DIFFA/Dallas awards funds to Resource Center nutrition programs

Resource Center officials announced Wednesday, Oct. 8, that their agency has received a $22,500 award from the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS/Dallas (DIFFA/Dallas) for the center’s nutrition programs. The money was awarded at an event held Sept. 12 at Roche Bobois.

Resource Center offers nutritional services through its food pantry as well through its hot lunch program.

The pantry, which began in 1985 out of a cardboard box at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, is presently located 5450 Denton Drive Cutoff and serves around 1900 clients every month.

The center began a hot lunch programs for its clients in the early 1990s. It is one of two agencies in Dallas County providing hot meals in a nonresidential setting to those living with HIV/AIDS, making the critical link between nutrition and treatment adherence. More than 100 clients a day eat lunch at the center Monday through Friday.

DIFFA is the oldest and one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States. Founded in 1984, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities to provide over $38 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide.

With events including the House of DIFFA each spring, DIFFA/Dallas has granted nearly $7 million to organizations across North Texas, including Resource Center. March 2015 will mark the 25th anniversary of the House of DIFFA.

—  Tammye Nash

DIFFA donates $428k to HIV nonprofits

DIFFA Grant 2014-076

DIFFA/Dallas awarded $428,000 to HIV/AIDS organizations — include $330,000 18 to North Texas-based groups — at a party on Sept. 11 at Roche Bobois. Among the recipients of funds from the 2013-14 DIFFA season were AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas, Bryan’s House, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice, Resource Center and The Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

The 2014-15 season kicks off with Burgers & Burgundy on Oct. 3, followed quickly on Oct. 15 with an announcement party revealing this year’s Style Council ambassadors. Clint Bradley is once again the chairman of DIFFA/Dallas, and the spring Collection will return to the Omni Dallas Hotel.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

First Mississippi city to offer partner benefits

Wiseman

Mayor Parker Wiseman

Coming out matters. Knowing someone gay makes a difference.

Starkville, Miss. Mayor Parker Wiseman announced his city will offer partner benefits to its LGBT employees. This is the first city in Mississippi to do so, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Starkville, south of Tupelo and northeast of Jackson, has a population of about 24,000.

Wiseman is Paul Scott’s cousin. Scott is executive director of AIDS Services of Austin and former director of Equality Texas and Resource Center.

In May, Bay St. Louis, Miss. passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, the sixth one passed in the state. Starkville was one of the first make nondiscrimination its law.

—  David Taffet

Police investigating break in at Youth First

Youth First

Youth First after an overnight break in. (Photo courtesy of Resource Center)

A break in occurred at Youth First on Harry Hines Boulevard overnight, which Resource Center personnel discovered this morning.

Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said they discovered the burglary on Friday morning. He said it took place after hours Thursday night, after all youth had left the building.

The door to Youth First program director Mike Cruz’s door was kicked open. A karaoke machine, stereo system and several gaming systems were taken.

“It looks like when the Grinch stole Christmas,” McDonnell said.

He said when he was over at the facility earlier today, police were still dusting for fingerprints, and they’re still totaling up what was taken. They’re also looking into what will be covered by insurance and how large the deductible is.

“The computers appear intact,” he said.

Anyone with information should contact Det. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison with the Dallas Police Department. Her number is 214-490-0541.

As a side note from Dallas Voice, anyone with Microsoft, a retailer or any or any other company or donor who would like to help Youth First replace what was taken may contact Cameron Hernholm at Resource Center at 214-528-0144.

—  David Taffet

Long time volunteer and activist Chet Flake dies

Flake.Chet

Chet Flake

Longtime Dallas activist and volunteer Chet Flake has died.

Flake is predeceased by his partner Bud Knight. Together, they won Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Award in 2011. The award was posthumous for Knight, who died in November 2010.

The couple was together for 45 years. They married in Vancouver in 2005.

Flake volunteered at Resource Center since 2003.

