Brennan Lewis received the Peace First Prize.

Lewis gets Peace First award

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Brennan Lewis, a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was awarded one of five Peace First Prizes from the national Peace First non-profit organization in October. He will receive a two-year, $25,000 fellowship to further his peacemaking initiative.

Lewis, an Apex, N.C. native who uses “they” and “them” when referring to themself, helped to co-found Queer NC as a freshman at Enloe High School, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

The News & Observer also reported that Queer NC is a student-led group aimed at reaching out to gay, lesbian, transgender and other teens statewide whose identity falls outside biological sex. Four years later, the group has attracted 500 people to its Facebook page and drawn teens from as far as Beaufort County to its meet-ups and dances. Every summer, nearly 100 teens attend a leadership camp in Greensboro, N.C.

Brennan’s work with Queer NC came as a response to a growing need to find something tangible to do outside the norm, especially for an LGBT student who is already battling acceptance.

“We are constantly telling young people that when they grow up, they can change the world. But why wait? Our prize winners understand that young people can be just as effective as adults in leading positive change in our society,” stated Eric D. Dawson, president and co-founder of Peace First. “These young people are part of a larger movement to be the change they want to see in the world, and we are excited to support their work.”

To read more about Lewis from the News & Observer, go to


Ornament fundraiser ongoing

DURHAM, N.C. — Imani Metropolitan Community Church of Durham, 3602 C-View St., is engaged in decorating tree ornaments as a fundraiser for the church.

Participants can dedicate a Christmas ornament in honor of a loved one, or can purchase one for personal use. During December the pieces will adorn the nine-foot tree at the church. Decorate the item for $5 or have a church volunteer do it for $7.

All proceeds go toward the growth of the church and its ministries.


Coalition hosts holiday soirée

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition will hold its holiday party on Dec. 18, 6 p.m., at The Pour House Music Hall, 224 S. Blount St.

Deck out in an ugly holiday sweater and practice singing for a karaoke showdown. Door prizes will be given to the ugliest sweater around.

Afterward, head over to the Landmark Tavern, 117 E. Hargett St., for an after-party.

Tickets are $15 via check to NC Harm Reduction Coalition, P.O. Box13761, Durham, NC 27709 or via PayPal for $20 which includes a processing fee.

Contributions are also available for tickets on a sliding scale.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at and 704-531-9988,...