PRIDE: MARCH 6, 2017 MEETING
by: Jannie M.
An organization representing the LGBTQ Community of Hampton Roads
Speaker: Louisa Strayhorn
Louisa Strayhorn faced roadblocks due to race and for being a woman. “My life has been led by joy and peace. You make a decision on how you lead your life.”
Ms. Strayhorn was the first and only African-American woman to be elected to the city Council and the first African-American woman to be named to the city’s Board of Education.
She ran for City Council in the late 1990’s so she could be viewed as a person, not as an African-American object. “Seeing people as objects is an act of violence and it hurts like emotional abuse,” she said. When running for re-election, she said opponents generated lies about her including that she had been arrested for having sex in the back seat of her car. She noted that her car had no back seat.
While serving on the board of education, she organized the female board members to vote as a unified block. She saw that there was no mention of African-American History in the public schools. Describing herself as “notorious,” she said she was the first to use the phrase “black children” during the meetings.
She served for two years as the first African-American Director of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance under Gov. Timothy Kaine. Her role was to increase the role of minority and women-owned businesses in the state.
In 2008, she began LSA Consulting LLC which specializes in a holistic approach to business development by educating individuals on existing business barriers and hidden obstacles they will discover.
Well known for her philanthropy, she developed the Positive Images program for at-risk youth while serving on the board of education. She also created the Minority Business Council and has presented many business education sessions to help minority and women business owners.
After seeing hatred, she said that “a peace came over me because I have many ways to serve the public.”
OTHER NEWS ANNOUNCED AT THE PRIDE MEETING:
- Pride will launch a twice weekly “Portrait Series” on Facebook to highlight members of the LGBTQ community in order to give them a platform and a voice.
- Two members of the “Teens With A Purpose- Queeriosity” group from a local high school performed strongly moving spoken word poems. One poem dealt with the emotional misconception that LGBTQ teens will end up in hell. “I am a human, not a gay, lesbian, trans….” The LGBTQ portion of that group will present examples of their work as a kickoff to Prideweek 2017 on June 11.
- Pride will participate for the second year in Ocean View’s (Norfolk) March 18 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Those who want to march should assemble on Evans St., off Tidewater Drive at 7 AM. Park at the Ocean View Elementary School and ride the shuttle bus to Evans St.
- Pride is a partner with the Navy’s during its 100 year celebration.
- The Norfolk Naval Shipyard has organized a LGBT Readiness Group, the first one on the East Coast.
- The City of Portsmouth has named its first LGBT Police Liaison Officer. The City has asked Pride to co-sponsor its first LGBT Art Show in the city’s history.
- In the 1990’s local cities wrote ordinances not allowing them to hire police officers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Times have changed in some cities, but Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk still have this ordinance on their books.
- The US Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads has been named the Grand Marshall of Pridefest’s Boat Parade, the only Pridefest in the country that presents a boat parade. Local headquarters has asked to borrow Pride’s various displays on local LGBT history.
- The Naro on Colley Ave. in Norfolk will present “Freedom To Marry” on Wed., March 29. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring will be a member of the discussion panel.