“We miss him already,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said. “Chet volunteered here at the front desk at the community center and at Nelson Tebedo. He was on the front lines. So many people who came to the community center and clinic interacted with him. He made them feel comforted and welcome and encouraged the staff and other volunteers.”

In addition, the couple participated in Oak Lawn Community Center’s Buddy Project and was an early Turtle Creek Chorale volunteer. He’s a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church where he volunteered. Flake and Knight raised thousands of dollars for LifeWalk, where they billed themselves as the “oldest walkers.”

Flake was a teacher and later a school administrator in Southern California. He became a consultant in math and science for Xerox Corp. and Ginn Publishing Company.

Memorial service will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Aug. 16 at 10 a.m.

—  David Taffet

2014 Pride parade grand marshals named

grand marshals

The 2014 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade grand marshals are Rafael McDonnell, left, and the Rev. Carol West

With nearly 1,600 votes cast by the community, the Rev. Carol West and Rafael McDaniel have been chosen as grand marshals of the 2014 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

West is the pastor of Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth. She was called in 1998 by the then 35-member congregation to lead the church which now has grown to more than 500 members. In 2010, West was named winner of the Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Humanitarian Award.

McDonnell is communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center. He worked 16 years in broadcast news, including seven years as an assignment editor for Fox 4 News in Dallas. In May 2008, became the first person to hold the job of communications manager for the center.

Watch for more about this year’s grand marshals in the Friday, Aug. 1 issue of Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

RC announces 5 Factor honorees

dalehansen

Dale Hansen

The sixth annual 5 Factor — the celebration of those in the North Texas community who work for gay rights and HIV activism — returns in September, but we already know who the Resource Center has tapped to honor.

The event identifies people and businesses in five categories – Media, Government, Commerce, Culinary and Philanthropy — who have made a difference. Here are this year’s selections:

Media: Dale Hansen, the WFAA sports director whose commentaries about gays in sports, especially his defense of Michael Sam coming out prior to the NFL draft, made him a national icon.

Kingston.Philip

Philip Kingston

Government: Philip Kingston, the Dallas city councilmember who quickly became a friend of the gay community.

Commerce: Whole Food Market, which donates food to the Resource Center and other charities.

Culinary: Abraham Salum, the award-winning out chef-owner of Komali and Salum restaurants who often donates his time to culinary and charitable events.

Philanthropy: DIFFA, the charity whose annual fundraiser is one of the highlights of the social season and which contributes many thousands to HIV/AIDS research and treatment.

Admission is $50/person to the event at 7 for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. on Sept. 26. You can obtain tickets and more information here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Sister Helen Holy doesn’t walk off Amy Tilton’s show

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 9.05.23 AMSister Helen Holy, aka Paul J. Williams, and Johnny Humphrey appeared on that train wreck of a morning show hosted by the daughter of religious scam artist Robert Tilton.

The sister restrained herself from asking some of the questions we wanted to know like where were the show’s gay strippers or when did Suzie Humphreys became a crotchety old bigot.

While Humphrey talked about some of the programs of Resource Center, Sister Helen Holy did everything she could to avoid going to Midland. I could describe, but better to just watch it.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: United Black Ellument presents interfaith panel discussion postponed

UPDATE: Because of the weather, the event has been postponed. We’ll let you know when it’s been rescheduled.
UBE

 

This evening, I’ll be part of an interfaith panel sponsored by United Black Ellument. Everyone’s welcome to join us.

The event will be held at the SGI-USA Cultural Center at 13608 Midway Road just north of Alpha Road. Soka Gakkai International–USA (SGI) is a Buddhist association for peace, culture, and education. Members seek, through their practice of Buddhism, to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstance and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community.

The Buddhist faith is among the five that will be represented. I’ll be doing the Jews, and God only knows what will come out of my mouth. Hopefully, no one will ask me about Hannukah. I can’t stand Hannukah. Lots of other things to talk about us quirky, loudmouth left-wing Jews.

Islam, Christianity and Atheism will also be presented by members of those faiths and traditions.

