AIDS conference empowering

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The North Carolina AIDS Action Network hosted their “Building Power Across the Spectrum” advocacy conference on Oct. 6-7 in Charlotte, N.C.

The event kicked off with a Trans Health Summit at Packard Place in Uptown Charlotte, a change in venue from its original location at the Children and Family Services Center. The center was not willing to designate any multi-stall bathrooms in the building as gender neural, Network Executive Director Lee Storrow shared. Keynote speaker was transgender health issues and HIV expert Cecilia Chung of the Transgender Law Center in California.

That evening at a welcome reception at Carpe Diem Restaurant, the Network honored Dashita Croom, Roberto Olmo and Damon Seils with their annual Advocate of the Year Awards. “Dashita, Roberto and Damon have been consistent advocates for those living with HIV in our state. They’ve showed up to phone bank to save the Affordable Care Act, joined us for advocacy days in Raleigh and D.C. and are consistent champions for our community,”  said Storrow.

On Saturday, advocates gathered for a day of workshops and networking at the Holiday Inn City Center. “Talk about being empowered! The Building Power Across the Spectrum Conference did more than just build power for me, it also added gasoline to the fire of advocacy in me that will help in continuing our fight to remove the stigma that is associated with HIV! The connections I was able to make with other amazing leaders in our state showed me that we are strong, dedicated and unstoppable in our passions to mobilize our communities in this fight,” commented Alicia Diggs, an advocate from Greensboro, N.C. and medical case manager with Positive Wellness Alliance.


HRC slates annual gala

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Human Rights Campaign Carolina (HRCC) will hold its 23rd Annual HRC North Carolina Gala & Silent Auction on Feb. 17 at the Le Méridien Hotel, 555 South McDowell St.

Co-chairs for the gala are Joy Bowling and Louis Kemp.

Bowling is an information security program manager with Synchrony Financial.

Kemp also works for Synchrony Financial as its vice president of sales process surveillance and serves as a global operating leader for the firm’s LGBT Partnership Network Employee Resource Group.

The theme for the event is “Together, We Stand” which will serve as the kickoff event for the 2018 election season — part of the nationwide HRC Rising campaign.

“The roots of HRC Rising are found right here in North Carolina as HRC Charlotte & HRC Triangle, along with our coalition partners, organized and mobilized supporters to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation and candidates, and to turn out on Election Day,” the organization shared. “The TurnOUT NC coalition successfully defeated North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory after he targeted LGBTQ people with his notoriously discriminatory HB2 law,” they added.

In July of 2017, HRC announced a “bold, proactive nationwide grassroots expansion” with the launch of HRC Rising. The HRC Rising campaign will accelerate progress in states from coast-to-coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives.

Gala organizers are searching for corporate sponsors and table captains. Volunteers are also needed, especially those experienced with event management, brand management, software administration, social media content creation, recruiting and fundraising.

Email to learn more.

“HRC Charlotte is committed to electing pro-equality candidates and breaking the GOP supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly in 2018,” said Shelly Schoenfeld with the HRC Charlotte Board of Governors. “The HRC North Carolina Gala & Silent Auction has a long, outstanding record of helping to fund our efforts in Charlotte, the Triangle and across the Carolinas.”


Orgs receive grants

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Carolinas organizations were recently awarded grants from Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Out in the South Initiative.

The Campaign for Southern Equality Fund, Asheville, N.C., received $50,000 to provide matching grant funds to support southern LGBTQ grassroots organizing efforts across the region.

The LGBT Fund at Spartanburg County Foundation was awarded $25,000 to provide matching funds in support of a newly established LGBTQ fund in Spartanburg, S.C.

And, the Queer Movement Fund at Southern Vision Alliance received $30,000 to support planning for expansion of an existing fund supporting grassroots organizing efforts in LGBTQ communities of color in North Carolina.


Lopez to lead Dem org

DURHAM, N.C. — Democracy North Carolina has announced that Tomas Lopez will serve as the next executive director beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

Lopez comes to the Carolinas from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law where he has served as counsel to the center’s Democracy program.

He was a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School. He previously worked as an immigrant rights lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama and with the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona. In these roles, he partnered with attorneys, organizers, and advocates to advance litigation and outreach agendas.


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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.