Genworth Financial employees lend hands to Diversity

Genworth Financial

"We are Passionate about giving back to the community."
~ Victoria Redd, Genworth Employee

Several Genworth Financial employees recently volunteered at Diversity Thrift, helping organize the hundreds of donated books for sale. "Genworth is passionate about giving back to the community," stated Victoria Redd. "Our LGBT Forum focuses directly on assisting our LGBTQ+ affiliates within the community. We love the mission and drive of Diversity Richmond. We were thrilled at the opportunity to provide what we hope will help better serve the supporters of Diversity Thrift."

Victoria also serves on our Special Events and Fundraising Committee. We could never make the difference we do in the community if not for the support of folks such as our friends at Genworth Financial. Thank you!

Pictured (L-R) Genworth's Susan McGavey, Victoria Redd, LaToya Hubbard and Joy Spain.

Richmond Is Top Finalist in British LGBT Award!

British LGBT Award

We Need Your Vote!

Yes, our own Richmond, Virginia is a Top Ten Destination Finalist in the British LGBT Awards and we need your vote. The competition is stiff as we are up against Amsterdam, Barcelona, Miami, New York, Orlando, Vancouver, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Stockholm.

Voting is easy and only takes a minute. Voting ends March 22. What a tribute this is to all the good work by the OutRVA team. Once again, we are making history!

Black and Bold: RVA's Unsung Black LGBTQ Gala a huge success

Black and Bold Gala

History was made on Feb. 3 as Diversity Richmond recognized 17 local African American activists for their outstanding work in the community. This was the first event of its type in Central Virginia, according to Diversity Board member Dr. Ravi Perry. "We wanted to raise the awareness of the many influences of our Black LGBTQ leadership. The community's responses have actually been a bit overwhelming."

Over 200 people crowded into the Diversity Richmond Event Hall and celebrated the accomplishments and contributions of the African American community. Receiving the Black and Bold Awards were Anderson Bertrand, Jenise "Justice" Brown, CasSandra Calin, Patricia Corbett, The Rev. E. Taylor Doctor, Austin Higgs, Michael O. Holman, Micky Alexander Jordan, Eric S. King, Marquis D. Mapp, Zakia McKensey, Chevelle Moss-Savage,  Sean M. Smith, Terrie Pendleton and Paris Fitzgerald Prince. Ryland Roane, Jr. and Jacqui B. Singleton were posthumously recognized.

Pictured: Diversity Richmond Board Member Dr. Ravi Perry, Paris Prince, Austin Higgs, and Eric King

More Black and Bold Events in February:

Black Trans 101 Discussion
Tue., Feb. 21 * 7 PM
Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA

Powerful S.I.S.T.A.: Celebrating LGBTQ Women of Color
Tue., Feb. 28 * 7PM
Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA

Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rodney Lofton, Program Coordinator at Diversity Richmond.

Strangeways Brewing salutes Diversity Richmond!

Thank you to Strangeways Brewing

Strangeways Brewing

Strangeways Brewing recently celebrated Diversity Richmond by donating a percentage of their nightly sales to our good cause. Not only did they raise much needed funds to support our programs, the crowd had a great time in the process. Check them out here.

Pictured: Strangeways Hospitality and Events Manager, Erin Brunner presents a $400 check to Diversity Richmond board member Robyn Bentley. Joining in are (from left, back row) Diversity volunteer, Romilda Smith; volunteer Karla Bray; Strangeways employees Melissa Randolph and Holly Sowers. (front left) Strangeways employee Tonie Stephens, Diversity Richmond board member Brian Harrison, and volunteers Lisa Cumbey and Victoria Redd.

SunTrust once again helps Diversity Richmond

SunTrust volunteers

SunTrust is a good friend of Diversity Richmond. Among other things, the bank sponsored our huge party, The Big OH! last year. Five SunTrust employees lent us twelve helping hands recently by volunteering in Diversity Thrift.

Pictured are (L to R) Diversity Board Member Brian Harrison, and fellow SunTrust employees Heather Christenson, Priscilla Fredlund, Rebecca Flowers and Lucy Hentges. Thanks everybody. Much appreciated!

First Diversity open mic night brings big talent

Jan Hampton gave us big smilesWhen Dee Graham pulled together an open mic night, she was nervous that no one would attend. She knew there was more than enough talent in the community to support the event, but would they come? Her fears were relieved last Sunday night as the talent rolled in to perform.

Folks shared poems, stories and songs they had written, along with musical numbers made famous by others. Some were a bit nervous while others appeared to be at home on the stage. It was a good night. It did what Diversity Richmond works to do every day. It built community. It bridged people. It inspired.

We are planning to do this again, so if you'd like to participate or have questions, email Dee.

Pictured: Jan Hampton gave us big smiles!

Dr. Yetty Shobo to lead Diversity Richmond long range planning

Yetty ShoboLocal consultant Dr. Yetty Shobo has been hired by Diversity Richmond to lead the organization as it maps out a five-year strategic plan. The vote by the organization's board was unanimous after meeting with Dr. Yetty and hearing her suggestions as to how to proceed in developing the plan.

Her company, Overbrook Consulting, was established in 2014 and provides a variety of strategic planning, board facilitation and statistical and evaluation services to the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Dr. Shobo has a Doctorate in Human Science, a Master's in Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor's in Mathematics and Statistics. She has over two decades of experience designing strategic plans and facilitating discussions among staff, board members, conducting focus groups, grant writing and survey design. She has presented at numerous national conferences on issues such as education, the workforce and substance abuse and relationships.

To share thoughts about what Diversity Richmond does well and also how the organization can improve, email Dr. Shobo. All comments will be held in confidence. To mail thoughts: 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond 23220. To maintain confidentiality, please note "Let's Get Rolling" on the envelope.

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
Follow us on facebook

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.