Published: Wednesday, January 20 2021
Written by Diversity Richmond
Save The Date! February 28th
Please save the date and register here to join Diversity Richmond for our 5th annual Black and Bold Awards to honor Black LGBTQ+ leadership throughout the Greater Richmond community on Sunday, February 28th at 6pm. The event will be held virtually in partnership with Radio One and will be streamed simultaneously on the iPower Richmond and Diversity Richmond Facebook pages. The honorees will be celebrated with in-person receptions in the future once deemed safe.
This year the event will virtually honor four community members by celebrating their achievements and advocacy throughout the Black LGBTQ+ community. “Even with the challenges of the pandemic, these honorees have persevered and shown exemplary leadership. We are thankful for their profound contributions,” said Diversity Richmond Program Coordinator Evan Smith (they/them). Former Deputy Director of Diversity Richmond and founder of the Black and Bold Awards, Rodney Lofton (he/him), will serve as the keynote speaker.
Keynote Speaker Rodney Lofton (he/him)
Honoree Charleen Baylor (she/her) has a 30-year history of community service and volunteering. She owns the local restaurant, Nutty Buttery, a staple in the Richmond community. Despite the financial challenges of the pandemic, Charleen continues to build community through her endeavors.
Honoree Stephanie Merlo (she/her) is a military veteran and advocate. She is the President of VA Pride and the Richmond Chapter Leader of Minority Veterans Association of America. In June 2020, she led Stonewall Rising, a LGBTQ March for Black Lives. Her work also empowers sexual abuse survivors.
Honoree Ernest Charles (he/him) is the MA Clinical Training Manager at Health Brigade. His work has been integral to ensuring COVID testing and healthcare have been more accessible for Black and Brown communities which have been disproportionately impacted.
Honoree Destini Joseph-Barnette (she/her) is a member of Advocates for Richmond Youth, which supports youth experiencing homelessness. Her anti-racist initiatives in the community continue to advance the opportunities for Black LGBTQ+ youth and promote trans-affirming shelter practices.