In Memoriam: Sarah Belk Gambrell
The Charlotte community is mourning the death of philanthropist Sarah Belk Gambrell who died on July 30 at the age of 102, The Charlotte Observer reported. She was the only daughter of Belk retail chain founder William Henry Belk. In 2017, Gambrell lent her family’s name to the cause of Charlotte’s LGBTQ community and announced a $1.5 million foundation gift to help build North Carolina’s first homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth. The money helped Time Out Youth Center to buy and renovate an office building as a support hub, including the shelter, for LGBTQ youth.
Motorcade makes symbolic stop
Civil rights champion John Lewis, whose death in July was memorialized by a plethora of national and international figures, continued to be a beacon to the advocacy work he spent his lifetime working for. The hearse carrying his remains made a number of historic and symbolic stops along the way and included one at Atlanta, Ga.’s rainbow crosswalks. Lewis’s decades-long defense of gay rights were highlighted by his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, his co-sponsorship of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and Respect for Marriage Act, support of the Equality Act, among others, NBC News reported. “Future generations will learn how he faced down discrimination with courage and defiance, boldly challenging the United States to envision a future where every person, no matter their race, sexual orientation or gender identity, has an equal chance at the American Dream,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement.
Grant program awards partners
The City of Charlotte is in the process of awarding $30 million Access to Capital Small Business Recovery Program grants through the federal CARES Act. Recipients are getting awards through the Foundation for the Carolinas as the grant-making partner in the amount of $10,000-$25,000 depending upon the number of individuals that are employed by a business. Applications are being reviewed randomly each day as opposed to a first-come, first-served basis. Eligibility is based upon a number of factors such as the affects from the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, among others. Those receiving the grants fall into the following demographics: Race/Ethnicity — black or African-American (60 percent), white (24 percent), Asian (5 percent), Hispanic or Latino (8 percent), other (2 percent), American Indian or Alaskan Native (.8 percent) and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (.3 percent): Sex — Male (51 percent) and Female (49 percent); Micro/Small — Micro (94 percent) and Small (6 percent). Partner grantees receiving funds were: ASPIRE Community Capital ($30,000); Carolina Small Business Development Fund ($250,000); Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce ($146,525); Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce ($200,000); Grameen America ($250,000); Historic North Charlotte Neighborhood Assoc. ($150,000); Historic West End Partners ($250,000); Latin American Chamber of Commerce ($244,840); National Black MBA Association ($113,528); Prospera ($150,000); Small Business & Technology Development Center ($50,000); and Women’s Business Center of Charlotte ($161,500).
Musical grants to assist arts programs
Music Everywhere CLT in partnership with FAIR PLAY Music Equity Initiative and Tosco Music have announced the expansion of the Charlotte Music Community Relief Fund. This grant program was designed to help members of the Charlotte music community, with an emphasis on independent performing or recording artists, with loss of income due to COVID-19. Now, with the help of United Way/Foundation For the Carolinas COVID-19 Response Fund and a successful community campaign, additional grant-making capacity is available. Since its launch in April, the campaign has amassed a combined $69,000 and has made 79 grants totaling $39,500. Applications are available online. A similar program to support artists is being offered in the Triad area through ARTS Greensboro. Visit their website to learn more.
info: musiceverywhereclt.com/relieffund. bit.ly/30oZhPr.
Bezos opens donations for anti-LGBTQ groups
Metro Weekly reported that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has opened the door through Amazon Smile to receive contributions from ant-LGBTQ groups. The news organization also shared that Amazon implied that they would seek other options for gaining information other than the Southern Poverty Law Center when questioned by Rep. Matt Gaetz during a recent antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill.
S.C. community continues engagement
With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aiken, S.C.’s PFLAG chapter has maintained its service to the LGBTQ community by making available online forums. It is part of the Central Savannah River Area which also serves Augusta, Ga. and others in the geographical areas.
NCAAN celebrates Medicaid birthday
The North Carolina AIDS Action Network celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Medicaid program on July 30 with an online celebration featuring statements from Greenville residents and medical providers applauding the importance and successes of the program throughout the community. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments into law on July 30, 1965, creating Medicaid as the bedrock program providing health access for low-income people across America. “The Medicaid program is a critical safety net for people living with HIV in our state,” said Lee Storrow, executive director of the network. “The program provides access to HIV medicine for thousands of residents of our states, and serves as a gateway to PrEP for low-income residents of our state who want to make sure they stay HIV negative. As our state debates further opportunities for Medicaid, we should also celebrate its success in keeping our residents healthy for more than 50 years.” Medicaid is the number one health provider for people living with HIV in the United States. Medicaid provides people living with HIV in North Carolina access to comprehensive healthcare coverage, which leads to higher viral suppression rates and better health outcomes. Recent studies have shown that people living with HIV that have comprehensive health coverage have better viral suppression rates than people just accessing their HIV medication, the organization shared.
Gay officer settles suit
The Associated Press reported that Missouri’s St. Louis County Lt. Keith Wildhaber has resigned his position as commander of the department’s new diversity and inclusion unit. The officer had previously settled a discrimination lawsuit against the police department for $10.25 million. Wildhaber is caucasian and said he was the recipient of anti-discriminatory statements such as “tone down” his “gayness.”
SAGE CNC to offer grief support
“SAGE CNC is about to begin a support group for folks who are grieving the loss of a partner or a spouse,” shared SAGE Central North Carolina Program Director Les Geller. “This is actually the first time that we have been in a position to offer this type of service, but with the help of the LGBT Center [of Raleigh] we have been able to put together the funding to do so.” The six-session support group is open to those who have experienced a loss over three months prior to the start of the sessions and will be facilitated by a retired licensed clinical social worker. Registration is due by Sept. 4. Email email@example.com stating one’s name, email address, phone number and mailing address if interested. The organization has a number of other options for seniors to enjoy. It is also seeking volunteers to help with social media, newsletter and reporters for the newsletter.
