Celebration of Life set for Anthony ‘Celie’ Gurley

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Family and friends are invited to gather to celebrate the life of Anthony “Celie” Gurley on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 3-5 p.m. in the Granite Bar at S4. Those who plan to attend are asked to RSVP on Facebook to help organizers in planning the event.

Gurley’s body was found Oct. 4 in a field near the restaurant where he worked in Anna, Texas, just north of Dallas on I-45. He had been missing since Sunday afternoon, Sept. 18, when he left work early, around 1 p.m., saying he didn’t feel well. The Collin County Medical Examiner has not yet determined a cause of death.

Gurley lived in Anna with his mother and sister. The family has already held a private funeral service.

Blake Deeter, who is organizing the celebration of life for Saturday, said that Caven Enterprises is donating the use of the venue for the service, and Uncle Julio’s, where Gurley worked as a server, is donating food for the event. Juan Gaviota Flowers is donating flowers.

There will be a video wall featuring photos of Gurley — known to his many friends as Miss Celie — throughout his life, and displays of memorabilia will also be set up for the service.

Organizers will be accepting contributions, which will be donated in his name to Resource Center, as his family requested, Deeter said.

For more information, check the Facebook page.

—  Tammye Nash

Get ready for the PrEP Rally!

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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis — PrEP for short — is a a daily regime of medicines for HIV-negative individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection intended to help them keep from becoming HIV-positive. It is, Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said, “one of the tools” that people can use to avoid HIV infection.

But it is, possibly, a greatly under-utilized tool, McDonnell said, maybe because people just aren’t familiar with it and how it works.

Resource Center‘s United Black Ellument and Team Friendly DFW, an organization focused on fighting the stigma that too often accompanies  an HIV-positive status, aim to change that. And they plan to start with the PrEP Rally set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 2-5 p.m. at Resource Center, 5750 Cedar Springs Road.

Those who attend will learn what PrEP is, how it works, and if it is right for them, as medical professionals and community volunteers share their own PrEP stories and talk about Resource Center’s plan to launch its own PrEP clinic soon.

“We will be launching a PrEP clinic sometime later this fall or early next year,” McDonnell said, adding that center officials are already working to line-up the volunteer medical professionals necessary to operate the clinic.

“We need medical professionals to do the necessary blood work for those who come in, and to talk to people about PrEP and whether it’s right for them,” he explained.

“Right now, Tarrant County is the only public health clinic in the state of Texas that operates a PrEP clinic,” McDonnell continued. “We’d love to see Dallas County start a similar program here. It’s likely that a county PrEP clinic would reach people that the Resource Center couldn’t reach, and we’d reach people the county couldn’t reach.”

The PrEP Rally will include food and beverages for those attending, but McDonnell encouraged interested persons to RSVP quickly because seating is limited. Admission is free, but those who want to attend should register here to guarantee their seat.

For more information visit UBEDallas.org/PrEP16.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Resource Center names 5 Factor recipients

steve kembleResource Center’s annual 5 Factor — which honors five individuals or organizations for their commitment to the community in five areas — has announced the recipients for 2016. They are:

Culinary: Culinaire food and beverage concepts

Media: Steve Kemble, pictured

Community: Chris Bengston, Caven Enterprises

Government: Councilman Adam Medrano

Philanthropy: Rodd Gray, aka Patti LePlae Safe

The awards will be held on Sept. 23 at 7 for Parties in the Design District. Tickets are $65. Congrats!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Youth First art on display at ilume Gallerie

ilumeThe annual Youth First Art Show kicks off on Aug. 9 at the ilume GALLERIE, 4123 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 107, and runs through Aug. 12. Original art pieces included in the show center on the concept of love.

Meet the artists at a reception Wednesday, Aug. 10. Many of the youth in the art program use art as a form of therapy to cope with issues such as bullying, mental health struggles or a lack of family acceptance. Additionally, the art program has brought families together in support of their LGBT youth as they express their identity in a creative medium.

