January 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Mayor greets grant recipients at DC Eagle
BHT, gay news, Washington Blade

Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke at the Brother Help Thyself awards on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed representatives of 26 local LGBT organizations that received more than $81,000 in grants from the LGBT charitable group Brother Help Thyself at the group’s annual grant awards ceremony on Jan. 24 at the DC Eagle.

Bowser praised the work of BHT and its financial support for the wide range of LGBT community organizations that were named as its grant recipients. She also welcomed the DC Eagle, a gay bar that has been in business in the city for more than 30 years, to its new home at 3701 Benning Rd., N.E.

“I want to acknowledge the owners and friends and future patrons of the DC Eagle,” she said. “Let’s hear it for DC Eagle!”

Bowser noted that the Saturday afternoon event represented the Eagle’s “soft opening,” with its actual opening for its regular customers to take place soon.

Eagle co-owner Peter Lloyd also greeted the more than 100 people that turned out for the event but he didn’t say when the popular gay leather bar’s official grand opening was to take place.

“We were really thrilled to be back at the DC Eagle, which is where Brother Help Thyself basically formed and was created to begin helping the community,” said Jim Slattery, the group’s current president.

“So being able to come back at their new location for their first event was very satisfying,” he said. “And we look forward to many years of fun times here at the Eagle.”

Information posted on the BHT website says the group was founded in 1978 by four gay motorcycle clubs whose members frequented the DC Eagle when it operated out of its original downtown D.C. location.

Since its founding BHT has raised more than $2 million for dozens of LGBT charitable and community organizations serving the community in the D.C. and Baltimore areas, officials with BHT have said.

In addition to issuing grants to the 26 groups, BHT officials presented awards to three organizations, including the Washington Blade, and one individual in recognition of their support and services to the LGBT community.

BHT presented its Founders Award to the local services group Heart to Hand and its Billy Collison Award to the group Hope DC.

Slattery presented the BHT George Dotson Business Award to the Blade in recognition of the Blade’s role as a voice for the LGBT community and its longstanding support for BHT through its news coverage.

The group’s Anthony J. Bachrach Award was given to longtime BHT supporter and financial contributor Doug Mueller.

The size of the grants given to the 26 groups at the Jan. 24 event ranged from a high of $14,015 for the D.C.-based group HIPS (Helping Individual People Survive) to its smallest grant of $755 to Helping Our Brothers and Sisters (HOBS), also based in D.C.

HIPS provides services and support for what it describes as vulnerable population groups within the LGBT community, including sex workers and victims of sexual assault. HOBS provides financial assistance to LGBT people in immediate need of temporary support, with a special outreach to veterans.

Most of the grants issued at the awards ceremony at the DC Eagle were in the $1,000 to $10,000 range. Among the other recipients were the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, the LGBT youth advocacy and services group SMYAL, Rainbow History Project, Casa Ruby, the Latino GLBT History Project and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore.

Also receiving grants were chapters of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Metro D.C.; Carroll County, Md.; and Columbia-Howard Counties, also in Maryland.

Damien Ministries, a faith-based group providing services to people with HIV/AIDS, and New Ways Ministry, an LGBT supportive Catholic organization, received BHT grants along with two other faith-based groups: the Rainbow Youth Alliance of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Md.; and Charlie’s Place of St. Margaret’s Church Vestry.

In her remarks at the awards ceremony, Bowser told the gathering that her administration would be supportive of the city’s diverse nightlife businesses such as the DC Eagle.

“I know all of the agencies that affect nightlife, all of the agencies that are going to make sure we continue to have a diverse Washington, D.C.,” she said. “And we’re going to put the right people in place to do that.”

She added, “So stay in touch with us and also continue, continue, continue to make sure the issues that are affecting the LGBT community are front and center – front and center in front of our administration…Make sure I know about it so that we can put the best minds in the District of Columbia towards solutions.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • In her remarks at the awards ceremony, Bowser told the gathering that her administration would be supportive of the city’s diverse nightlife businesses such as the DC Eagle.
    “I know all of the agencies that affect nightlife, all of the agencies that are going to make sure we continue to have a diverse Washington, D.C.,” she said. “And we’re going to put the right people in place to do that.”
    –Blade
    *********************
    Really, Madame Mayor? We need more than the kind of empty promises and photo-ops you have demonstrated this week. That's what we got from Mayor Fenty, too.
    ˙
    How can what you promised at the Eagle be believed when your own police department is quietly stripping MPD's award-winning Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) of its policing duties and policing services for the tens of thousands of DC's LGBT residents and businesses?
    ˙
    How can what you promised be true when you haven't restored GLLU's experienced core unit to its previous 2008 strength of EIGHT sworn police officers?
    ˙
    How can your promises ring true to any of DC's LGBTs when your police department is harassing and discriminating against its own LGBT police officers?
    ˙
    Gallup informs us that at fully 10%, DC has the highest openly LGBT population in the country. How come there are not 400 open and out LGBT officers in the 4,000-sworn-members police department (MPD) for which you are now responsible?
    ˙
    And how many of your open and out LGBT police officers have been promoted to Lieutenant? How many of your open and out LGBT police officers have been promoted to Captain? Is there even ONE openly LGBT District Commander within DC's SEVEN police districts? How about among its half dozen Bureau Assistant Police Chiefs and Executive Directors?
    ˙
    Madame Mayor, you won't even stop the obvious homophobic/ transphobic discrimination within DC's Metropolitan Police Department. Why should DC's LGBTQs think you truly care about LGBTQ public safety, hate crimes and intimate partner violence?
    ˙
    And under those circumstances, why on earth should LGBTs in DC trust that THEIR police department will protect them, their LGBT loved ones, friends and vistors — whether they're in far NE DC or at 8th and U?
    ˙
    –brian

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