The city of Dallas’ LGBT Task Force celebrates national Gay Pride Month beginning at noon Wednesday, June 10, when the Task Force chairman, Councilman Adam Medrano of District 2, presents a proclamation signed by Mayor Mike Rawlings in Room 6EN — the Flag Room — at City Hall.
Here’s a schedule of other Pride events taking place this month:
• June 10, 6 p.m.: LGBT Rainbow Book Club and discussion at the North Oak Cliff Branch Library, 302 W. 10th St. Refreshments will be served. Bring your favorite LGBT book. June is also LGBT Book Month, and the Dallas Library will be Tweeting a new book recommendation each day this month.
• June 13: Bahama Beach LGBT Day, 1895 Campfire Circle. Guests should indicate that they are attending for LGBT Day to receive reduced admission ($9, down from $15).
• June 26, 1-5 p.m.: Children’s Rainbow Crafts and Movie, at the Children’s Center at the J Erik Jonsson Central Library, with children and families invited to make fun rainbow crafts and relax with a family-friendly movie. Drop-in crafts start at 1 p.m., and the movie starts at 2 p.m.
• June 27, 4-7 p.m.: Rainbow Family Day at Dallas City Hall Plaza, 500 Marilla St., with activities for the whole family.
UPDATE: Because of the weather, the event has been postponed. We’ll let you know when it’s been rescheduled.
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.
Keith Boykin, author of Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies and Denial in Black America, will speak at United Black Ellument on Wednesday. He is touring in support of his latest book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home.
Boykin is a CNBC contributor, a BET columnist and a New York Times best-selling author of four books.
Educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, Boykin attended law school with President Barack Obama and served in the White House as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. In 1997, Clinton appointed him, along with Coretta Scott King and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, to the U.S. presidential trade delegation to Zimbabwe.
UPDATE: Keith Boykin contacted Resource Center Dallas this afternoon to cancel his appearance at U-BE. He will be appearing on MSNBC talking about the Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage that are being heard today and tomorrow. He plans to reschedule his appearance in Dallas.
Three-time Lambda Book Award nominee Keith Boykin will speak at United Black Ellument on Wednesday about his latest book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home.
U-BE is a program of Resource Center Dallas that meets in Deep Ellum.
Boykin is a CNBC contributor, a BET columnist and a New York Times best-selling author of four books including Beyond the Low Down: Sex, Lies & Denial in Black America.
While police stressed the importance of reporting crimes and remaining active in neighborhood crime watches to specifically address their concerns within their community, those who attended mentioned the need for police to reach out to organizations.
U-BE program director Ruben Ramirez said the attendance of about 30 people was a positive showing despite the forum’s cancellation last minute on Monday due a power outage from weather conditions.
Ramirez said the most important thing that came from the community was the visibility of the African-American LGBT community and their communication and expectations with Dallas police, calling it “a great start to a community discussion that was long overdue.”
Senior Pastor at the Living Faith Covenant Church Alex Byrd led the forum’s discussion, which he said was “part of a greater conversation about violence against people just for being who they are.”
“These conversations are important, I think, for us to talk about it in our context and then to broaden that scope into the context of what’s happening in our various communities,” Byrd said.
Action steps were discussed at the end of the meeting to bring more awareness to the community about active black LGBT organizations by printing cards and distributing them, as well as becoming active in police diversity training.
“I think the conversation was very fluid and was definitely relevant to what’s going on in the community,” Ramirez said. “The community spoke and I believe the Dallas Police Department was able to address many of the issues.”
Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the DPD, said she thought the meeting went well because she brought police officers with her, so the group could see first-hand that more police are comfortable discussing LGBT issues and concerns.
After the meeting, she said many participants offered to volunteer to help with police training and expressed interest working with the LGBT task force. However, she said there still needs to be representation on crime watches so concerns are addressed directly to LGBT members’ communities.
Ramirez said other forums are likely to occur in the next couple of months after the action steps are worked out and greater involvement from the community is garnered.
A joint forum in response to last week’s anti-gay hate crime in Northeast Dallas was postponed Monday night because of a power outage resulting from widespread thunderstorms.
United Black Ellument, DFW Pride Movement and Resource Center Dallas are hosting the meeting, which has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, DFW Pride Movement Executive Director Derrick Spillman said.
Speakers in attendance will still be from the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals, Living Faith Covenant Church, the NAACP and the Dallas Police Department, focusing on “a community response to violence in the African-American community and the protection needed to prevent attacks,” Spillman wrote in an email.
The forum will be at the United Black Ellument Office, at 3116 Commerce St. Suite C, Dallas, Texas 75226.
The community is rallying together to prevent further violence after last week’s hate crimeattack of two gay men in Northeast Dallas.
United Black Ellument, DFW Pride Movement and Resource Center Dallas will host a meeting at 7 p.m. today that will focus on “a community response to violence in the African-American community and the protection needed to prevent attacks,” DFW Pride Movement Executive Director Derrick Spillman wrote in an email.
Those in attendance will hear from speakers from the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals, Living Faith Covenant Church, NAACP and the Dallas Police Department.
With the hate crime March 13 involving two black gay men who were beaten with baseball bats until they lost consciousness, Spillman wrote in the email that there is an urgency of various community leaders to address the protection of youth.
“With the recent acts of violence happening to young Black men in Dallas and across the country, no time is more important to hear the voices of a population at an increased risk, young Black gay/bi/SGL men,” Spillman wrote.
The meeting will be at the United Black Ellument Office, 3116 Commerce St., Suite C, Dallas.
Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, said police are still looking for possible suspects, described as five black men in their early 20s believed to be driving a dark four-door car with 24-inch rims the night of the assault.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Dallas police Detective Chris Anderson at 214-671-3616.
United Black Ellument, a social and support group for African-American men, has changed from an independent program to a program of Resource Center Dallas and will now be funded by the Texas Department of State Heath Services. U-BE’s staff became employees of RCD on May 1.
U-BE works to reduce HIV infection among young gay and bisexual African-American men through peer-to-peer education, program officials said.
The program, created by Dr. Susan Kegeles of the University of California, San Francisco in 2009, was previously funded by the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC was unable to continue funding beyond two years and UCSF looked for alternative sources of support but was unable to find any.
When DSHS stepped in and agreed to fund the program, the Texas agency looked for partners they have worked with successfully in the past to administer it and chose to partner with RCD.
RCD will maintain the program’s current space on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum.
Program director Ruben Ramirez said the office will remain open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We’re providing a safe space to socialize,” Ramirez said. “To talk in a judgment-free zone.”
He said many of the men who attend have no other place to go and meet people like them.
The program includes a social component with everything from bowling or crawfish boils to an evening of coffee and conversation, he said. But it also includes a prevention and skill-building component.
“We teach how to use a condom and do it properly,” Ramirez said. “How to negotiate safer-sex conversations with partners.”
Through separate funding to Kegeles, the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in San Francisco will continue evaluating U-BE and its impact on the community and providing technical assistance and training to the staff.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue the outreach and prevention efforts established by U-BE,” said RCD Executive Director Cece Cox. “This opportunity leverages the Center’s expertise in HIV prevention and outreach, still serving men who have sex with men as well as impacting a demographic that has been disproportionately impacted by HIV — the African-American community.”
3116 Commerce St., Suite C. More information and calendar at UBeDallas.org.