Long Island GLBT Community Center Celebrates Black History Month

For this year’s Black History Month, the Long Island GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community Center at the Garden City Plaza is using an exhibition to commemorate a wide variety of people in the African American GLBT Community.

Pictures and short bios of basketball players, poets, civil rights activists and more surround the room of the exhibit, creating a collage of important historical figures that shed light on black women and men from the GLBT community. The exhibition, titled “The Spotlight Series,” was put together by a group of volunteers along with staff members of the Long Island GLBT Community Center. The exhibition is the first of many recently coordinated by staff members this February who hope to continue with a different theme each month. In March, they will turn their attention to Women’s Appreciation Month

The director of community initiatives, Craig Wiley, is one of the staff members who helped to coordinate the exhibit and said that they intended to show diversity within a group. He said that they try to cover various different aspects of society such as sports, music, law and entertainment.

The Black History Month “Spotlight Series” commemorates 15 different people from history and modern history, such as civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and Emmy Award-winning comedian and actress Wanda Sykes.

Rustin was known for being the chief organizer for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march in 1963. In his days, he organized many non-violent groups and later became a gay rights advocate. According to lgbthistory.com, before Rustin’s death in 1987 he said, “Twenty-five, thirty years ago, the barometer of human rights in the U.S. were black people. That is no longer true. The barometer for judging the character of people in regard to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual [or] lesbian.”

Sykes is praised for being one of the most entertaining women of her generation and, according to lgbthistorymonth.com, she was the first black and first openly gay master of ceremonies for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Both of her comedy specials “Sick and Tired” (2006) and “I’ma Be Me” (2009) were produced by HBO.

The Black History Month exhibition will remain showing until the end of February at 400 Garden City Plaza Suite 110.

-Claudia Balthazar

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