- Published: Monday, February 28 2022
- Written by Robyn Bentley
When you mix passion with perseverance and a whole lot of pride, you’ll end up with Alvion Arnell Davenport. A Richmond native and member of the Virginia Pride Board, her hands are always in the pot to help mix the winning recipe for equality. Whether it's mentoring the newcomers in the drag profession or pounding the pavement for Black rights and justice, she is always all hands on deck.
For nearly 20 years, she has been a leading force in the RVA community and has won almost two dozen titles locally and nationally. The first to win the National titles of Wessland, North America and Black Universe from Virginia and the first to place in the top 5 finalists at Miss Continental Plus in the systems almost 40 years. In the summer of 2021, she appeared on the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch and became a recipient of the 2021 Community Roots award for Advocacy from the Black Pride RVA board for her works during the Black Lives Matter protest. Raising over $15,000 after starting with just $200.00 from her own pockets. Alvion aspires to one day open her own funeral establishment and plans to continue her advocacy for our community with passion, perseverance, and pride.
Bryan Price is the Owner and Founder of GTP Wellness Consulting, L.L.C. GTP Wellness Consulting takes a holistic approach to physical, mental, and societal wellness through trainings, mentorships, and coaching. Bryan also works with the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement with the University of Virginia Cancer Center and the Cancer Center without Walls. He is a native of Danville, Virginia and currently residing in South Boston, Virginia, with his husband, Craig Jones.
Bryan studied Statistics, Mathematics and Computer Science at Virginia Tech and his passion is fitness and advocating healthy living in his community. He is a board member of The Health Collaborative, Regional Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Southwest Advisory Board, Virginia Rural Health Association, Community Improvement Council, Inc.-Danville Head Start, Equality Virginia and the Virginia Department of Health’s Community HIV Planning Group. Bryan is a graduate of the 2018 Class of LEAD Virginia. He has been selected by the National Rural Health Association as a member of the 2021 Rural Health Fellows program and their Rural Health Equity Council and has also been recently appointed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to serve on the LGBTQ+ Advisory Council.
Chaz Antoine Barracks, Ph.D. is a Blackademic artist-scholar, podcaster, filmmaker, and faculty fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication in Philadelphia, PA. His scholarly practice is grounded in interdisciplinary studies that pull together performance, Black histories, communication, and film & digital humanities to utilize media tools to make knowledge production more accessible and centered around Black cultural production. Raised by flamboyant and always loud Jamaican women who settled in Connecticut, he has been engaged in Richmond since 2009, working and volunteering in Black youth programs and public arts, through hosting critical storytelling workshops and building educational initiatives such as the Blackademic Library at Six Points Innovation Center. He’s been a lead in curating community exhibitions and media projects that involved numerous Richmond gems such as Afrikana Film Festival, The Valentine Museum, and the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.
Chaz wrote and directed the film Everyday Black Matter, which launched from his emerging media hustle Black Matter Productions, LLC. Black Matter meshes his intellectual ambitions to blur the lines between academia, public arts, and media production rooted in Black queer representations of joy, nuance, and recognizing the intellectual contributions of those who create alternative worlds to thrive by any means necessary. As an artist, he continues to experiment with what can be learned from Black joy as a form of resistance. Chaz hosts the Black Matter podcast, which is a social platform by and for Black/PoC queers and femmes and continues to use his work in the classroom or digital space to plan, plot, and practice Black queer freedom.
Learn more about Dr. Chaz at BlackMatter.space.
Jordin Cotman (She/Her) is the Trans Health Case Manager and Community Advocate for Health Brigade. Jordin is from Charles City, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Norfolk State University in 2014. She has been a huge advocate for mental health awareness, Black Lives Matter and Trans Rights over the last ten years by facilitating workshops, attending protests, and more. Jordin is known for her “sassy” demeanor which has helped her be a great asset in her community– from her work public speaking to going out in the community and advocating for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. When she is not working hard for her community, you can find her solo traveling, hanging with friends and family, watching podcasts, or listening to Lil ’Kim. The quote that has helped her overcome the trials and tribulations of life is “Nobody but you is responsible for your own life”. Jordin's goal is to become a world-renowned podcaster and vlogger and will be launching in May, so get ready because this is only the beginning.
Sam Patterson is currently employed with the City of Richmond as the Richmond City Council Liaison for the East End 7th District for a total of 20 years now. This position allows him to provide advice and support for the individual Council Member. In addition to those duties, he serves as liaisons to other City departments, the public, outside agencies, consultants, attorneys, and professional associations. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology/Exceptional Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, Virginia Union and taught Exceptional Education for 12 years with Richmond Public Schools. Before teaching, he worked for the Richmond Police Department for 11 years.
