Gay LULAC chapter names Sanchez, Mancha as People of Year, lauds Univision’s LGBT coverage

Jesse Garcia | President, LULAC 4871

LULAC 4871 – The Dallas Rainbow Council will hold its third annual Holiday Party this Friday, Dec. 17, featuring traditional Mexican holiday dishes, Christmas music and awards to recognize outstanding achievement in the LGBT Latino community.

LULAC 4871 will award its “Man of the Year” to gay rights activist Fernie Sanchez. Sanchez was instrumental in getting the word out about the anti-bullying movement in the Dallas Independent School District to Spanish-speaking households. He shared his own personal story of being harassed for being gay and advocated for acceptance during interviews with the local affiliates of Telemundo and Univision. Sanchez also coordinated interviews with other LGBT Latinos to share their bullying stories on a nationwide Univision program. Sanchez was instrumental in holding immigration forums in the LGBT community, assisted with LULAC 4871’s very first National Latino AIDS Awareness Day event and helped promote the Census in both LGBT and Hispanic communities.

“Woman of the Year” will be awarded to Patricia Mancha, a straight ally who has advocated for the LGBT community. Along with Sanchez, Mancha has done outreach with Spanish-language media during the height of the gay suicide epidemic in the fall and also helped dispel myths about HIV during National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Mancha volunteered to co-sponsor a LULAC youth council and mentors the group every other week.

The “Se Presta Award,” a community award that lauds a non-member of the council who has partnered with LULAC 4871 during the year and made a difference, will recognize long-time community organizer Rosa Lopez. Lopez helps organize West Dallas neighborhoods. She advocates for better streets, public safety and improved schools. Her mostly Hispanic and African-American neighborhood associations consider her a great leader and have no problem with her being a lesbian. She commands the respect that most of us in the LGBT community ultimately want by mainstream America. She is involved her community’s issues and gives a voice to those who have none.

Univision Television and Radio will receive the organization “Se Presta Award” for its in-depth coverage of gay suicide tragedies and the DISD anti-bullying movement.  Univision covered this issue more than their English language counterparts. The local network and radio station have shown that they are community partners with the LGBT community — even asking members of our community to sit on their advisory boards and placing us on their public service announcements. The LGBT community has a friend in Univision.

LULAC 4871’s holiday party caps off a year of success for the five-year-old organization. LULAC 4871’s accomplishments include: renaming a downtown Dallas street after Cesar Chavez, raising $2,600 for AIDS Arms LifeWalk, holding several immigration forums in the LGBT community, partnering with the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association for a legal clinic, partnering with AIDS Arms to test 96 individuals for HIV during National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, registering more than 1,000 people to vote and successfully advocating for a DISD anti-bully code. In July, LULAC 4871 was named “National LULAC Council of the Year” by its national leaders, along with “National LULAC Man of the Year” for LULAC 4871 member and DREAM Act activist Ramiro Luna.

For more information about the Holiday Party, e-mail LULAC4871@aol.com or visit www.lulac4871.org. New members are welcomed.

—  admin

Annual tour of Oak Cliff homes to be ‘best ever,’ organizer says

Gays’ homes featured prominently in Old Oak Cliff Conservation League’s 36th event

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

EXTREME MAKEOVER  |  An historic church and 11 homes will be featured on this year’s Oak Cliff Tour of Homes. The tour has been credited with encouraging people to buy and renovate older homes throughout the area. Others have built new homes, like this one, in historic styles. (Courtesy Old Oak Cliff Conservation League)
EXTREME MAKEOVER | An historic church and 11 homes will be featured on this year’s Oak Cliff Tour of Homes. The tour has been credited with encouraging people to buy and renovate older homes throughout the area. Others have built new homes, like this one, in historic styles. (Courtesy Old Oak Cliff Conservation League)

This weekend the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League holds its 36th annual Home Tour, and “almost all the houses are gay this year, which will make it the best friggin’ tour ever,” said OOCCL President Michael Amonett.

The Oak Cliff Tour of Homes is one of the oldest home tours in Dallas and one of the largest. Members of the LGBT community is actively involved in the conservation group and in the tour.

