Meet Diversity Richmond – the new look and name for the Gay Community Center of Richmond
Read More: Carol Schall, Chief Alfred Durham, Chief Tarasovic, Diversity Richmond, Mark Herring, Mary Townley, Richmond gay community center, The Schall-Townley Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action.
It’s a new era for the Gay Community center of Richmond and the Richmond Gay Community Foundation after a new branding campaign has changed the name of the 16-year-old institution to Diversity Richmond.
A mix of local and state-wide VIPs were in attendance for the event which packed the Diversity Richmond (formerly GCCR) meeting hall to the brim.
“We have been supporting Richmond in ways large and small, and we decided it was time to more effectively tell our story, beginning with a new look and name,” said Bill Harrison, Executive Director of Diversity Richmond.
The foundation has donated over $850,000 to different groups in Richmond over the years, and the community center hosts numerous events weekly supporting Richmond’s sexual minority community.
The entire process of arriving at a new name and brand started with concerns the old monicker didn’t equally represent Richmond’s LGBTQ community.
“’Gay’ leaves out lots of groups,” said Harrison. “As one transgender friend told me, never been gay, am not gay, never will be gay.”
Under direction of the Foundation Board, Harrison began a community-wide needs assessment, asking not only what the community wanted from the center, but finding out what other needs were not being met in RVA’s LGBTQ community – from health groups, youth programs, arts and entertainment, and everything in between.
After taking the information collected from the needs assessment, the branding team of Kim Farlow and Lisa Cumbey worked with the board to developed the new look and name.
The new name, and the new rainbow logo (A combination of the rainbow pattern, a pink triangle, and the letters D and R), were welcomed with loud applause as it was unveiled before the crowd.
Attorney General Mark Herring was among those who came to show their support for the Richmond LGBTQ community and Diversity Richmond.
“I think the rebranding is great,” said Herring, before remarking on the pink sunglasses handed out to those in attendance.
“It’s exciting to be among a community that shares a common belief, that all people should be treated equally and fairly under the law, including our LGBT brothers and sisters,” he said. “We in Virginia are making tremendous strides toward equality, and thank’s to that hard work, Virginia is now a state working to protect students and teachers against bullying, and legal protections for same-sex couples including the right to marry.”
After a short speech, AG Herring then invited Carol Schall and Mary Townley, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, on stage and presented them with a new award created by Diversity Richmond aimed to recognize when someone demonstrates such an “extraordinary act for the citizens of Virginia.”
The award is appropriately named The Schall-Townley Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action.
“As a lawyer I’ve represented clients for 25 years, and being involved in any litigation is emotional and stressful,” said Herring relating to Schall and Townley’s legal fight.
“A case like there’s, involving the person you love, and that being recognized in your home state, and taking on a case against your state government… is an enormous burden,” said Herring. “And I can tell you they handled it with such poise.”
Herring also presented their daughter Emily with a $1,000 scholarship for college.
“[Emily] became a voice for the strong fight for equality… and through all of that, you handled it with grace and dignity,” said Herring as he handed Emily the award. “And you’ve been a role model for countless children of same-sex couples.”
Herring then stayed and helped honor 17 local non profit groups (listed below) supporting the LGBTQ community here in RVA.
Also present for the evenings festivities were former Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.
“When I first met [Tarasovic] he asked me where his gay cops where because they were not reflective of his community,” said Bill Harrison when he introduced the former chief. “When he said that nearly hit the ceiling and said ‘where am I?’” he joked.
Tarasovic, and Major Oddetta Johnson were honored for their work in Richmond, and helping spread LGBTQ to neighboring Henrico and Chesterfield Counties, both of which had members in attendance.
Richmond’s new Chief of Police, Chief Alfred Durham, was also present for the event. (Durham and Tarasovic pictured below)
Other awards and grants were distributed as follows:
Grants were presented to 16 community partners:
Black History Museum and Cultural Arts Center of Richmond
Fan Free Clinic
He, She, Ze and We
Jewish Family Services
Metropolitan Community Church
Minority Health Consortium
Richmond Region Tourism
Richmond Triangle Players
RVA Safe Zone
Southerners on New Ground
The Renewal Project
Virginia Anti Violence Project
Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
Virginia Historical Society
Virginia State University Rainbow Soul
“Phenomenal Awards” were presented to:
Chief Ray Tarasovic, Richmond City Police Department, Retired
Major Odetta Johnson, Richmond City Police Department
Richmond Business Alliance
Richmond Lesbian Feminists
Shirley Lesser, India Lipton and Sir Dylan Eli Lipton-Lesser
The Rev. Dr. Robin Gorseline
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