Valiente, Dallas-Fort Worth’s Latino GLBT group, has more than tripled in size since forming last year, according to its officials.
The group formed with 12 people last December and now has 42 paid members. Its e-mail distribution reaches another 100 people.
“It’s been a great year,” said Fernando Sanchez, who was recently elected president for 2006. “I’m amazed at how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.”
The group’s new board of directors plans to develop a strategy to evaluate “where the group is and where it needs to go,” said Sanchez, who is one of the founding members.
“Strategic planning is not very easy, but it is necessary to do,” Sanchez said. “I think it will help us keep focused on our mission and help us stay on track in terms of what we are about.”
The members of the 2006 board are Sanchez, Juan Ayala, vice-president; Jesse Garcia, secretary; Alicia Molina, treasurer; Cesar Reyna, outgoing president, Gabriel Chapa, Joe Hernandez, Jr. and Cesar Ruiz.
Reyna, who did not seek re-election as president because of commitments to his studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, said in a statement he expects the formation of a board of directors would advance the group even more.
“With the leadership of these qualified and experienced individuals, we will begin tackling bigger projects and increasing our community outreach,” Reyna said.
In its first year Valiente raised $2,000 for AIDS Arms Lifewalk,
See VALIENTE on PAGE 12
helped with Spanish translation in the No Nonsense in November campaign and conducted the Coming Out Project in Spanish.
Sanchez said the Coming Out Project workshops were held as a trial run, and the group will offer it to the public in 2006. The workshops attracted a diverse group of people and ages, he said.
“We had a consistent show rate, and at one point there was 12 there,” Sanchez said. “It was a tremendous feeling to see them show up week after week.”
Sanchez said a group like Valiente was long overdue in Dallas-Fort Worth. It has attracted more Latino people to the greater GLBT community, he said.
“That was one of our first intentions when we formed the group was to reach out to those folks who don’t necessarily hang out on Cedar Springs and don’t venture out into gay areas,” Sanchez said. “I think we are headed in the right direction.”
The group always accommodates members who don’t speak English by translating the information, Sanchez said. Sometimes, the meetings are held entirely in Spanish, he said.
Sanchez, who is intake supervisor at AIDS Arms, said the board of directors would meet monthly, and a monthly general membership meeting schedule would soon be set. Meetings in 2006 will be combined business and social meetings, with business taken care of at the start of the meeting, he said.
“We’re going to make it more like a social event,” Valiente said.
For more information about the group and its meetings e-mail email@example.com.