BOSTON, Mass.—On November 15, 2014, over 300 people joined the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) at its annual gala to celebrate the organization’s 5 year anniversary. The event, hosted at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Boston, honored national leaders and local organizations working to advance LGBTQ people of color and fundraised to continue HBGC’s mission of inspiring and empowering the lives of Black and Latino LGBTQ people.
The event kicked off with an award ceremony revealing the winner of HBGC’s 2014 Sylvia Rivera Community Award. The award, selected by public vote, honors a local organization or program that has supported the work of HBGC while focusing its own mission on uplifting LGBTQ communities of color. This year’s winner was Youth On Fire, a program of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts that serves as a drop-in center for homeless and street-involved youth, ages 14-24.
The recipient of the evening’s 2014 Audre Lorde Founders Award was Tiq Milan, senior media strategist at GLAAD. The award honors an up and coming leader using innovative mechanisms to advance LGBTQ communities of color. While accepting the award, Milan spoke to how the LGBTQ community created space for him to be himself and give back to others and encouraged others to do the same. [pullquote]“Tonight, I challenge all of us all to do our part to…build a stronger community invested in the possibilities of the future. A bold community that is not just present for the moments but committed to the movement. Not the ever-changing LGBTQ movement with an agenda that is often determined for us, but a movement of survival. …” —Corey Yarbrough, HBGC’s Executive Director[/pullquote]
“It’s more than just being visible. It’s more than just being seen. We also have to make space. When I transitioned, the LGBT community made space for me… Now, I realize that privilege and use my privilege to make sure I create space for other people and hold other privilege people accountable,” he said.
The evening’s 2014 James Earl Hardy Legends Award was presented to Bamby Salcedo. An award that honors a community activist working to empower LGBTQ communities of color for over 10 years, Salcedo was honored for her tireless advocacy on behalf of transgender, immigrant, and HIV+ populations.
In her acceptance speech, she continued the theme of encouraging others to use their privilege to give back to their communities.
“I am able to be here tonight, but that’s not the reality of many trans people living today. As we have had momentum as a community… we still have young people who are on the streets and we need to acknowledge that and understand we have privilege and need to support our community…This year alone there has been 12 trans women of color who have been murdered. We need all of you to be apart of this movement for us to get the dignity, justice, and safety we deserve,” she said.
Participants got to learn more about the impact of HBGC throughout the evening with testimonials from program participants
and staff members, ending with a passionate call from Corey Yarbrough, HBGC’s Executive Director, encouraging attendees to financially empower Black and Latino LGBTQ communities.
“Tonight, I challenge all of us all to do our part to…build a stronger community invested in the possibilities of the future. A bold community that is not just present for the moments but committed to the movement. Not the ever-changing LGBTQ movement with an agenda that is often determined for us, but a movement of survival. A movement of radical love and inclusion, and a movement of pulling together the resources of our community to directly advance our community,” he said.
During his speech, Yarbrough also spoke to the aspirations of HBGC in the new year, such as implementing a language access plan to make HBGC’s program and services more accessible to Spanish language speakers and securing a new office space more accessible to communities of color.
The event marked 5 years of a grassroots organization founded in 2009 as a community response to the lack of leadership, programs, and services provided by and for Black and Latino LGBTQ communities. Since HBGC’s founding, the organization has left its mark on the community through innovative projects such as its New Leaders Institute (a leadership development program for LGBTQ youth of color), TOD@S Leadership Crew (a bilingual program for survivors of partner abuse), and quarterly community forums addressing the needs of its constituency.
To learn more about HBGC and lend your support by making a contribution, please visit HBGC-Boston.org.
The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) works to inspire and empower Hispanic, Latino, and Black LGBTQ communities to improve their livelihood though activism, education, outreach and counseling.