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Monday, May 17, 2021

Join Us This Friday For
The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast!

Dear Center Community,

This Friday at noon, don't miss The Center’s annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, back this year as a free virtual community celebration open to all!
The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast began as a vision of City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, who founded the Breakfast with inaugural co-chairs Dr. Delores A. Jacobs and Commissioner Robert Gleason. For the past 13 years, this event has served to honor the memory of Harvey Milk, an influential civil rights activist and a pioneering openly gay elected official, and celebrate our San Diego LGBTQ community. It also provides an opportunity to recognize the amazing contributions of our LGBTQ elected and appointed officials, leaders, and allies and to celebrate those who are serving the community. This year's honorees will receive the Harvey Milk Community Service Award including:

Take What You Need
The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast has chosen Take What You Need to receive the Harvey Milk Community Service Award, acknowledging their leadership and impact in connecting community members to vital food resources. Take What You Need is a grassroots program distributing free food to those in need, and was founded by Darnelle Williams when he saw people in dire need of food and felt helpless. During the pandemic, since May 2020, Take What You Need has provided free groceries to San Diego households every Tuesday- serving an average of 190 households per week. Groceries are purchased with donations from the community, and no one is left out- they have bilingual volunteers on hand and each person who walks through the gate is given a bag to fill with food items of their choice, and is treated with the upmost respect, dignity and love. Darnelle Williams will accept the award on behalf of Take What You Need. 
The San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition
The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast has chosen the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition to receive the Harvey Milk Community Service Award. Founded in 2015 by Dwayne Crenshaw, the Coalition has been hard at work to realize its vision of “a strong, sustained and connected Black LGBTQ community in San Diego.” This past year they have made tremendous strides towards that vision, including ushering in a new 2021 Coalition Cabinet and achieving their status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In the six years since their founding, the Coalition has intentionally filled a gap here in San Diego, providing a space that uplifts and expressly serves the San Diego Black LGBTQ community. Vice President Ronald Epps will accept the award on behalf of the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition. 
This year’s event will take place virtually on Friday, May 21 at noon and will be free to view on The Center's social media platforms. We will be providing fun Watch Kits to those who sign up with creative ways to watch; please RSVP here to get the latest event information. The funds we raise at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will support The Center’s Emergency Fund, that allows us to continue to provide an extraordinary level of Emergency Services to our community during this pandemic.

We hope you will join us virtually, and in community, this Friday at noon!
In Solidarity!
- Cara Dessert (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Executive Officer
Last week, our partners at Human Resource Campaign shared that an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ measures are sweeping through state legislatures across the country, and 2021 has officially surpassed 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history. Among those bills enacted into law are:   
  • 7 anti-transgender sports bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia
  • 2 anti-LGBTQ education bills in Tennessee and Montana
  • 1 anti-transgender medical care ban bill in Arkansas
  • 1 anti-transgender birth certificate bill in Montana 
These bills represent a cruel effort to further stigmatize and discriminate against LGBTQ people across the country, specifically transgender youth. Our transgender and nonbinary community is under attack throughout the country, and we must all do more to support and stand with them in strong opposition to this hate and discrimination.
The Center condemns these oppressive and discriminatory laws and is committed to advocating for policies that better the lives and equity of everyone in our LGBTQ community, including our transgender and nonbinary siblings. If you’d like to become a Center Advocate, please sign up to receive policy actions at
- Rebekah Hook-Held (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer
The Center acknowledges and thanks Center Supporters and the Platinum level sponsor Manpower with Linda and Mel Katz for their generous sponsorship of the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. In celebration of the unity and spirit of the 13th Annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Linda and Mel are proud to support such an important event and the critical work The Center has done over the past year.

- Ian Johnson (Pronouns: He/Him/His)
Director of Development
The Center is delighted to welcome Bridgette Austin (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers) to the team as our new Senior Director of People & Culture.

Prior to joining The Center, Bridgette is a Navy Veteran with 25 years of leadership management experience and cultural diversity, most recently owning her own business and human relations and management consulting firm. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master of Business for Veterans and holds certificates in Project and Human Resource Management from Syracuse University and Cornell University, respectively. Bridgette is a member of the LGBTQ community and is really looking forward to helping The Center grow and reimagine our Center to ensure that our community is valued and welcomed, and strategically and intentionally focusing on implementing our strategic plan. Welcome Bridgette!
The Center would like to extend a warm welcome to new Board Member Sue Reynolds (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers). We look forward to her vision and leadership. Welcome, Sue! 

About Sue Reynolds: 
Sue Reynolds, a nationally recognized innovator and strategic leader in nonprofit affordable housing, is semi-retired and a consultant to nonprofits. She led the growth of nonprofit Community HousingWorks over the course of two decades and created affordable apartments and life-changing resident communities for over 9,000 residents in San Diego and statewide.  At Community HousingWorks, she proudly worked with The Center to initiate North Park Senior Apartments, San Diego’s first LGBTQ-affirming and affordable apartment community for seniors. Sue is active in the community, when she is not singing in the San Diego Women’s Chorus or hanging out with her wife Allison, she serves on the board of Price Philanthropies, Mayor Gloria’s Back to Work Task Force, San Diegans for Homes (voter solutions for affordable homes), and the San Diego Eviction Prevention Collaborative. Sue was raised in Ohio and obtained her Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Join us for events, trainings, discussion and support groups, and more via Zoom. Please visit our website, visit The Center's Facebook page, or call us at 619.800.4252 from 9am - 4pm or 619.800.4216 from 4pm - 9pm to find the right one for you. Below find just some of The Center's offerings:
Covered California has officially launched a new special-enrollment period to allow Californians to benefit from lower health insurance premiums-- no matter what their income levels are. This new special enrollment period runs through December 31, 2021!  Many Californians will be able to get a quality, name-brand health plan for as little as $1 per month or richer benefits for less than $100 per month, but only if they sign up for health coverage through Covered California. Those interested in learning more, call (800) 300-1506 or visit
The Center offers employees an amazing environment where community building, compassion, and care are uniquely combined with an insistent striving toward excellence and best practices. The Center is one of San Diego’s most exciting places to work, with staff renowned for dynamic and creative teamwork, professionalism, and unparalleled heart and dedication. Check out our job listings. 
We make it easy to share The Center's weekly E-News - just click this link and forward to a friend! If your friends would like to sign up to stay informed, they can sign up here:
If you are in crisis or considering suicide, you are not alone.
There are resources and help available for you:
  • Trans Lifeline: 1.877.565.8860 - For trans or nonbinary folx in the US
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1.866.488.7386 - For LGBT youth (18-24)
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1.800.273.8255 - For all ages & identities
  • San Diego Access and Crisis Line: 1.888.724.7240 - Free suicide prevention/intervention hotline in San Diego County
Copyright © 2021 San Diego LGBT Community Center, All rights reserved.

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