Will Bigger has been hired as South Carolina Equality’s development director.

SCE hires new staff

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Equality has announced the hiring of Will Bigger as its new development director. He will be tasked with formulating and executing a strategic plan for supporter, community and corporate engagement to sustain the organization’s work.

Bigger is a native of York, S.C. He received his degree from Francis Marion University. During his collegiate career, he studied economics in Cuba, interned in Congress, was president of a Democratic student group and was active in student government.

His career began with work in the marketing field and he served three terms in AmeriCorps VISTA working in resource development for non-profit organizations in the Midlands. With a short sojourn in Washington, D.C., he returned to South Carolina to work for Planned Parenthood until he joined South Carolina Equality.

When he is not engaged in professional pursuits, he spends time serving on Planned Parenthood’s Community Council and participates in Young Democrats as an officer.

info: scequality.org.

Pride fest rolls out lineup

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Charleston Pride’s 2016 celebration, Stand Out, will take place from Aug. 6-13, with the festival site on Aug. 13 at Brittlebank Park, 0 Lockwood Blvd. Its organizers have announced that the festival week’s schedule has been placed online.

Among activities planned are: a roller derby bout, social events, drag brunch and shows, interfaith service, gay bingo, speaker engagements, takeover events, comedy show, parade, festival and evening party after the festival closes.

For those who wish to march in the parade, application is available online. Deadline to sign up is July 30.

Vendors and organizations who wish to display their goods and services are welcome. Applications must be received by July 29 and are available online.

Host hotel for the event is the Holiday Inn Historic Downtown Charleston. Rates are $149/Aug. 11 and $179/Aug. 12-13. Group code for reservations is CPF.

In other news, the organization will hold its final Paint the Town fundraising event for the series on July 24, 11 p.m., at Cure Nightclub, 28 Ann St. This rendition is the “purple” one, filling out the rainbow.

info: charlestonpride.org.

Two orgs team up for run, walk

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Two organizations, Lowcountry AIDS Services (LAS) and the Roper St. Francis Ryan White Wellness Center (RWWC), are partnering to present the Lowcountry Red Ribbon 5K Run & Walk, set for Sept. 10 at Wannamaker County Park, 8888 University Blvd., in North Charleston.

The race begins at 9:15 a.m. with an after-party including food trucks, music with DJ Trevor D, games and vendors until noon.

The 5K course winds through Wannamaker Park on both paved trails and through a forested, unpaved path through nature. A one-mile option for walkers is available. Individual 5K and one-mile walk registrations are $30 through Sept. 8. Register at packet pickup or the morning of the event for $35. Team discounts and sponsorships opportunities are available. Race packet pickup will be on Sept. 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at LAS, 3547 Meeting Street Rd. in North Charleston and at 8 a.m. the morning of the race. Registration and information are available online.

Both organizations will split the event proceeds, which will be used to help the more than 2,500 people living with HIV and AIDS in the tri-county area gain access to medical care and live healthier, more sustainable lives.

In 2015, The White House published its National HIV/AIDS Strategy highlighting South Carolina and its southern neighbors as the new epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. South Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for its high prevalence of AIDS cases, and Charleston/North Charleston ranks 19th among national metropolitan areas.

In December 2015, Lowcountry AIDS Services published its “State of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Charleston” report, highlighting the HIV epidemic facing the Charleston region — especially among young people under the age of 30. LAS and RWWC conducted a combined 1,749 HIV tests in 2015. Of those, 42 were HIV positive with the majority being young, African-American men.

“HIV is happening in our community. This is not a problem in major cities or third-world countries, it’s happening right here in Charleston. We need to bring attention to this epidemic and educate people about regular HIV testing and prevention.” said Bradley Childs, LAS executive director.

Ryan White’s Director Kimberly Butler Willis added, “Partnering with LAS increases the volume of both organizations’ efforts to reach a common goal — to end HIV in the Lowcountry. The Lowcountry Red Ribbon 5K is a great start for a community awareness, engagement, and action.”

info/registration: redribbonlowcountry. aids-services.com. rsfh.com/ryan-white-program.

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Share your news with us
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 specialassignments@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com. 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 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.