March 14, 2018 at 5:57 pm EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Comings & Goings
Blake Mariappa Narendra, Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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 comingsandgoings@washblade.com.

Congratulations to Tom Sommers, who was elected chair of Center Global. This is the organization within the DC Center supporting LGBTQ asylum seekers who’ve arrived in the area to start their new lives.

Center Global is in its fifth year and provides a safe, stable community along with financial and housing support to help asylum seekers who are legally present as they’re going through the multi-year asylum-application process. Asylum seekers, unlike refugees, receive no government aid and must rely on friends, family and organizations like ours to sustain themselves. Sommers said, “Our goal for 2018 is to continue the great work that Matt Corso and Eric Scharf began five years ago and to increase awareness of our efforts and needs to the larger DMV, LGBTQ community.”

Sommers has been involved with the D.C. LGBTQ community for seven years most recently serving on the LGBTQ National Task Force’s initiative to host the 30th Creating Change conference. He is also a past president of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) DC/Metro chapter.

He is a principal with Explorations & Insights, an insight-based communication and data-solutions company. Prior to that he was a senior account director with GfK Custom Research, NA; sales director with MarketTools (now MetrixLab); and a communications specialist with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Congratulations also to David Perez on his new position as senior director of Donor Relations at the Hispanic Federation (HF), which provides grants and services to a broad network of Latino non-profit agencies serving the most vulnerable members of the Hispanic community and advocates nationally with respect to the vital issues of education, health, immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment. HF programs include Proyecto Somos Orlando founded after the Pulse nightclub tragedy to provide bilingual wrap-around services and LGBTQ community education; Immigrants Get the Job Done coalition founded with Lin Manuel Miranda, and the UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program, which has raised $30 million to serve the immediate and long-term needs of families and communities in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Previously, Perez served as director of development for the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino civil rights volunteer membership organization in the U.S. He co-founded the annual Unión Hace La Fuerza Latino Institute at the Creating Change Conference, which annually gathers 250 LGBT Latino grassroots activists for a full day of networking and bilingual issue and skill-based training. David currently serves as the chair of the District of Columbia Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee and is on the Community Advisory Board for ¡Empodérate! Youth Center at La Clínica del Pueblo. He has received awards from The DC LGBT Center, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Next Generation Leadership Foundation, Capital Pride and Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence.

Finally, congratulations also to the new board members of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, an official, non-partisan congressional staff organization whose mission is to advance the interests of current as well as prospective members and the LGBT community at-large. The LGBT CSA is dedicated to developing the careers of its membership and advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. New board members are; President, Robert Edmonson, Chief of Staff, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Vice President, Christopher Cunningham, Legislative Assistant & Correspondent, Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT); Communications Director, Pablo A. Sierra-Carmona, Press Assistant, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA); Professional Development Director, Jayson Schimmenti, Legislative Assistant, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ); Social Events Director, Hector Colón, Legislative Correspondent, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY); Membership Director, Sarah Jackson, Legislative Assistant, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); At-Large Director, Christofer Horta, Policy Assistant, House Democratic Caucus; At-Large Director, Matthew Ramirez, Legislative Correspondent, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

LGBT Congressional Staff Association, gay news, Washington Blade

The new board of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. (Photo courtesy LGBT CSA)

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