Home Tour Chair Michele Cox said that actually five of the 11 homes on this year’s tour are gay-owned and noted that D Magazine readers voted this the city’s best home tour.

In addition to OOCCL’s president, gay residents head most of the 29 neighborhood associations and many of the tour sponsors are LGBT-owned businesses.

Amonett said that the tour has contributed to much of Oak Cliff’s renovation efforts.

“This tour is an ambassador for Oak Cliff and has been for 36 years, long before we were trendy,” Amonett said. “People came across [the river] and got a different perspective of Oak Cliff than the preconceived ones they had before.”

“What stands out for me is that Oak Cliff has become hot and fashionable,” said gay Realtor Steve Habgood, one of the sponsors of the tour.

He said that much of that has to do with Bishop Arts District and some of the city’s hottest new restaurants like Bolsa.

“This allows people to come and experience what it’s like to live in Oak Cliff,” Habgood said.

Amonett said that the tour highlights various neighborhoods where homes have been renovated and updated.

That encourages others to buy on the block “and pretty soon you’re Winnetka Heights,” he said.

He said that Oak Cliff homes are better built and more stable than homes elsewhere in the area.

“We’re built on rock,” he said. “Our homes don’t slide around like they do up north.”

The 11 homes on the tour are all from North Oak Cliff neighborhoods.

“I begged both the Oak Park Estates rep and the Kiestwood rep all year to find me a house in their neighborhoods and it didn’t work out,” said Amonett. “Kiestwood has a promising house next year — a very cool mid-century that sits diagonally on their lot. The guy was just not ready right now.”

Kiestwood and Oak Park Estates, the two southernmost Oak Cliff neighborhoods, are both south of Kiest Park but inside Loop 12.

Amonett described the variety of houses included on this year’s tour.

“We have a new house built to look old, a new house built to look new, a house that is really two houses — one old and one new,” he said.

Angus Wynne Sr. built his own house in Wynnewood North on the highest point in the area. Wynne developed the neighborhood and its namesake shopping center that originally included department stores, offices and a hotel.

THIS OLD HOUSE  |  This Hampton Hills neighborhood home, within walking distance of Hampton Station, is one of the homes featured on this weekend’s Oak Cliff Tour of Homes. (Courtesy Old Oak Cliff Conservation League)
THIS OLD HOUSE | This Hampton Hills neighborhood home, within walking distance of Hampton Station, is one of the homes featured on this weekend’s Oak Cliff Tour of Homes. (Courtesy Old Oak Cliff Conservation League)

Chris Medsger is the current owner of the Wynne house. He said he has been updating the house since he purchased it four years ago when he moved back to Dallas.

He said that when he previously lived in Dallas, he lived on Turtle Creek Blvd.

“I thought Oak Cliff was down-market,” he said. But now he said he wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Tour organizers approached him about opening his house for the tour. The renovations were done, but he said he put in a new garden for the tour that covers half of his backyard.

Organizers told him to expect about 1,500 people to come through his house each day.

Amonett described the variety of homes included on the tour.

“Two of our homes are award winners,” Amonett said. “And one of our homeowners is in the middle of an election campaign.”

The Lake Cliff Historic District tour home won the Preservation Dallas 2010 award for “Best New Construction in a Historic District.”

“The home on North Oak Cliff Blvd. was named one of the 12 WOW houses in Dallas in this month’s D Home,” said Cox.

In addition to the 11 homes, Cliff Temple Baptist Church on Sunset Avenue, across the street from the main office of AIDS Arms, is also on the tour.

Cliff Temple, founded in 1898 is on the National Register of Historic Places and has a state historical marker. Amonett described the church as a liberal congregation with a number of LGBT members.

Last year the tour returned more than $20,000 to its member neighborhoods, Cox said, for a variety of projects. Some areas used the money for cleanup and crime prevention. Others used the money for projects such as updating a park.

“Family memberships come with purchase of two tickets and it’s not illegal to be a same-sex family at OOCCL,” said Amonett.

Old Oak Cliff Conservation League Fall Home Tour. Oct. 9–10, noon–6 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors over 60, children under 12 free. Available at Hunky’s in Oak Lawn or Oak Cliff and at Daniel Padilla Gallery, 838 W. Davis St. More information is at OOCCL.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 08, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas