This special, one-time award is in dedication to the actions of each layer of government for recognizing June 2018 as “LGBTQ Pride Month.” For the first time in history, the city of Raleigh, the county of Wake, and the State of North Carolina declared, in unison, that LGBTQ people exist and should always be proud of who they are. Our LGBT Center turned ten this year. Ten years of service to this city, this county, and this state.
While we are aware that not all actions taken by our government have been in our favor, we cannot deny the historic steps taken by these entities to stand strong, especially in the political climate we find ourselves in.
Representatives from each layer will be on hand to accept their award, break bread, build community, and celebrate the ten year anniversary of one of the best LGBTQ Community Centers in the country.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is proud to recognize The State of North Carolina, Wake County, and the City of Raleigh with this special Decade of Service Award. Come help us thank our governmental leaders for their support at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.
Lee Storrow (he/him) joined the team at North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) four years ago and wanted to engage in work more directly tied to the LGBTQ experience than the broader public health work he was doing. With a passion for policy change, he was thrilled to lead network efforts that improved the lives of people living with HIV in North Carolina and the southern United States.
Anna Lineback, LGBT Center of Raleigh Board of Directors says…
“Lee has fought for accessible healthcare and wellness education, particularly focusing on vulnerable populations. Lee’s former work at Ipas advocated for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, and his work at the NC Alliance for Health reached out to North Carolinians to promote access to healthy food and reduce obesity and tobacco use. He now leads the charge for AIDS education and outreach through NCAAN.
Lee stood out to us as a fierce advocate for accessible healthcare and education. His work has reached the LGBTQ+ community at its intersections – those living in poverty, women and gender diverse communities, and people living with AIDS. He has already accomplished so much in his young career. The Board is proud to honor Lee as he continues to push health initiatives forward for LGBTQ folks and all North Carolinians.”
Lee feels the best way to make a difference in our community is through communication. “Contact your legislator and tell them you want them to invest in HIV treatment and prevention. With PREP and viral suppression, we have the tools to end new HIV transmission in the south, we just don’t have the political will to do it.”
Matt Martin, NCAAN’s Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, says…
“Lee is an exceptional and enthusiastic leader both here in North Carolina and nationally. Since starting my work in the HIV field, Lee has given me countless opportunities to grow as both an organizer and professional. He is literally the most approachable person I have ever met and NEVER meets a stranger. Lee’s picture is beside the dictionary’s definition of extrovert, which makes me, the picture beside introvert, sometimes anxious. But, Lee is able to play that role often, allowing me the autonomy of organizing in ways that work best for me.
“Working with Lee? ‘What a time to be alive!’ He is truly a ‘rising star’ for this Community and deserves every ounce of recognition for his work. I am very thankful to be able to call him my boss and my friend.”
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is proud to recognize Lee Storrow as our 2018 Rising Star of the Year. Come help us honor Lee at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.
Britt Ellis (she, her) became involved with the LGBTQ Community with the creation of Stonewall Sports-Raleigh in 2013. She had recently relocated to the area and was looking to meet new people. A friend invited her to join this new kickball league and 11 seasons later, here she is!
Jaci Field, LGBT Center of Raleigh Board of Directors member says “Britt has made a huge impact on life and acceptance for all in Raleigh since she burst on the scene a few years ago. Britt is a fierce and dedicated ally. She has a generous heart and unmatched dedication to making all feel welcome through sports and a welcoming spirit. Britt’s contributions to Raleigh and the GLBT community as an ally and volunteer are far reaching. Britt’s legacy as a volunteer and advocate are an example for us to live by.”
Stonewall Sports has allowed Britt to better understand herself, not only as an ally to the community, but as an overall person. It has, of course, helped her continue to enjoy sports as an adult, but also has given her the ability to further stretch her leadership skills. In 2015, Stonewall Sports Raleigh founder, Jonathan Melton, approached Britt, Paul Cash, and Wesley Scercy to head the creation of the Dodgeball and Volleyball leagues. This lead to her roles on the leadership board of Stonewall over the past 3 years as Volleyball Director & Events Director. From Britt’s time within Stonewall leadership, she realized her place within the community was to help bridge the gap between the LGBTQ Community and the Raleigh Community overall. She has used her connections to find sponsors as well as host events & fundraisers with traditionally “straight” establishments in the hopes of showing the LGBTQ community that there are so many places that are accepting of who they are that support them.
