Johnathan Wilson (left), James Rice (top right) and Dianna Ward are all recipients of the Heart of the Community Awards.

Charlotte Black Pride announced their 2020-21 Heart of the Community Award Winners August 27. The list of honorees boasts three active and capable members of Charlotte’s LGBTQ Community.

James Rice, III, honored for Outstanding Achievement in Community Leadership, is the volunteer and special events coordinator at Time Out Youth (TOY). Rice began his relationship with TOY as a community intern who was passionate about LGBTQ youth homelessness. In his current role, he is the second openly gay, African-American male to hold a full-time position with the organization. He previously worked with the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Charlotte Black Gay Pride. Rice earned his B.A. in Communication from Queens University.

Jonathan Wilson, director of outreach at RAIN, is the recipient of the Outstanding Contributions by a Young Adult award. Wilson has been with RAIN since January 2018 and has devoted his life to changing the way people think about HIV. As a younger individual, he questioned the purpose of life and began to explore spoken word, dance and poetry as a form of advocacy. Wilson believes in working hard to make an impact on the lives of those around him and in his job at RAIN. He likes working with people and his work at RAIN, because it’s about long-term contact and “hands-on” relationship building. 

Dianna Ward, recognized for Outstanding Achievements in Business, is a seasoned executive, well-known throughout Charlotte’s LGBTQ Community. Locally, she’s the owner of Charlotte NC Tours, and she owns and operates tour businesses in other cities, like Greenville Glides, Kansas City Segway Tours and Chattanooga Segway Tours.

Following the announcement, an awards ceremony and reception was held September 2, at 7 pm at Real African Art, with a live performance by Charlotte-based R&B artist Tara Anderson.

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