February 2011..The initiative to study the possibility of having an LGBTQIA2..community
center here in Roanoke began. Several brief but telling community surveys were done
in the previous two years re. Communications in our community, and also interest
in a community center. An initial web site: GLBTRoanoke.com came out of those results
which indicated a dire need for communication, and the widespread desire for a visible,
effective community center.
The initial meeting in February 2011 was a call for interest, to gauge if our
community was willing to say “yes” let’s form a study committee to explore the idea
of a center. The attendees voted unanimously to begin that effort.
Initial efforts were made by the committee (about a dozen) to look at various
area community centers, discuss and create a basic flow plan and documents for Phase
I of the initiative, and to plan and conduct surveys of community leaders and of
our diverse community in general. The goal was to measure interest and support for
a possible center here in Roanoke. This would be the basis on which to either continue
to Phase II, or to stop the effort at the end of Phase I.
October 8th 2011..the committee reviewed all of the survey results and discussed
in depth those questions of community interest and support. The question of interest
was overwhelmingly positive from all segments of our community, as well as from community
leaders. Survey results re. potential for adequate support from the community and
leaders were mixed, however positive enough to deem it satisfactory. The decision
to proceed to Phase II was made, again by unanimous vote. From the survey results
obtained, it is clear that our community has a desire for a visible, supportive,
effective and fun community center here in Roanoke.
August 2012…The RDC obtained it’s long awaited 501 ( c ) (3) IRS tax status
as a non profit organization . Donations to the Roanoke Diversity Center are now
tax deductible to the extent of the law. Please consider helping us with this community-building
effort. Thank you.
September 2012 … The RDC effort continues...Join Us. We completed a Film Festival
at the Taubman Museum of Art and Shadowbox Cinema venues leading up to the Roanoke
Pride in the Park Festival, attended a large Centerlink - LGBT Community Center Summit
conference in Richmond, and we are now continuing efforts with a benefit fashion-talent-silent
auction show on Oct 13th at Arzu Restaurant here in downtown Roanoke. Please consider
attending and/or helping as you can with this event. Thank you ! Work will now also
proceed with RDC program development, fund raising/grant writing, volunteer development,
space research and budget projections. Do you have an idea for programming, do you
want to use your passion to push things along?? PLEASE join us..whether your commitment
can be large or small, short or long term, we want and need your help! We would love
to chat with you by e-mail, or in person at your convenience. You may also attend
one of our Board or subcommittee meetings if you wish.
November 2012….The RDC Board has begun planning for, and will be initiating in
the near future, several program elements in the areas of African American LGBT Young
Adult Support, and also Elderly LGBT Support. Please join us and be a part of this
planning and development process. All are welcome…and did we mention that we really
need your help? Thank you.
Several Board members will meeting with the director of Centerlink in Ft. Lauderdale,Fl
in mid November to discuss the RDC plans, what areas it may need assistance with,
etc etc. This is the national organization which supports many LGBT community centers
around the country, and the RDC is proud to be a member.
January 2013…The RDC has plans to move into its first operational space at MCC
Blue Ridge …ground floor, located at 806 Jamison Ave SE, Roanoke,VA 24013. This will
be our initial operating space …a safe, effective and comfortable space for all.
January 2013…The RDC welcomes Josh Olinger of VWCC - Human Rights Club leader
as a student intern for four months. The RDC welcomes Josh and says Thank you for
February 2013…The RDC prepares its first space at MCC Blue Ridge, to open Feb.
22nd ! Come join us!
February 22nd, 2013…The RDC has its grand opening! Thanks to all who have contributed
to seeing this vision come to fruition for our community! Join Us! We have initial
hours of: Sat..4pm-6pm, Sun 9am-11am, Wed & Fri..5:30pm-8pm.
March 2013….The RDC begins efforts in two program areas….Senior (50+) LGBT Support,
and African American (18+) LGBT Support. Initial community interest meetings are
held and follow-up events are scheduled. Participation in St Pat’s Parade, an Open
Mic night with 50 young-adult attendees/performers, participation in an LGBT marriage
equality(non-political) vigil event in downtown Roanoke. Initial planning for a week-long,
2nd annual RDC LGBT Film Fest and Pre-Pride Party in mid-Sept., -to be twice as large
as last years!