Police chief seeks reinstatement
Previously fired Byron, Ga.’s transgender Rachel Mosby has petitioned City of Byron to be reinstated and back pay remunerated, The Associated Press reported. She has already filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court on the action that was taken against her. She claims that only the mayor and city council were authorized to make such a decision.
Lawsuit filed on non-binary licensing
Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sander Saba, a 25-year-old non-binary transgender New York Resident who is seeking to obtain an accurate driver’s license with an “X” marker that reflects their gender identity. The suit challenges New York State’s discriminatory policy that keeps non-binary individuals from getting an accurate driver’s license that reflects their gender identity — instead forcing them to choose either “male” or “female.”
Military org praises end to trans ban
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) released the following statement following the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to overturn the Trump-Pence administration’s transgender military ban. Adopted by a voice vote, the amendment to the fiscal 2021 Defense appropriations bill was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier, chairwoman of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and would effectively end the ban by blocking the use of funds to implement it. “As our nation faces seemingly unprecedented challenges, it’s crucially important that the military return to an inclusive policy that allows any qualified patriot to serve,” said MMAA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane. “With this vote, the U.S. House of Representatives just sent a powerful message that bigotry and discrimination should have no place in our Armed Forces. We urge the full Congress to ensure this critically important amendment is passed.” In the case of Karnoski v. Trump, MMAA and Lambda Legal are currently challenging the constitutionality of the Trump-Pence administration’s transgender military ban. The lawsuit represents six currently serving members of the armed services; three who seek to enlist; the American Military Partner Association (now part of MMAA); the Human Rights Campaign; and Gender Justice League.
Affinity offers free curbside COVID-19 testing
Affinity Health Center is now offering free curbside COVID-19 testing throughout York County. The center will test at First Baptist Church in Clover on Aug. 7 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It will also continue testing in Clover on the first Friday of each month and in York at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church on the 3rd Friday of each month, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Updates on testing sites and schedule are available online at facebook.com/affinityhealthcenter.
MPact conducting COVID-19 survey
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights has announced that a new 15-minute Adaptations to KP-Focused HIV Programs during COVID-19 survey is now open through Aug. 9 online at bit.ly/33jDb2F. It aims to learn more about the specific strategies adopted by organizations and programs serving or led by gay men, people who use drugs, sex workers and transgender people. Survey findings will be used to design an advocacy roadmap for ensuring that strategies favored by communities receive funding after the COVID-19 crisis. Such strategies can help expand community access to rights-based HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment services. In other news, the organization has published its new PrEP publication, “7 Case Studies Featuring HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiatives Led by Gay Men in Australia, Kenya, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.” To learn more, visit bit.ly/2PnMTZw.
Sheriff’s deputy denied survivor’s benefits
Broward Sheriff’s deputy Shannon Bennett’s family has been denied insurance benefits covering his death in April from COVID-19, Queerty reported. AIG denied the accidental death claim in the line of duty. The Sheriff’s Office joined the family in protesting the claim denial. “According to AIG, Bennett’s death didn’t occur in the line of duty; ‘rather, his death was caused in whole or in part by, or resulted in whole or in part from sickness or disease, specifically excluded under this policy,’” Queerty added.
Pride series airs on Revry
Revry announced a new partnership with Comcast Xfinity’s Beltway Region to introduce The Beltway Pride Screening Series — a collection of six films that explore life through the lens of the LGBTQ community. Panel discussions will follow each screening and highlight the unique needs and challenges that LGBTQ members face. Panelists will include filmmakers, cast members and members of local LGBTQ organizations discussing such topics as race, gender, sexual identity, politics and culture. Each of the six movies in the The Beltway Pride Screening Series can be watched for free online via the Revry.tv network. A new film will be showcased each month through October.
Crowdsourcing campaign targets minorities
The Where Freedom Grows GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise monies to create a safe space for “Queer, Black and Brown folks” in the Whitakers, N.C. area. A N.C. native named Carlin created the fund in order to acquire a patch of land that had fallen out of their family’s possession 48 years ago. “The history of the land is one of slavery, of Black resiliency, and of the bittersweet fight for freedom,” Minerva shared. Over $100,000 was raised in the original funding solicitation. “We are looking forward to creating a safe space for our people (TGNC, Queer, BIPOC organizers, artists, teachers, healers and those who might just need to get loved on for a while) to come rest, dream, and strategize.,” organizers added. A cash offer was presented to the bank and was countered by a higher price. So far, the tract has not been secured.
Foundation expands scholarship outreach
Driven by its commitment to diversifying the video game industry, Entertainment Software Association Foundation announced scholarship awards to 25 women, minority and LGBTQ college students earning a computer science or video game arts and science-related degree. Scholars receive financial and non-monetary support, including access to influential industry figures and mentors. Among the recipients was Sloane Miller of North Carolina A&T State University.
Is it really ‘gay’ ice cream?
The daily.LGBT reported that there was a “panic” in Russia due to Chistaya Liniya’s new rainbow ice cream flavor. The Union of Women’s chair was accused of “promoting homosexuality” after it launched the product. Now it appears that there is backlash and a call to Vladimir Putin to ban it. The company that manufactures the product shared that the flavor was created to showcase sunshine after rain and not an association with the LGBTQ community, adding that the company was pro “traditional values.”
Partners grant care to those who are trans
Plume, in partnership with Point of Pride, announced the Point of Pride HRT Access Fund established to award free care for 12 months to transgender individuals seeking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in cities across the U.S.