The Youth First Art Show was made possible through funding provided by the city of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. Pieces on display are available for purchase. All proceeds from the art show will benefit Resource Center’s Youth First program.

—  David Taffet

Legacy of Love Monument remains symbol of the community

Legacy of Love

Legacy of Love monument

On the day of the Orlando massacre at the LGBT nightclub Pulse, more than 1,000 people gathered at the new Resource Center for a vigil and then walked silently the 1.9 miles down Cedar Springs Road to the Legacy of Love Monument.

Since its completion in 2005, the Legacy of Love Monument has been the site of numerous protests, remembrances and celebrations.

After the Orlando massacre, it became a memorial site with flowers, notes and other artifacts left to honor the victims.

The Legacy of Love Monument was built by the Oak Lawn Committee through private donations. The organization maintains the monument and the landscaping around it. Over the years, a number of car crashes have done damage that was repaired mostly with insurance money. Graffiti that community members tried to remove ultimately had to cleaned off with an expensive power washing process.

Oak Lawn Committee president Brenda Marks issued a statement asking the community for help and setting up some guidelines for using the monument:

We are truly honored that our entire community has embraced the Legacy of Love Monument at the Oak Lawn Triangle as its own — our gathering place for memorials, tributes and celebrations.

Since designing and completing its construction in 2005, all of which was financed by private donations, the Oak Lawn Committee has worked hard to maintain it for the future, albeit with limited funds 
and many hours of volunteer commitment.  Our goal is to make sure it remains a beautiful symbol of the diversity and spirit of Oak Lawn for many years to come.

With that in mind, we respectfully ask everyone to please refrain from taping things to, and writing on, the Monument.  
If candles are placed at the Monument, please make sure they are in containers that prevent any wax from spilling onto the porous stone.  
Please do not use glass containers, as they tend to crack and splinter into many pieces and become a safety hazard.  
And please remember to pick up anything that you see that doesn’t belong there.  
Your help and understanding is truly appreciated.

Brenda Marks, President
The Oak Lawn Committee
June 20, 2016

—  David Taffet

Jack Evans has died

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Jack Evans, left, and his husband and partner of more than 55 years, George Harris

Jack Evans, 86, better known as half of “Jack and George,” has died. He had been in a rehab facility for several months.

Jack and George celebrated their 55th anniversary in February. They were the first couple married in Dallas County and their picture was featured on the front page of newspapers around the world a year ago this weekend after the marriage equality ruling.

Jack and George helped found many of Dallas’ LGBT organizations. Most recently, they founded The Dallas Way, the LGBT history project. That project began after telling their story to Dallas Voice before their 50th anniversary.

The couple held a religious marriage ceremony a year before their legal ceremony to protest the Methodist Church’s stand on same-sex marriage.

Jack and George served on the boards of Resource Center, Turtle Creek Chorale and Black Tie Dinner. They were awarded the Kuchling Award for service to the community.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 2 at Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road.

 

A statement from Dallas Mayor Rawlings on the death of Jack Evans.

 

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—  David Taffet

Community leaders meet with Police Chief Brown

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Resource Center CEO Cece Cox talks to reporters Tuesday after meeting with Police Chief David Brown, as Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats looks on. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox and a team of six other LGBT community leaders attended a meeting with Dallas Police Chief David Brown this afternoon (Tuesday, May 31) in which the chief “acknowledged that standing up with [anti-LGBT First Baptist Church pastor Robert] Jeffress has harmed the LGBT community,” Cox said.

In mid-April, at a press conference attended by Brown and former Mayor Tom Leppert, Jeffress announced that his church was offering counseling services to Dallas police officers, as well as offering summer camp scholarships — presumably to the First Baptist Chuch camp — to the children of police officers and holding weekly Sunday School classes specifically for officers. The church also honored Brown at an April 17 morning service.

Jeffress is widely known  for his anti-gay sermons and his condemnations of every religion other than his own. The same weekend that Resource Center opened it’s new building, Jeffress made statements declaring transgender-friendly businesses to be a bigger threat than ISIS.

