ROSMY Celebrates Spring and Recognizes “Catalysts” in the Community
Photo of last years Springtime Event via Friends of ROSMY Facebook page
A celebration of LGBTQ youth advocacy is set to take place Saturday April 20th at the Hippodrome Theatre. Richmond based ROSMY is presenting it’s 6th annual awards ceremony, “Springtime, A Jazzy Affair”, a gala and reception that recognizes those who have supported LGBTQ youth in Richmond.
The Catalyst awards, given to those recognized for their work, are a time to celebrate and give recognition to those in the surrounding community who have gone great lengths to further the advocacy of social acceptance for LGBTQ youth.
The awards reception originally started as Sunday brunch for ROSMY supporters, explained Beth Panilaitis, ROSMY’s Executive Director. “It basically started as a way to bring together supporters annually and also individuals in the community who have really contributed to make change on the behalf of LGBTQ youth,” she said.
This year, ROSMY will be handing out three awards to people or groups they felt made the greatest impact. This year’s recipients include The Valentine Richmond History Center, Congregation Beth Ahabah, and Ms. Dorothy Fillmore.
Panilaitis explains that each of them have done something a little different to further Richmond’s LGBTQ youth. “They all have done something to make sure the youth in our community are safe,” she said.
Dorothy Fillmore has been a long time advocate of LGBTQ acceptance and has made the movement a huge part of her life. Panilaitis noted that “for many years Dorothy has been a tireless advocate for all LGBTQ individuals, and serves as an incredible role model for LGBTQ youth.”
Congregation Beth Ahabah is a Jewish congregation that preaches acceptance of all individuals, regardless of sexuality; an issue that has taken a long for time for many other religions to accept. Panilaitis says that the congregation “is showing young people that it is possible to live a full, authentic life and be a person of faith, and that’s pretty incredible”
The Valentine Richmond History Center has been highlighting Richmond’s history for the past century, as is being awarded for their inclusion of LGBTQ history. “They have done such a great job highlighting the LGBTQ community, which provides young people not only with the opportunity to see their history, but to know that their history is important,” said Panilaitis.
ROSMY continues to be the only group in Richmond that provides support for LGBTQ youth ages 12-20, and, in 2012 alone, has trained 650 human service providers for school personnel to address the need of the population. It is through their work in the community that LGBTQ youth have a safe place to go. “Through our direct services at the youth center at Westwood Avenue, we provide critical support that no one else in the community is giving,” said Panilaitis.
Although ROSMY is the only group providing this support, they use the Catalyst awards as a way to show respect to other members of the community striving or the same goal. “This kind of event is a time for the community to support that work and support those programs,” said Panilaitis.
To come honor and support this community advocacy, tickets can be purchased on their website (www.rosmyspringtime.com) “Springtime: A Jazzy Affair” will take place Saturday April 20th at 7:00 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theatre.
“Times and culture have shifted and the organization has expanded over the course of 25 years toward building communities with LGBTQ+ youth, families, schools, and faith communities.”September 12, 2016
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