PAC goes statewide
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Mecklenburg Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) announced on June 28 that it is changing its operational model.
The organization, which up until just this past week had operated on a county level, has now gone statewide.
At its “Mingle with a Purpose: Remembering Stonewall. Moving Forward.” held at Cathode Azure, MeckPAC representatives explained the new structure. Jamie Hildreth, chair, shared that with the change the organization could now endorse candidates anywhere in the state, but its main focus would be on Mecklenburg County.
He also said that it seemed fitting to be doing this on the Stonewall Riots anniversary. With so much on the line this election season, and with the political climate that exists in a post-HB2 state and with the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, things could not be more crucial.
“People have been asking us to have a complete list of candidate endorsements,” Hildreth said, adding “Now is the time to do it.” MeckPAC’s goal is to have representation from Mecklenburg County in the North Carolina General Assembly.
He also said that the organization was unyielding in its attempts to support pro-equality Charlotte City Council members, pushing back against representatives like Greg Phibbs who voted against the non-discrimination ordinance.
Additionally, MeckPAC will begin preparation for the 2017 Charlotte city elections and will push for a progressive candidate to run in Phibbs district.
One key element of the change is that the organization’s priority is to work on “intersectionality of the LGBT community.”They are also working on ways to encourage the County Commission to provide funds to help reduce HIV/AIDS rates through providing for free PrEP for those with HIV/AIDS and more access to treatment.
During the meeting, attorney Connie Vetter shared MeckPAC’s historical approach. Afterward, a video by N.C. Rep. Chris Sgro was shown and Chaz Beasley highlighted the group’s state expansion efforts. Chelsea White with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network discussed HIV/AIDS funding and City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield will review the 2017 city elections’ season.
With restructuring the organization, new leadership had been announced as well. Board members are: Hildreth, chair; Emily Plauché, vice chair; Natalia Diez, treasurer; Ryan Morrice, director of communications; and Chris Turner and Jai Green, at-large board members. There is a vacancy on the board and it seeks to fill it once a viable person has been identified. For those who wish to serve, visit the MeckPAC website to apply.
Working to repeal HB2 while keeping the non-discrimination ordinance intact is necessary, Hildreth said, and advocacy and inclusion are a top priority.
TOY adds counseling to services
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center, 2320 N. Davidson St., has announced that it will begin to offer free individual, couples, family and group therapy in the summer of 2016.
The center will be able to provide these therapeutic services at no cost to LGBT youth ages 11-20.
“In our LGBTQ youth needs assessment, it was very clear that therapeutic services were at the top of the list,” said Executive Director Rodney Tucker. “After a lengthy search process, we are pleased to announce Courtney Hudson as our new therapist.”
Courtney has called many states home, from Texas to Minnesota, and landed in North Carolina in May of 2012. Since then, Hudson has established themself as an outpatient therapist and currently practices in Mooresville, N.C. They graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science and a Master’s of Social Work.
Hudson specializes in multiple modalities, using a systems perspective, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and other mindfulness-informed practices, all in effort to create a balance between mind, body and spirit. Hudson’s philosophy is simple: “never stop seeking your joy, your authentic self.”
“I am ecstatic to join Time Out Youth Center in their quest to create positive space within the LGBTQ community. When we learn to take care of ourselves on an individual level, we become more prepared to care for the collective,” said Hudson. “I can’t think of a more perfect space to create that type of positive momentum within society as a whole.”
To set an appointment, call Hudson at 704-344-8335, ext. 606, or email email@example.com.
In other news, TOY held its Lavendar Graduation on June 15. Nine youth graduates were honored. Charlotte City Councilmember Al Austin made an address to those in attendance. A reception celebration followed.
‘Oz’ party slated
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blumenthal Performing Arts’ LGBT Out on the Town affinity group will hold its “The Wizard of Oz” pre-show party on July 7, 6 p.m., at Blue Restaurant and Bar, 206 N. College St.
Members are able to take advantage of this opportunity by emailing their RSVPs to Brandon Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To sign up for the group, email name, email address and address to email@example.com. No dues are required, nor are there any officers or membership requirements.
Limited tickets are still available for the performance which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Belk Theatre, 130 N. Tryon St.
Other Out on the Town soirées this summer are on July 14 for “Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top” for a post-show party in the Upper Booth Playhouse lobby, 130 N. Tryon St., (free drinks and apps) and July 21 for “If/Then” at a location that will be announced soon. Join the group now and save $5 on tickets for the performance.
Church to install pastor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte, 7121 Orr Rd., will officially install Pastor Wanda Floyd as its interim clergy on July 31 at its Sunday service at 10:45 a.m.
Floyd is no stranger to the Carolinas and to the denomination. She was a founder of Imani Metropolitan Community Church in Durham, N.C. She has most recently served as interim pastor at Metropolitan Community Church Las Vegas in Nevada.
Center seeks volunteers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Freedom Center for Social Justice is searching for summer volunteers to help educate and disseminate information to local businesses and faith communities, in addition to promoting safety.
Volunteers will work on one or both of two campaigns, “Yes You Can Go” and “Do No Harm” campaign.
“Yes You Can Go” was commissioned by the center to serve as a direct affirmation for transgender individuals to use the restroom facility of their choice and according to their gender identity and expression. Volunteers would sign up businesses, companies, places of worship and organizations to make a long-term commitment to ensure the safety of transgender people who frequent their facilities.
“Do No Harm” campaign was launched last year as a way to ask clergy, lay persons and members of the community to pledge to Do No Harm through interpretation of holy text or other religious writings. This includes harm caused on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, race or other faith tradition. It also asked people to not obstruct the right of other citizens to have equal protection under the law.
The center hopes to gather several hundred volunteers for its outreach efforts.
Email A.J. Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Gubernatorial debate held
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was a showdown, but not in the OK Corral, as Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper went head to head in their first debate of the election season on June 24 at The Westin Hotel. It was held by the North Carolina Bar Association in conjunction with their annual meeting.
The two clashed on issues such as HB2, teacher pay, the economy, education, political parties and more.
Prior to the debate, LGBT advocates picketed the event. Signs said, “Repeal HB2,” “Y’all means all,” “We Are Not This,” “We Came to Slay Hate Bill 2,” among others urging lawmakers to repeal HB2. The protest was organized by the Human Rights Campaign who call the law “far-reaching.”
Scott Bishop shared the sentiments of protestors. “I think it’s sending the message that he [McCrory] actually agrees with HB2. It’s very contradictory. He’s on ‘Meet the Press’ saying that its badly crafted and it should be repealed and yet he’s doing nothing about that,” WCCB-TV reported.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.