Management reached out to us to have an opportunity to share their story and allow us to ask questions or express concerns. Their contact information is included in this article.

Please note, the inclusion of this information in our newsletter is not an endorsement of the Live! Casino proposal. It is simply a means of giving the opportunity for a possible new neighbor to introduce themselves and for you, our supporters, a chance to voice your opinions.

You may also want to share your thoughts with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney at 804-646-7970 or and Richmond City Council members at 804-646-2778 or

Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond – Project Overview

Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond offers the best value for the City of Richmond and for City residents. This project, located on the Movieland property adjacent to Scott’s Addition, will offer the highest economic value to the City, both in terms of good paying jobs and needed tax revenue. The Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond project has 50% Minority Ownership totaling a $180 million investment and will be contributing tens of millions of dollars each year to fund important City services.

The City faces a long list of funding needs, ranging from new schools to critical safety net programs for our most vulnerable residents to infrastructure needs. The casino will be the City’s biggest economic development project in recent memory. We cannot afford to miss out on this historic opportunity to maximize the value of the revenue this project will generate. This revenue can be used to help all Richmonders, especially our low-to-moderate income (LMI) populations who were struggling even before COVID hit and who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The economics behind the Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond project are important, but the value for City residents goes far beyond the dollars and cents impact. This project is about equity for the minority communities in our City, many of whom struggle with poverty on a daily basis. What does equity mean for these Richmonders? First and foremost, it means reasonable public transit access to jobs and workforce development opportunities. The Live! site offers convenient public transportation access and is directly adjacent to the Pulse corridor. This project is not on an ‘island’ and isolated from the reach of the City’s primary bus routes, on which so many of our LMI residents rely as a lifeline for getting to and from work. If a project brings thousands of new, good-paying jobs, what value are those jobs if the people you want to offer them to cannot easily access the jobs?

Equity takes shape in other important ways. The Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond project offers the highest proposed worker compensation package, averaging $60,000 in wages and benefits, with no hourly employee earning less than $15 an hour. This project also can bring more than jobs, it can bring career opportunities. The Cordish Companies, one of the country’s most experienced developers and operators of casino entertainment resort destinations, will develop and operate the Live! Richmond project. Their Live! brand is one of the top entertainment brands in the country. Cordish – with decades of experience at similar projects across the country – will bring its proven workforce development programs to Richmond. These are programs that not only prepare employees for that first job, but also equip them with the skills and training that they need to grow in their careers and move on to other opportunities. For those Richmonders struggling to find that first, or right, job, this isn’t just a paycheck for next month’s rent but a real chance for a lifetime of financial security.

Finally, The Cordish Companies and the Live! brand have been consistent supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, they have been a Presenting Sponsor of the Capital Pride Festival in the Nation’s Capital since 2015 and made cash contributions of $315,000 in sponsorship fees and more than $40,000 of in-kind contributions for festival’s Beverage Garden.

This project is important for Richmond and for the City’s future, and so that is why we want our leaders and residents to be in the best position to make fully-informed decisions. For more information about Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond, please visit

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic May 26

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

No appointment necessary - walk-ups welcome

Diversity Richmond in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health is proud to host a public COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday, May 26 at our facility at 1407 Sherwood Avenue in Richmond. The vaccination clinic will be held in our Event Hall, the entrance to which is off our parking lot closest to I95. Masks and social distancing while in our building are required.

This clinic will be offering the Moderna vaccine which will require a second dose for maximum efficacy. You will be given an appointment to return to Diversity Richmond for your second dose at the time your first dose is administered.

Simply walk-in or use the following links to register for a vaccine appointment through the Virginia Department of Health’s scheduling system:

Click here to register for a vaccine appointment on Wednesday, May 26 between 9:00am and 11:30am:

Click here to register for a vaccine appointment on Wednesday, May 26 between 1:00pm and 3:30pm:

Diversity Richmond does not control scheduling of appointments and has no further information about the Moderna vaccine, its efficacy or potential side effects. If you have questions about the vaccine, please visit

Sordid Lives to benefit Diversity Richmond

Sordid Lives

Diversity Richmond is honored to be the beneficiary of a special private screening of the LGBTQ classic film “Sordid Lives” on Saturday, May 8 at the Byrd Theatre. The film will be followed by a virtual, live Q & A with Ann Walker who plays LaVonda DuPree and the movie’s writer and director, Del Shores! The ticket includes the movie, free popcorn and soft drinks and the Q & A! Tickets are limited. Buy them here:

View trailer

There is support if you are feeling overwhelmed

sadness mental health

Reaching out is the healthy thing to do

The George Floyd trial. The Daunte Wright killing by a police officer. And right in our own backyards, the Windsor police handling of motorist, Army Officer Caron Nazario. These are stressful, agonizing times.

If you are feeling depressed, isolated or overcome, you are not alone. Reaching out for help is the healthy thing to do and free support is available. Two of our partner agencies offer both one-on-one or group support.

The Virginia Anti Violence Project offers support, be it a ZOOM group or one-on one. If you desire individual mental health services, call 804 925 9242 or email.

Nationz Foundation also facilitates group support. More information can be found on their website or by calling 804-716-7597.

Our community is filled with organizations of people who identify with how you are feeling and want to help. You are not alone. We are all in this together.

Kroger Grocery supports Diversity efforts to battle food insecurity

kroger check

Allison McGee of Kroger Grocery recently presented Diversity Richmond $2,500 in store gift certificates. The funds will be used to purchase food for our quarterly food drives as well as assistance for individuals who are in need. Over the last few months, we have provided a week’s supply of groceries to over 2,300 local families. Much of this is made possible by our community partners such as Kroger, a responsible corporate citizen indeed. Thank you, Kroger Grocery!

Pictured are Raul Cantu, Cheezi Farmer, Allison McGee, James Millner and Bill Harrison