So it's finally behind us. The 2014 Invisible Heroes program is complete and I can breathe again. The event was such a wonderful evening of positive people, inspiring stories and great LGBT individuals collaborating to celebrate Black History month. This was the four year anniversary of the program and it was fabulous to hear from those that have attended previously that they think it gets better and better with each passing year.
Once again our hosts for the event were Babe Caylor and Arcelious Stevens. Beautiful and brilliant, these two remarkable people are the epitome of what this event is all about - out, accomplished LGBT African-Americans that serve as a example that you can embrace both your LGBT identity and your black identity. Audre Lorde once said "I cannot divide myself from myself." This is the message were trying to get all black same-gender loving individuals to adopt.
The four individuals we remembered/honored at this years event included Alain Locke, Lorraine Hansberry, George Washington Carver and Bayard Rustin. Alain Locke was considered the Father of the Harlem Renaissance. His ushering in of the New Negro Movement (circa 1925) started a era that would showcase notable great gay writers like Langston Hughes, Richard Bruce Nugent and Countee Cullen and phenomenal lesbian jazz legends like Ma Rainey, Gladys Bentley and Alberta Hunter. Lorraine Hanberry was an author and playwright most remembered for her masterpieces A Raisin in the Sun and Young, Gifted and Black. George Washington Carver is a botanist famous for developing hundreds of uses for the peanut and the yam. Bayard Rustin was a pioneer in the civil rights era that was mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr and the organizer for the 1963 March on Washington.
While it is important to remember those significant figures from the past, we felt it was equally important to recognize those individuals that are still great work for the LGBT community. This year there were three award recipients. The Imani "Faith" award recipient was Christina Floyd. Christina is a member of the Black AIDS Task force and has been instrumental in 1) making sure the black gay voice was being heard in all outreach efforts and 2) getting the message of HIV/AIDS prevention into the Black church. Lawrence Moore was the recipient of the Umoja "Unity" award. Lawrence just recently stepped down from his position as Chair of the Board of Directors of Phoenix Pride. And the Nia "Purpose" Award went to Antonia D'orsay, transgender educator and activist. She is the current Executive Director of This Is H.O.W., a transgender halfway house.
I did not truly feel the energy of the evening until the conclusion of the event. It seemed that no one wanted to go home. There were so many "great jobs" made to the presenters, so many individuals exchanging information and getting to know each other, and just an overwhelming feeling being in the company of some great people. I can't wait to see what the five year anniversary will bring. If you'd like to see more pictures, please visit this link:.