In addition to being a Board member for BlackPrideRVA, his other community affiliations include being a Board Member for Commonwealth Catholic Charities-Human Services Foundation Board, President of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Dominion Energy Christmas Parade Board Member and Co-Logistics Chair.
Also, as an active participant in numerous community organizations designed to nurture and challenge young African American males, Sam still serves as the Drill Master/Set Designer and logistic coordinator for the Pi Rho Omega AKA Beautillion (since 1995) and is a First Tenor with the Celebration Male Chorus, Special Events Coordinator for the Richmond Slave Trail and Annual the East End Music Festival. Sam also was the founder and director of Richmond’s Martin Luther King, Jr. East Coast JROTC Drill Team Competition from 1995-2007.
As an active member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, he currently serves on numerous committees and is a member of the Knights Columbus where he has served as District Deputy, Grand Knight, and Faithful Navigator.
Shauntelle Hammonds is the Executive Director and cofounder of Peter's Place RVA. She is a certified substance abuse counselor, certified peer recovery support specialist, certified peer support specialist trainer, and REVIVE! master trainer. Shauntelle currently resides on the board of directors for Virginia Association of Recovery Residents, and Richmond behavioral Health Authority. She previously held a board position with The Association of Recovery in Higher Education. Shauntelle self identifies as a person in recovery and is passionate about advocating for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming individuals in or seeking recovery support.
Troy Kershaw is a public health and social services professional, Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, health equity, social justice and LGBTQIA+ advocate, national cohort of the Human Rights Campaign (LGBTQ HBCU Leadership), a photographer with several years of experience working alongside other public health and social services professionals of many community-based health organizations.
Troy’s concentrates are on community, social, and prevention services. His due diligence has been to assist with underserved and marginalized individuals' unique needs while simultaneously creating equity within our community. He is responsible for assisting with strategies and procedures. During his life's work, the pleasure of aligning with his heart's posture has greeted him with such delight and satisfaction. Troy is a powerful force in the workplace and uses his assertive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. Troy is inspired daily by his partner, family, friends, and two Guardian Angels, the late Betty Ann Lacy and Marcus K. Perry, whom he loved dearly. Troy likes to relax, watch movies, and have a good time with his support system in his free time.
Recognized by Virginia Business as an Impact Maker and one of the 'Top 100 People to Meet in 2022," Traci is one of Virginia’s leading public administrators. With expertise in intergovernmental, external, and community affairs, she has led initiatives at the intersection of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion—informing issues ranging from voting rights to clemency. Most recently, Traci served as the Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a role she was re-appointed to in December 2017 by Governor Ralph S. Northam following an initial appointment by Governor Terence R. McAuliffe.
In recent years, she has been at the forefront of some of the Commonwealth's most progressive policy initiatives including the appointment of the nation's first-ever cabinet-level Chief Diversity Officer; historic restoration of rights and clemency efforts; the reimagining of the Governor's Office of Constituent Services--establishing the first-ever community outreach and engagement team allowing the administration to better connect to and serve Virginia's residents; in addition to the formation of the Commonwealth Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Virginia African American Advisory Board, and the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, each established to advise the Governor of Virginia on pressing issues.
Traci has a B.A. in International Studies (Virginia Tech), M.A. in Justice and Legal Studies (Hollins University) and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration and Policy at American University. As a servant leader, Traci believes fervently that "service is the rent you pay for room on this earth”.
Nationz Mission is to provide education and information related to HIV prevention while inspiring the community to take responsibility for their health and overall wellness.
Women of Essence, Inc. provides education and resources to women of color regarding HIV/AIDS, Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer in the LGBTQ community.
The mission of the independent, prize-winning Richmond Free Press newspaper is to empower its readers by contributing to the balance of news reporting and commentary in the Richmond area, and, simultaneously, to educate its readers about important issues touching their lives and to motivate them to be fully heard on these issues.
The newspaper seeks a brighter future for the city by finding common ground for all our citizens to work together to revitalize Richmond and improve the quality of life for its people. The Free Press places a high value on quality and is guided by a commitment to the eternal principles of truth, integrity, robust debate, and justice.
This event is sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, BLK RVA, and Gilead.
Northstar Academy Students a Big Help to Diversity Thrift
Northstar Academy serves juniors, seniors, and young adults in the Greater Richmond area who have disabilities or academic, physical, or social challenges. They learn the skills necessary for competitive careers through learning hands-on instruction, work-flow management and furthering those skills with work site experiences. Students in the academy's Materials Handling class have been visiting Diversity Thrift weekly and helping out with various tasks around the store. They recently helped us prep for our big table sale in the event hall.
