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Lesbian Council candidate leads in fundraising

Reeder again bests Silverman, Bonds



Dionne Bussey-Reeder, gay news, Washington Blade

Dionne Bussey-Reeder is running for an at-large D.C. Council seat. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Lesbian business woman Dionne Bussey-Reeder, who’s running as an independent for one of two at-large D.C. Council seats up for election this year, is ahead of all of the other at-large candidates in campaign fundraising, including incumbents Anita Bonds, a Democrat, and Elissa Silverman, an independent.

Bussey-Reeder’s lead in fundraising as of the Jan. 31 reporting period, in which she had a total of $53,685 raised, marks the second reporting period in a row that she has surpassed all rival candidates in money raised.

“I am truly humbled,” Bussey-Reeder said in a statement. “Because of more than three hundred individual donors, we doubled the amount raised by our opponent Elissa Silverman in the latest campaign fundraising report.

Silverman’s finance report shows she has raised a total of $25,126 as of Jan. 31.

Bussey-Reeder, 46, who owns Cheers at the Big Chair restaurant in the city’s Anacostia neighborhood, is considered Silverman’s main rival because the two are competing along with three other lesser-known candidates for an at-large seat that under D.C. law must go to a non-Democrat.

When contacted by the Blade, Silverman said she began her campaign fundraising on Jan. 15 and in just 15 days raised $25,126. She noted that it took Reeder 80 days to raise the $53,685 she reported in her Jan. 31 campaign finance report.

Silverman also pointed out that Reeder’s report shows she spent about $30,000 so far, much of it on a campaign consultant, and had $24,312 in cash on hand remaining as of the Jan. 31 reporting period. Silverman’s report shows she so far has spent $1,199.91 and has $23,926 in cash on hand.

“It doesn’t matter how much you have raised,” said Silverman. “It matters what you have left. And these numbers show we’re even.”

The others running for the “non-Democratic” seat are independent Omekongo Dibinga, Statehood Green Party candidate David Schwartzman, and Libertarian Party candidate Denise Hicks.

Dibinga’s finance report shows he has raised just $100 since he filed his name as a candidate. The Office of Campaign Finance website shows that neither Schwartzman nor Hicks has filed a finance report, indicating they have yet to raise funds for their campaigns.

Democrat Bonds, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, is being challenged by five Democrats in the June 19 Democratic primary – communications firm worker Aaron Holmes, real estate development company associate Marcus Goodwin, Chesapeake Climate Action Network official Jeremiah Lowery; and Smithsonian Institution employee and Ward 8 ANC Commissioner Sharece Crawford.

Campaign finance reports filed by the four candidates show they had raised the following sums as of Jan. 31: Bonds, $14,117; Goodwin, $66,267; Lowery, $26,127; and Holmes, $18,685. Crawford had not filed a finance report and is presumed not to have raised funds for her campaign as of Jan. 31.

Although Bonds is trailing three of her Democratic primary opponents in fundraising her widespread name recognition and support among many D.C. Democrats places her as the frontrunner in her race for re-election.

Under the city’s election law, the highest two vote-getters in the November general election will be declared the winner of the two at-large Council seats.

In a related development, two more gay candidates are expected to be on the ballot in the June 19 Democratic primary. Gay Democrat and longtime Ward 8 civic activist Phil Pannell is running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Democratic State Committee. Gay Democratic activist John Fanning is running for a seat on the Democratic State Committee from Ward 2.



HME Consulting and Advocacy stands on frontline of LGBTQ policy

Heidi Ellis is a consultant who doesn’t take clients ‘not aligned with my mission’



‘Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,’ says Heidi Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Ellis)

September is here, which means Congress and the D.C. Council return from their August recess and life for consultant Heidi Ellis quickly gets busy. 

Her days are filled with negotiating with Council members, phone calls with clients, and policy planning for advocacy groups. The organizations she represents are looking to her to help them push policy and she hopes to guide them to victory. 

Ellis’s company, HME Consulting and Advocacy, came after years of working in the public and private sectors as a consultant. In 2019, Ellis decided to shift her focus to work that stood at the center of the intersections in which she lives. She sought to figure out how she could better serve her community as a Black queer Latino woman. Ellis recognized that there was a niche for mission-driven consulting in the District. 

“I was sought out and recruited by a lot of organizations that wanted me and I took a beat, because I was like ‘Do I want to go back into a machine where even if I do effect change, I have to answer to someone?’”she said, in reference to consulting agencies that were in pursuit of her talent. Ultimately, she decided against continuing her work under another company. “By doing what I do, I have much more flexibility for one to say ‘Yes’ but also to say ‘No’.”

Although Ellis has considered going back to working in the corporate space, she still loves the flexibility of being able to be nimble as a private consultant. 

