Charlotte City Councilmember Al Austin will be among three award winners at the June 13 event.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Powerhouse Project returns with its Power of One Community Awards & Gala event on June 13, 5 p.m., at Fairfield Inn & Suites Charlotte Uptown, 201 S. McDowell St., honoring African­-American, same-­gender-­loving men making an impact in the greater Charlotte community.

This year, honorees include Charlotte City Councilmember Al Austin, Nickel Bar owner Milton Howard and the Rev. Clifford Matthews, Jr., pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church.

Austin is the second openly gay man to sit on Charlotte City Council, where he took a leading role in attempting to pass LGBT ­inclusive non-­discrimination ordinances earlier this year. Austin, a Democrat, was elected to represent District 2 in 2013.

Organizers request cocktail attire for the event, which is free to attend with a complimentary buffet. RSVPs are not required, but those attending in large groups can email Jermaine Nakia Lee at to reserve space.

Entertainment at the event will feature Illumination Chorale Ensemble, Johnson C. Smith University’s D.O.P.E., R&B crooner KEON, Carolinas PRIDE Theatre Ensemble, Visual Art exhibit by Sarah Stephens Fial, songwriter Star Willson Mufuka Dance Works, gospel quartet The Exaltations and others.


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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.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.