Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Year Of Service

I won't lie. I had a childhood that most people may not of had. I grew up with 4 sisters and 2 brothers, and with parents who were still married and in love with each other. I had a house with a front & back yard, attended top schools, and even had a chauffeur. I was blessed & privileged in many ways. But I was also blessed to have parents who instilled discipline in me and my siblings and who taught us the lesson of giving back to your community through civic engagement. As a result, I have always taken time to make a conscious effort to engage in volunteerism.

This year of service, however has perhaps been the biggest and most challenging volunteer endeavor I have ever undertaken. And funny enough, I love it. Not every moment, of course, but most of it. Serving at Harlem RBI, a youth development organization in East Harlem, was a great reminder that many are not as privileged as I have been growing up. As much as I have given to the City of New York this past year, I feel the city has given me back just as much.

It is hard, but it really is about how much you put in and how much you want to capitalize on this journey and how much you want to walk away with.

And when the going gets really tough, I always remember what Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Buford says at every chance she gets, "This year really isn't about you. It's about service. It's a real sacrifice."    

Public service is a large part of who I am today. This is what I live for. For me it's as simple as that.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Know Gays Aloud!

Art for Change is pleased to present Know Gays Aloud featuring artists, D. Shayne Aldrich, Ryan William Turley, Christopher Udemezue, Micaela Anaya, , Darlene Ascbacher, Olivia Frazao, Paul Baker Prindle, Felipe Baeza, Rory Golden, Rochelle Williams, Nicole Goodwin, Ivan Velez, Michael J. DiRaimondo and Cecilia Givens.

Spoken word performance by Nicole Goodwin.

The LGBT community has struggled to ensure equality of their civil liberties for over three decades. Though there has been significant progress in obtaining equal rights in the United States, such as the recent vote that passed a marriage equality law in New York, violence still persists against the LGBT community especially in minority populations. The increase in hostility towards the LGBT community in the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa has led to a rise in murders and teen suicides, notably for the transgendered. In Puerto Rico, even though murders of transgendered are becoming more frequent, the government is seeking to take these crimes off of the list of hate crimes, further justifying these acts of violence. This exhibition aims to expose the violence and prejudice that LGBT communities of color have endured through systematic cultural and religious persecution. Art for Change seeks work that reacts to this injustice.

Photo by Rory Golden

AfC will have gallery hours are on Saturdays from 1:00PM to 5:00PM throughout the duration of the show.