Article by Gretchen Rachel Hammond
2017-01-08 – Windy City Times
It was a standing-room-only, enthusiastic audience who joined Affinity Community Services in burning the past for the freedom of a brighter tomorrow at the organization’s annual Burning Bowl event Jan. 7 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church on Chicago’s West Side.
Celebrated writer and storyteller Niki Gee served as MC for an afternoon that was as much about celebrating the strides Affinity has already made under the leadership of Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon as it was an exciting look into the future.
Affinity Board Chair Ebonie Davis said the organization intends to make full administrative and programming use of its new Bronzeville headquarters.
“It’s a new beginning for Affinity,” she asserted, “where we’re able to honor and serve Black LGBTQ women and other LGBTQ communities of color in health, wellness and safety, education and civic engagement.”
The keynote address was delivered by Department of Children and Family Services ( DCFS ) Statewide LGBT Coordinator Jane Kelly. She spoke at length about the agency’s work on LGBTQ foster youth, and the need for more people to get engaged in helping foster care youth.
This year’s Robbie Smith Award was presented by Mary Morten to beloved educator, writer and Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame 1996 inductee Jackie Anderson, who received the honor to a prolonged standing ovation.
Warrior poet E. Nina Jay and musician and storyteller Jace William provided the afternoon’s entertainment.
The Studs for Life organization supervised the burning.
For more information about Affinity, visit www.affinity95.org .