The Out of the Darkness Charlotte Walk will be held on Oct. 28 to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

‘Darkness’ walk honors losses

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will hold its 10th annual Out of the Darkness Charlotte Walk on Oct. 28, 2 p.m., beginning at Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.

When participants walk in the Out of the Darkness, they join hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to raise awareness and funds that allow the foundation to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.

Registration is available online and closes at noon on the day before the walk. Also, onsite registration will begin at 1 p.m. with an opening ceremony and walk to follow.

Collection of pledges and donations closes on Dec. 31.


Catholic diocesan group to host retreat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Diocesan Ministry for Gay & Lesbian Catholics will hold its annual The Cross & The Rainbow retreat from Oct. 6-8 at the Living Waters Catholic Reflection Center, 103 Living Waters Ln., in Maggie Valley, N.C.

The retreat is open to both Catholic and Protestant LGBTQ community members and their families. It will be lead by Rev. Houston Hall, an intentional interim minister with the United Church of Christ.

This safe space environment will allow participants to explore their relationship with God.

Registration is $160 per person. Those who wish to attend are requested to fill out a registration form (download here) and mail it along with payment to DMFGLC at P.O. Box 12451, Charlotte, NC 28220.


Duke LGBTQ employees welcome ally support

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy reported that they are making sure that all employees at their company feel welcome, especially those from the LGBTQ community.

“You’re carrying a huge burden if you can’t be who you are at work,” said John Lincoln, the customer experience manager who, with a small group of others, started the WeR1 employee resource group in Charlotte in 2014. He wanted all employees to feel like they can bring “their full, authentic selves to work.”

“If your mind is preoccupied with being ‘found out,’ you can’t dedicate yourself fully to your work when you’re here,” he added.

WeR1 depends upon allies within the company’s culture. And, employees who have participated in LGBTQ panels and other activities have come away feeling empowered.

The employee group has about 200 members with 70 percent identified as LGBTQ individuals and 30 percent allies.

Due to the accepting work environment, employees feel more comfortable telling co-workers who they really are and know they have a safe harbor in which to thrive.


Law center changes name

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Legal Services of Southern Piedmont has undergone a rebranding effort over the past two years and is now called the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

This coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary, which will include a year-long celebration marked with special events and initiatives such as the Legal Advocacy Day of Service on Sept. 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., an open-to-the-public event providing a variety of legal services to be held at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, 832 E. 4th St.

On the same day, an anniversary kick-off reception and celebration will follow the Day of Service at 5:30 p.m. in the courthouse atrium. Keynote speaker will be Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Visit the Charlotte center’s website for other events during the year.

The organization helps domestic violence victims seek protective orders, the sick find healthcare coverage, disabled veterans obtain income and health benefits, protect senior citizens at risk of scams, homeowners in danger of foreclosure and immigrants in danger of exploitation. It employs close to 40 and a volunteer base of more than 500 legal professionals who help 3,500 families facing a crisis of safety, shelter, health or income. It also provides individual advice and representation, as well as community education and outreach in partnership with other agencies and is the largest provider of legal assistance in Mecklenburg County improving access to health care for low income and vulnerable populations, the center said. Its Executive Director Ken Schorr said that it “is a champion for those in need of safety, security and stability and our organization has been serving the community since 1967.”


Pride bestows awards

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Pride Festival and Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade are now one for the books. The organization gave out its annual Champions of Pride Awards at the culmination of the two-day event.

Receiving recognition were: Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield and former Councilmember Al Austin, Harvey Milk Award; Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays National South Atlantic Regional Director Diana Troy, Outstanding Ally Award; and Time Out Youth Center’s staffer Rebby Kern and transgender high school student Vinnie Holt, Young Catalyst Award.

Also recognized with honors were U.S. Navy veteran Monica Helms and Sen. Jeff Jackson. They both served as grand marshals for the parade. Helms is the creator of the Transgender Pride Flag and founder of the Transgender American Veterans Association. Sen. Jackson is a strong ally and proponent for the LGBTQ community.

The parade has now been designated as the largest parade in the Queen City.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.