When asked about being an ally, Britt says, “Movements cannot gain momentum without the support of allies. It is important for those who do not live inside of these marginalized communities to educate themselves on how they can better help their fellow citizens who do face discrimination and oppression so we can help each other thrive. None of us were fortunate enough to choose the situation in which we were born into, but we do have a choice in what we do after that point. I want to use what I have been given to help open doors for others.”
“I first met ‘Pretti Britti’ about a year ago when I officially joined the Stonewall Sports-Raleigh Board, and it has been a pleasure knowing her ever since. She is what I call a ‘Queen Mother’ in the Stonewall Sports-Raleigh Community because she is very well known and respected.
“In her position on the Board and in her personal life, I have seen first-hand how Britti has championed what it takes to truly be an ally and leader in our community: being welcoming and open to hearing and responding to the needs of our community while being fearless in going to the mat for ‘her people’ … and make no mistake … we are all ‘her people.’” – Richard Flennory, Stonewall Sports Raleigh
Britt says, “Our fearless leader, James Miller, was the first out person I ever met. We attended UNC-W together 15 years ago (yikes) and met during our Media Ethics class. Watching James’ growth within the community has been an honor, and having someone in my corner as I began my work within the community has been absolutely invaluable. I had someone I could ask questions without judgement and come to for advice without hesitation. I know there are many times I will make a misstep, but having his steady support has helped to keep me moving forward.”
It stands to reason that we would be honoring Britt as Ally of the Year because so many of us can say that during some of our toughest moments, she was there to provide leadership, comfort, and guidance and during some of our best moments she was there to help us cheer, celebrate, and ‘live our best lives.’” – Richard Flennory.
Britt feels that the biggest thing we can do to make a difference is to simply be kind to one another. She says, “No matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, social status, economic class, etc., kindness costs us nothing. We are currently living in a fearful climate where we are being divided by labels. The more we look to each other with kindness in our hearts, the harder we will be to tear apart.”
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is proud to name Britt Ellis as our 2018 Ally of the Year. Come help us honor Britt at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.
Since 1999, AAS-C has been providing essential services to those in our Community who need help the most. They offer free testing services at their Raleigh offices and at special locations throughout the Triangle. Their prevention education programs are offered to youth organizations, prisons and shelters, schools, colleges and universities, substance abuse treatment facilities, and many other organizations. And they provide pantry services to anyone in the community in need.
Their CLEAR Program is a free, short-term counseling program for people living with HIV. CLEAR is CDC-backed, evidenced-based, and promotes healthy living. Clients meet one-on-one with a counselor for about one hour, once a week, for a minimum of five sessions and a maximum of 26 sessions, depending on the client’s specific health risks.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh proudly recognizes the Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina as our Organization of the Year.
From their award-winning, attention-grabbing events such as Drag Bingo, the annual AIDS Walk + 5K Run, the annual Red Ribbon Ride, the Red Ribbon Ball, and the renewal of their Works of Heart art auction, we are sure to find a way to contribute to the cause throughout the year. A quick glace on their Facebook Photos page shows how much fun we have at their events.
It’s all for a worthy cause. Alliance Executive Director, Hector Salgado, tells us that more than 26 tons of food were provided to those in need last year, and they are on target for providing more than 35 tons of food before 2018 ends. More than 2800 people know their HIV/STI infection status after the Alliance tested them last year. By the end of this year, another 3200 will know. And still, more than 84¢ of every dollar given to the Alliance goes directly to the people who need it the most.
“So often,” Hector says, “people come in for testing or help and reveal to us that they are LGBTQ. They are not only struggling with physical health issues but also with coming to terms with their attraction to someone of the same gender. We set them up with support groups in the area but, most often, we just allow them to talk, ask questions, and give caring support in a difficult time.
“We have the advantage of being an all-inclusive space that serves a lot of heterosexual people, so people can deal with their issues without being labeled as gay,” he continues. “We would like to expand our capacity to offer more of those kinds of services in the near future.”
Hector extends an invitation to all who want to help. The Alliance seeks Volunteers to help in all the phases of their work in our Community – being passionate about HIV, helping in the Pantry, helping during their events, or just wanting to use the Alliance’s space to hold 12-step and other kinds of groups.
