SOUTH BAY LGBT CENTER – Celebrating Pride, Unity and Equality One Step at a Time

[ 0 ] August 7, 2017 |

by tony reverditto –

 

Formerly known as the South Bay Lesbian and Gay Community Organization (SBLGCO), The South Bay LGBT Center came into existence in 1989, when ten women met and talked about the possibility of creating an organized lesbian and gay presence in the South Bay/Redondo Beach area.

A survey was conducted to determine what was needed and the interests of the community and Rick Hankus, owner of Ocean Diner in Hermosa Beach, opened their doors to host the new group’s first planning meeting. By December of 1989, the steering committee had incorporated SBLGCO as a nonprofit educational organization and had elected a board of directors.

In the summer of 1994 the name was changed to South Bay LGBT Center (SBC), in an attempt to better recognize the diversity within its walls and the current Board of Directors, comprised of Alphonzo Hicks, Gary North, Jams Dawson, Mary Simun and Mimi Hoang, worked hard to keep up with the times and the needs of the community they represent.

The South Bay LGBT Center exists to provide a variety of opportunities for the community to meet, interact, share ideas and work together on issues of mutual interest, providing social interaction, personal growth and political awareness, as they foster greater inclusion, acceptance and understanding of LGBT people and the community at large.

In August 2015, Alphonzo Hicks became the Board President and The Rage Monthly recently asked him about his vision for the organization.

“One of our main goals, is to promote The Center and its services to individuals and neighborhoods, who are not familiar with us and in turn, increase hours of operation. There are still times when I meet people living in the area, who are unaware there is a Center in the South Bay.” When asked about the organization’s outreach, he was happy to share their target areas, “Our Center not only serves the beach cities, but we also serve people living in South Los Angeles, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Compton and Gardena.”

“One of our main goals, is to promote The Center and its services to individuals and neighborhoods, who are not familiar with us and in turn, increase hours of operation.”

Hicks went on to explain what other unique programs and special events take place throughout the year. “We celebrate diversity with art shows that celebrate Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asia Pacific Heritage Month and Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month. The Center’s Pride Prom, held every June, was created to offer a safe space for LGBTQIA people of all ages who may not have had the opportunity to attend their high school’s prom with the person of their choice.”

He continued, “In addition to the Potluck Open House every third Friday, we have our LGBT Fashion Shows, Movie Nights, Transgender Support Group and Sunday Salon Series and The Center plans to create more programs and events to reach a larger scale of youth and minorities. We also have immediate plans to start a support program for family members who are just finding out their child is part of the LGBTQ+ community. And after our pride event concludes, we will start preparations for our annual Holiday and Anniversary Party, which will be held on Friday, December 1.”

Their next upcoming event this August, is the South Bay LGBT Center Annual Pride Picnic, which takes place on Sunday, August 20, at El Nido Park, 18301 Kingsdale Avenue in Redondo Beach, just behind the South Bay Galleria. Look for the SBC banner and rainbow flags in the handicap accessible location inside the park.

Guests are encouraged to bring games, musical instruments, chairs and blankets, and the menu includes chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie and turkey burgers, salad, chips and dip, desserts, soda and water. (Please note, alcohol is not permitted in the park.)

There will also be raffles and prizes happening throughout the day, with a free rapid HIV testing van, as well. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students and children under the age of 12 are free and can be purchased online at the center’s website.

For Pride Picnic tickets or for more information about the South Bay LGBT Center, email them at thecenter@southbaycenter.org, call 310.328.6550, or by checking out their website at: southbaycenter.org.

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Category: General, Long Beach, Los Angeles

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