More catching up: On December 22nd I was thrilled to be honored by Las Buenas Amigas for work I have done on behalf of the Latino LGBT community over the past decade or so.
I was also really happy to share the stage with Maria "La Che" Berrio - the night's other honoree - who is truly an unsung hero for the countless hours that she has given as a volunteer and DJ for several community organizations and - particularly - for LBA.
I usually hesitate to accept these type of recognitions but in this case I just could not say 'no.' After all, of all the current Latino LGBT organizations in the city, LBA is the oldest having been founded in 1986. I also have counted many of its members as my personal friends and tried my best to provide support and guidance throughout some rough times and transition periods that the organization has seen. In short, this was my own family recognizing my work and much more special to me for that reason.
I have marched with LBA at the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan pride marches and, most memorably, at the non-gay Puerto Rican Day Parade. I have also been a long-time advocate for increased public and private funding for the organization - not an easy thing when most gay programs at health service organizations are driven by HIV prevention funding that often leaves out lesbian communities - and have been proud to be able to support their annual retreat for Latina lesbian and bisexual women - to my knowledge, the only such retreat in the United States - for more than 5 years.
At the holiday event, which took place at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan, I was taken aback by the warmth of the reception I received and the applause and said a few things about the importance of becoming politically involved in this presidential election cycle. I truly hope I also conveyed how special this recognition was to me on a personal level.
I still think I mumbled my words but the boyfriend and others seem to think it was a fine speech. I'd like to publicly thank Karla Saavedra, the organization's president, for her warm words of introduction and for extending the nomination.
Thanks so much!
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