Although Ellis doesn’t work entirely in the advocacy space, her consulting clients still align with her personal values. She joked that she differs strongly from the stereotypical money-driven D.C. consultant who sports Brooks Brothers suits on K Street. 

“Even though I am a private consultant … my work is very much mission driven,” she said. “I don’t take any clients that are not aligned with my mission.”

Her mission is simple, Ellis is “committed to elevating issues that sit at the nexus of education, mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color.”

“The more marginalized you are, the more you suffer from the failures of policy and the gaps of service,” she said. 

As a consultant in the advocacy space, Ellis does the behind-the-scenes work for organizations to help correct these policy failures and close the gaps. Whether she is facilitating training for companies to better understand how to serve their LGBTQ communities, or she is on the frontline of education policy changes –– Ellis aims to only do work that she is passionate about.

She said that the balance of her combined passion and level-headedness help her to build trusting relationships with her clients and in the end, “Get stuff  done.”

Since starting her organization, some of her proudest work has been done with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition. The coalition is made up of more than 30 organizations that aim to advocate for investments and policy changes that affect LGBTQ lives. As a leader of this coalition, her services include policy support, facilitation, training, initiative development and organizational redesign. Since she began leading the coalition, they have raised more than $5 million of investments in LGBTQ programs.

Later this fall, she will work with the DC LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition along with the ANC Rainbow Caucus to convene the first LGBTQ+ Housing Summit from Nov. 29-30.

“The one thing we all recognize is that housing is the common denominator of every other social affliction facing LGBTQ communities,” she said.  

At the summit they will focus on the barriers within the current housing system and explore revitalized approaches to dealing with the current housing market. To pre-register for the event, visit the LGBTQ+ Housing Summit website.

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Comings & Goings

Former D.C. resident opens art gallery in San Francisco



Jonathan Carver Moore

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success.

Congratulations to Jonathan Carver Moore on opening his contemporary art gallery in San Francisco. The gallery specializes in working with emerging and established artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women. As the only openly gay Black male-owned gallery in San Francisco, Moore is committed to amplifying the voices of the often-underrepresented artists through a Black queer lens. He said, “I want the gallery to be a place where the LGBTQ+ community and people of color walk inside and see themselves knowing that they belong. I want us to be able to collect work from and support underrepresented artists who are often overlooked, but add some much value to our culture.”

Moore is also the founder of ARTUCATED, a digital journal that helps share, spotlight, and educate people about marginalized artists. Previously he was director of Donor Relations, Partnerships & Programming Director with the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco. He was Communications Manager, Rosenberg Foundation; and Associate Director of Public Relations, Out & Equal, San Francisco Bay Area. 

Moore earned his bachelor’s in Sociology, Women’s Studies, from George Washington University in D.C.; and his master’s in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications, also from George Washington University.

Congratulations also to Jim Bobick on having his paintings included in a permanent collection by Saks Fifth Avenue. He said, “I am thrilled Saks Fifth Avenue chose my art for its permanent collection. I have long been a customer of the store and an admirer of the fashion designers represented there. I am especially pleased to know my work is on public view in the Chevy Chase, Maryland store. Not only did I grow up in the area, for part of my education I attended art school nearby, where I had the good fortune of studying under the notable painter Allen Dester Carter of Washington, D.C., whose work is in the Smithsonian collection. My ties to the Washington area art scene and my love of Saks makes this professional moment especially important to me. I am grateful and honored the store chose my paintings for their collection.” 

He has had numerous exhibitions of his work, including: Gallery 101 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (solo); Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Fla. (group); Studio B “Delicacies” Washington, D.C. (group); Columbia Art Center “Abstract Paintings” (solo); and Gallery 50 “Freestyle” (solo) Rehoboth Beach, Del. He has been written about in several publications including Michael Mills, Jim Bobick Creates Landscapes of the Mind at Gallery 101, New Times; Arterpillar South Florida Arts Blog; Stefan Braham, Eclectic Expressions, Coastal Style Magazine; Artist Looks Beyond the Temporal Beauty, Coast Press.

He earned his bachelor’s in Visual Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, Fine Art; and attended the Maryland College of Art and Design. 

Jim Bobick
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Arts & Entertainment

2023 Best of LGBTQ DC Readers’ Choice Award Finalist Voting

Vote for your favorite finalists through October 2nd!



It is time to celebrate the best of LGBTQ+ DC! You nominated and now we have our finalists. Vote for your favorites in our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 2nd. Our 2023 Best of LGBTQ DC will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ DC Awards Party on October 19th and our special issue will come out on Friday, October 20th.

Thank you to our sponsors: ABSOLUT, Heineken, PEPCO, Shakers, Infinite Legacy.



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