Please join Diversity Richmond on Friday, February 25th, for our sixth annual Black & Bold Awards program as we recognize and celebrate leadership in and on behalf of the Black LGBTQ community! This in-person event is free to attend and will include food, cash bar and live entertainment. You must RSVP as space is limited to ensure COVID safety. To register, please visit Eventbrite..
Doors open at 6:00 PM for reception. Program starts at 7:00. Proof of vaccination will be required to enter. Masks will be required when not eating or drinking. Diversity Richmond Event Hall, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220.
This event is sponsored by BLK RVA, Gilead, and Jack Daniel’s.
This month, Diversity Richmond continued our efforts to coordinate our resources, partnerships, and connections to give back to those in need in our community. We began by distributing nearly $35,000 worth of the merchandise donated to us by Amazon last year to the Richmond chapter of ICNA Relief—Muslims for Humanity to assist in their efforts to help refugee families resettling to our area as well as other individuals and families in need.
Our donation included seven pallets of housewares, clothing, kitchen supplies, bedding, and blankets which nearly filled a large box truck. In the last two months, Diversity Richmond has disbursed nearly $70,000 worth of goods and merchandise to support families and children in need through our community partners.
Diversity Richmond also donated 125 winter coats to Blessings Warriors, which they will distribute through their outreach program to individuals and families who are currently unhoused or otherwise in need. Our donation of coats was made possible by the generosity of our partners at BreakThru Beverage.
Pictured above from ICNA Relief: Siddiq Harvey, Amanullah, Fazal Wahab, VA Pride Program Director, James Millner, Hamna Saleem, and Amir Saeed.
Pictured below: VA Pride Program Director, James Millner, BreakThru Beverage's Susan McNamara, Diversity Thrift staff members Josh Modva and Lily Austin.
Diversity Thrift has openings for a truck driver, donations processor, and cashier. See job descriptions below for details.
Diversity Thrift, one of Richmond's best thrift stores, is hiring for truck drivers. If you have experience driving a box truck and lifting furniture, as well as great customer service, this job is for you! Various shifts available, only in-town driving, and no late nights. No CDL required.
You will be working with one other person to remove donations of furniture from homes. Must be able to lift and maneuver 50 pounds, such as large couches, chairs, TV stands etc. GPS provided but knowing your way around town would be an asset. Must be able to pass a background check and drug screening. Must have an excellent record. Starting pay $15/hour, possibility of more based on experience. Previous truck driving experience required. Please email your resume to to apply, or drop one off at Diversity Thrift, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220. The best way is to come in and see us, bring a resume, and ask for a manager. COVID-19 considerations: All staff must be vaccinated and wear masks while working. Diversity Richmond is an equal opportunity employer.
Starting pay $15 per hour. Diversity Thrift is seeking part time and full-time workers for our donation receiving and processing area. You will be the face of Diversity’s warehouse – politely bringing in donations, loading and unloading furniture, processing inventory, and keeping the store looking amazing. Duties and requirements: Politely assisting customers with furniture donations, lifting, moving, loading, pricing and sorting donations, organizing and cleaning the store to keep it safe and looking great. Ability to lift 50+ pounds. Extended periods of standing and walking. Punctual and reliable. Like to stay busy throughout the day. Experience pricing antiques, collectibles, and rare items, and a willingness to learn, a huge plus! Ideal candidates are experienced working in a fast-paced retail environment, are good at staying one step ahead of the game and enjoy working with a diverse team in an inclusive environment. Please email your resume to to apply, or drop one off at Diversity Thrift, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220. COVID-19 considerations: All staff must be vaccinated and wear masks while working. Diversity Richmond is an equal opportunity employer.
Starting pay $15 per hour. Come work for Richmond's best thrift store, Diversity Thrift! We are a local Richmond retail store looking for candidates to fill a part-time cashier position in our store's front end. Requirements: 2+ years cash handling experience. Lift 20-30 pounds. Excellent customer service skills in person and on the phone. Must be able to stand and walk for 8+ hours a day. Set schedule 3 days a week, 8:30-6:00. Thrive in a fast-paced environment. Must be willing and eager to work collaboratively with a diverse team of staff and volunteers and work in an inclusive setting for people of all walks of life, all genders, orientations, and gender expressions. Some ASL ability a huge plus! More details will be discussed at interview. Please email your resume to to apply, or drop one off at Diversity Thrift, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220. COVID-19 considerations: All staff must be vaccinated and wear masks while working. Diversity Richmond is an equal opportunity employer.