United Black Ellument, a program of Resource Center, is dedicated to building Dallas’ young black gay and bisexual men’s community. By creating new ways for young men to come together, meet, socialize and support each other, U-BE provides alternative social events and opportunities for gay and bisexual men to promote their diversity, well-being and strength as individuals and as a community.

This evening’s event should be a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing a nice crowd.

—  David Taffet

AHF to open Out of the Closet on Cedar Springs

The thrift store will also have a full-service pharmacy and an HIV testing center

OutCloset2

PREP WORK | Contractors are finishing up at Out of the Closet, a thrift store that AHF is opening in the former Union Jack store on Cedar Springs. (Steve Ramos/Dallas Voice)

 

STEVE RAMOS  |  Senior Writer

The Out of the Closet Thrift Store that will be operated by the largest AIDS research and treatment nonprofit in the U.S. is set to open April 19 on Cedar Springs Road.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation took the recently closed Union Jack store and has been converting it into a building that will house not only a thrift store but a pharmacy and an HIV testing center as well. It’s a business model AHF uses in Florida, California and Ohio, but it’s the first in Texas.

“We have been operating thrift stores for 20-plus years,” said AHF Regional Director Bret Camp. “They’re very successful, and they have become icons and hubs in those cities’ gay neighborhoods.”

While the community has convenient access to other thrift stores, pharmacies and HIV testing centers, Out of the Closet is the first to offer what some might call an unusual amalgam of all those services.

“I’ve never gone to a thrift store that has a pharmacy and HIV testing,” Warren Wells said. “I kind of like it because I know there are people who don’t want to go to other places to get tested. They’re afraid someone will see them going in there.”

Camp said the model is unique and is designed to build community and unity and to expand access to HIV testing.

OutCloset1

TOUCH UPS | A contractor paints a door at Out of the Closet, which is set to open April 16. (Steve Ramos/ Dallas Voice)

“Someone saying they don’t want to go into a clinic to be tested for HIV speaks to the amount of stigma that is still associated with HIV,” Camp said. “AHF is providing multiple options, which include clinical, mobile or the thrift stores. We need all those options to eliminate the gaps in the service delivery system.”

The thrift store will be open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Camp said six employees have been hired, and they have a truck that will be used to pick up larger donations. The store will sell clothing, furniture and household goods. Camp said 96 cents of every dollar earned goes back into AHF services. The pharmacy, set to open at a later date, will be a full-service one.

“Opening the store where Union Jack used to be is part of the rebirth of Cedar Springs,” Camp said. “There’s new movement coming in there and new energy. We as a community are re-establishing our epicenter.”

A few doors down from Out of the Closet, renovation continues on other stores. A juice bar and a florist are expected to open soon.

“Any kind of movement is positive,” said Tony Vedda, president and CEO of North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. “The fact that Out of the Closet got in there so soon after Union Jack closed is pretty amazing.”

Vedda also supports the idea of an HIV testing center inside the retail store.

“People who have a phobia might not want to go in a clinic,” he said. “The fact that they have this thrift store model to fund and support their organization is good and smart. It’ll add some new life to the street.”

One block away, the Nelson Tebedo Community Clinic, operated by Resource Center, also offers HIV testing. Is it competition?

“We are anticipating that the people who are accessing testing in Out of the Closet are not the same population that is accessing testing at other locations,” Camp said. “We [agencies] all have different populations that want to get tested. We’re trying to make testing more mainstream. By putting it on The Strip, we can eliminate the stigma.”

Resource Center Cece Cox agrees that people should have choices about where to be tested for HIV.

“Given our 30-year track record and our highly qualified staff, people will still have a positive experience with Resource Center,” Cox said. “There are a lot of people who need to be tested. I know Resource Center does it in a very efficient, productive and compassionate way and has been doing that for many years.”

Cox added that having another place to get tested, such as Out of the Closet, might appeal to some people.

“It’s always a good thing when more people get tested,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 11, 2014.

—  Steve Ramos