LGBT Center of Raleigh Executive Director James Miller says, "The selection of Hector as the Executive Director, after their initial turmoil, was the best decision they could have made. He is responsive, adaptive, and ready to take the fight head on. Raleigh is lucky to have his leadership, and I am proud to call him a colleague."
It is with great pride that we recognize the Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina for all their work in our Community. Come help us honor the Alliance at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.
He / Him
Center Volunteer of the Year
Stop by the Center on almost any early Tuesday afternoon, and you will be greeted with a genuine smile, a handshake, and a wonderful Scottish accent. Colin McKerrell started volunteering in 2014 after his son came out. When he saw the negative attitudes exhibited to his son for being gay, Colin decided that he wanted to try to make a difference for others in the LGBTQ community. Colin says “I am deeply sympathetic. The LGBTQ community is very personal and positive to me. It is all personal with people on the phone. Being able to help a parent understand their child who just came out means the world to me.”
Colin is funny, lighthearted, and says he finds volunteering at the Center a joy. He has been happily married to his wife Ada for 38 years. Colin’s co-volunteer Lisa Leonard says “Colin is such an asset to the Center. In addition to his work on Out! Raleigh, he shows up every week to the Center and just does whatever needs to be done. From working the desk and training new volunteers, to tidying up, to being a great friend and ally, Colin does it all with a smile. I love working with him every week.”
Colin is a strong ally for the LGBTQ community. He coordinates Center events with his church, Umstead Park United Church of Christ, and served on the Out! Raleigh planning committee. Of all the programs at the Center, our Transgender Initiative has a special place in Colin’s heart. “Members of our Trans community are, without a doubt, some of the bravest people I know. They turn up, continually get put down, and still keep on.”
“Colin is one of the kindest, most genuine people you will ever meet. Everyone he encounters is made to feel welcome and included. He offers an open heart and a listening ear, while making sure that all who walk through the doors of the Center are heard and understood.” – Kelly Taylor, Assistant Director LGBT Center of Raleigh.
We are proud to recognize Colin McKerrell for his amazing work as the Center’s 2018 Center Volunteer of the Year. Come help us honor Colin at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center's Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.
She / Her
Program Volunteer of the Year
If you have sat on any event planning committee at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, you have met Alyssa. She applied for a Development and Communications internship at the Center in 2013. She got it, and never left. Alyssa became interested in working with the LGBTQ community when family members came out. She saw how they were treated and decided that she wanted to expand her knowledge while learning from other people’s experiences. Alyssa is the epitome of leading by example and has set the bar for all incoming interns at the Center.
Alyssa’s dedication to the Center reached far beyond her internship. She continued her work with us by starting as KidsZone assistant at Out! Raleigh in 2015. She participates on both our Out! Raleigh and Awards Gala planning committees, working hard and continually showing her commitment as an ally to the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
James Miller, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh says “Alyssa truly embodies the tenants of our Center – Love, Trust, and Faith. Whenever tasked, Alyssa jumps into action without question. Her dedication to the betterment of Raleigh stands as a testament that indeed, one person can change the world.”
“Alyssa embodies the essence of volunteering. As a steward of the community, she is always willing to help, jumps into the action without being asked, and cares so strongly. Alyssa is also fun to be around. Her sassy demeanor always keeps you on your toes and makes for a great time. I am so proud that she is receiving this award for all of her hard work planning KidsZone for Out Raleigh over the past 3 years. We’ll always remember #puppygate2017.” – Alex Thomas - Out! Raleigh Planning Committee member, former KidsZone Coordinator, and Center Volunteer of the Year 2017.
Alyssa spends untold hours doing things for the Center that most people never see. She coordinates logistics for KidsZone, attends planning committee meetings, searches for new ideas for events, and even brings a couple of people breakfast at Out! Raleigh. Her ongoing love of, and dedication to the Center is the reason she is our Program Volunteer of the Year.
We are proud to recognize Alyssa Canty for her amazing work as the Center’s 2018 Program Volunteer of the Year. Come help us honor Alyssa at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 5th as a part of the Center's Tenth Anniversary Celebration. #10Years10Reasons Tickets are available.