Event honored Rev. Irene Monroe, Nelson Roman, and BAGLY while raising funds to continue programs and services for Latina/o and Black LGBTQ communities
BOSTON, Mass. — The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) hosted its 4th annual gala on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston, MA. The event welcomed over 200 supporters to fundraise and renew a collective commitment to meeting the comprehensive needs of Latina/o and Black LGBTQ communities. The gala featured a “Taste Of Our Town” food exhibit with locally owned Black and Latina/o restaurants, a silent auction, award ceremony, and soiree that kept participants dancing until 1 a.m.
The evening kicked off with a heartfelt welcome from Boston City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo who spoke to the importance of HBGC as a Boston-based organization invested in uniting Latina/o and Black communities and responding to social disparities faced by both communities. The gala’s award ceremony complimented the remarks and the evening’s “We Are the Renaissance” theme by honoring local leaders and organizations invested in empowering Latina/o and Black LGBTQ communities, as well as other LGBTQ communities of color.
Receiving HBGC’s 2013 Sylvia Rivera Community Award was Boston’s Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY). The winner, selected by public vote, honors an organization or business that has supported the mission of HBGC while focusing its own work on the advancement of LGBTQ people of color. BAGLY, a youth led, adult supported social support organization, has served as a lead sponsor and partner for HBGC’s LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Conference since its inception in 2011.
Accepting HBGC’s 2013 Audre Lorde Founders Award was Nelson Roman. Honoring an up and coming leader who has taken initiative to create change for LGBTQ communities of color, Roman was recognized for his work as Board President and Founder of the Imperial Court of Western Mass, Inc., a group that has fundraised over $10,000 for local LGBT, HIV & AIDS, and youth organizations in Western Mass. During his acceptance speech, Roman spoke to the impact HBGC has had on his organizing efforts in Springfield and reminded the audience of the importance of grassroots organizing in inspiring others and igniting social change.
The evening’s keynote speaker and 2013 James Earl Hardy Legends Award recipient was Rev. Irene Monroe, internationally renowned LGBTQ activist and religious columnist. In her address, Rev. Monroe encouraged participants to rise above interpersonal conflicts, to challenge internalized homophobia and racism, and to create intergenerational connections for moving the work of HBGC forward and creating lasting social change.
The gala concluded with a passionate call to action from HBGC Co-Founders Quincey Roberts and Corey Yarbrough featuring stories from the organization’s impact over the year and vision for the upcoming year.
“It is because of all of these people and countless others who make up our community that we are still here. And not only are we still here, but because of you and your help, we are making plans for the future… We are, indeed, experiencing our own renaissance – a rebirth that will leave us stronger and better positioned to keep investing in our community,” said Quincey Roberts.
An organization created four years ago as a response to personal isolation and exclusion from Boston’s LGBTQ community, HBGC now enters its fifth year of empowering and advancing Latina/o and Black LGBTQ people in the Greater Boston area. Those unable to attend or contribute at the event can support the work of HBGC by making a tax deductible donation at hbgc-boston.org.
Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) is dedicated to the needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latin@ LGBTQ community. Founded in 2009, we work to inspire and empower Latin@, Hispanic and Black LGBTQ individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling.
[From a News Release]