Alston House benefit called a success
A Black History Month outing at D.C.’s Studio Theater and a post-theater reception at the nearby Playbill Café on Feb. 13 served as a “successful” benefit for the Wanda Alston House for LGBT homeless youth, according to Alston House official Brian Watson.
The Alston House, named after the late D.C. lesbian activist and city official Wanda Alston, provides housing and supportive services to homeless LGBT youth, “most of whom have been abandoned or kicked out of their homes because of their identity,” according to an announcement promoting the benefit.
The D.C. non-profit organization Transgender Health Empowerment created the Alston House and operates it through funding provided, in part, by the city and through private contributions.
Among those attending the benefit were D.C. Council member Sekou Biddle (D-At-Large), who is running to retain his seat in an upcoming special election; and three candidates competing against Biddle for the seat — former Ward 5 Council member Vincent Orange and candidates Jacque Patterson and Joshua Lopez.
Jeffrey Richardson, who was named earlier this month by Mayor Vincent Gray as director of the city’s Office of GLBT Affairs, also attended.
Others attending included gay activists Phil Pannell, Rick Rosendall, and Kurt Vorndran, who served as hosts of the event.
GLOV elects new leaders
Members of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), a D.C. group that monitors anti-LGBT hate crimes, elected A.J. Singletary as the group’s chair and Hassan Naveed as vice chair during GLOV’s annual meeting on Feb. 10.
Singletary and Naveed, who ran unopposed and were elected by acclamation, succeed Kelly Pickard and Joe Montoni, who served as the organization’s co-chairs during the past year.
At Singletary’s recommendation and with Naveed in agreement, members voted earlier in the meeting to change the leadership structure from two co-chairs with equal responsibilities to a chair and vice chair system.
Singletary, an Arkansas native, says he’s been a D.C. resident since 2008 and has been active with GLOV for the past three years. Naveed said he moved to D.C. last year from Santa Barbara, Calif., where he worked with an anti-LGBT violence group at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
GLOV is a project of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, which has offices and meeting space at 1318 U St., N.W. GLOV’s mission, according to a statement on its website, is to work to reduce violence against LGBT people through community outreach, education and monitoring of incidents of anti-LGBT hate crimes. The group also assists victims of anti-LGBT violence and participates in the training of D.C. police officers on LGBT-related issues.
Singletary said his objectives for GLOV in 2011 include expanding its outreach to lesbians and minorities within the LGBT community and continuing to work with the police department, the mayor’s office and the City Council to improve reporting of anti-LGBT violence and developing strategies to reduce hate violence against LGBT people. He said GLOV would continue to participate in police training on anti-LGBT violence.
He also called for GLOV to develop its own report on hate crimes targeting LGBT people in the District. The police department’s annual report on hate crimes has shown that the highest number of such crimes target LGBT people. But activists have long complained that the police report does not reflect the true number of anti-LGBT hate crimes, which they believe is far higher than the officially reported figure.