Resource Center officials had asked for a meeting with Brown last week after issuing a statement condemning Jeffress’ anti-trans comments, according to the center’s communications and advocacy manager, Rafael McDonnell. McDonnell said they had received word Saturday that the chief wanted to meet with them, but did not know until about 10 a.m. today that Brown wanted to meet with them this afternoon.

Others attending the meeting were McDonnell, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Association President Patti Fink, Stonewall Democrats President Jay Narey, and Stonewall Democrats board member — and Young Stonewall and Take Back Oak Lawn member — Cannon Brown. City Councilman Adam Medrano was also there.

Cox said about 14 members of Brown’s staff were also present.

Cox said that while “We don’t agree on every single thing that got said today,” she and the other community leaders “felt heard.”

Cox said that while Brown did not agree to “step away” from any association with Jeffress and First Baptist, he did agree to issue a statement acknowledging that he understands how that association could be harmful to the LGBT community.

Cox said Brown told the community leaders that he and the police department as a whole have a responsibility to the entire community, and that it is their job to “ensure everyone has free speech.” He also said that he doesn’t turn down invitations from any segment of the city’s population.

Cox said she and the other community leaders addressed the “18-plus unsolved attacks” that have happened in the Oak Lawn area since last September, and that the chief is committed to solving those crimes, as is the community. The chief and community leaders are also “all committed to continuing the dialog.”

“Oak Lawn has become dangerous in a way it has not been in decades,” Cox said, noting that many community members — for a variety of reasons — are reluctant to report crimes and if they report them, follow through by cooperating with police in the investigation. She said she believes Brown understands that and is committed to addressing those problems.

Cox said Brown acknowledged that the city’s crime rate has been rising, due largely to spikes in crime in Oak Lawn, in domestic violence and in drug-related incidents. He said the police force — which is shrinking in size and is one of the lowest-paid departments in the area — faces a number of barriers in addressing those increases.

“Dallas needs to get with the program and solve some big issues, micro and macro,” Cox said.

Cox said that she and other community leaders are working to find ways to offer resources other than those available through First Baptist, and that Tuesday’s meeting is just the beginning of what needs to be an ongoing dialog.

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Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats, Patti Fink of DGLA and Jay Narey of Stonewall Democrats

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North Texas GLBT Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda speaks to reporters

—  Tammye Nash

DVtv: Resource Center open house, Part 2

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As promised, here is Part 2 of the DVtv coverage of Resource Center’s grand opening/open house on Saturday, May 21. Thanks again to our on-air talent, Brad Pritchett, our camerawoman/editor Haley Richter and DVtv producer Israel Luna.

If you missed Part 1, watch it here.

—  Tammye Nash

DVtv: Resource Center shows off its new building

Part 1

Dallas Voice and DVtv were there Saturday, May 21, when Resource Center opened its gorgeous new facility to the public. You can David Taffet’s photos of the open house here. And watch Part 1 of DVtv’s coverage — that’s right, there was so much goodness it took two videos to cover it all — below.

Then watch Part 2 here.

—  Tammye Nash

New community center opens on Saturday

IMG_8224This is the picture I wanted to use for this week’s cover: Cece jumping for joy over the completion of the new community center.

We chose a different picture because either we lost her jumping or we lost the building. The picture is oblong and the paper is more square. And Cece didn’t want her stomach showing on thousands of copies of the paper distributed across the area.

One thing I didn’t get into the story is the donation wall, just inside the front door. Everyone who contributes to help pay off the remaining $344,000 will get their names on the donation wall. Cox said that they thought of cutting off the list at $100 or $250 or more, but this is a community center, built by the community and every donation is important. So she decided every name of every person (or company or foundation) that contributes belongs there.

Open house is Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stonewall Democrats holds a fundraiser and open house on Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m. Community groups are encouraged to use the facility. Contact the community center (the number’s the same: 214-528-0144) to reserve space.

Here are some more pictures of the new center:

—  David Taffet