Equality Action NOW and Gender Health Center Hosts Coming Out Party
Come out, come out, wherever you are! ~ Harvey Milk
Equality Action NOW and the Gender Health Center are co-hosting an all-ages party to formally introduce the “coming out” of the first elected Board of Directors for E.A.N. on National Coming Out Day – Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at Hoppy Brewing Company (6300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95819) starting at 6:00pm.
Equality Action NOW is a nationally-known civil rights organization based in Sacramento and is at the forefront of speaking out and standing for the rights of all people since its inception. The organization was born moments after the November 2008 general election when President Obama was elected and Proposition 8 was voted into law which states that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
Tina Reynolds and her staff at Uptown Studios were devastated at the news that LGBTQ citizens had lost Marriage Equality here in California and set out immediately to create a web site and organize their first Marriage Equality rally and march at the state capitol to protest the new law. Several rallies, marches, protests, and equality events later and Equality Action NOW recently elected their first Board of Directors and have taken their first steps towards becoming a 501c3 non-profit.
The Gender Health Center is a non-profit service organization meeting the counseling needs of the LGBTQI community in Sacramento focusing on the “T” or transgender. The Center provides excellent counseling/therapy services to anyone who expresses the need as well as anyone who self-identifies or is perceived to be gender variant.
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and asexual. Founded in 1988, the day is observed by members of the LGBTQA community and their allies on October 11 (October 12 in the U.K.) each year.
There is a suggested donation for the coming out mixer of $5 to help cover the costs of the event and will go to both Equality Action NOW and the Gender Health Center to help with their programs. Paid donations will get you a wristband for happy hour drink prices all night long. Please bring the family as this is an all-ages event. In addition it is $2 taco night and half off appetizers after 9:30pm. A special gay trivia game will begin at 10pm.
MEET THE NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Tina Reynolds, co-founder of EAN was officially hired by the board as its first Executive Director. Reynolds, a long-time activist and business owner, along with her employees of Uptown Studios, an award-winning website and graphic design firm founded the organization within days after the 2008 general election where President Obama was elected and Prop 8 became law.
Today Equality Action NOW is one of the most visible and active civil rights organizations in the Sacramento region. In the beginning members focused on defeating Prop 8 and held huge rallies on the west steps of the state capitol. It wasn’t long before the organization diversified their efforts to include fighting for civil rights beside other minorities and disenfranchised people of color, sexual orientation, age, disabled, and those in poverty.
Elected as the first Chairman of the Board is a well-known Sacramento gay and civil rights activist, Ken Pierce. Pierce volunteered with Equality Action NOW early on as their Director of Public Relations and continues to serve in that capacity. Born and raised in Texas, Pierce moved to California in 1989. Since becoming EAN’s PR Director, he has worked hard to brand the organization as a premiere civil rights group who’s focus Is to “mobilize, motivate, activate, and educate” the public to the issues important to the group. This was Pierce’s second year on the Sacramento Pride Festival Organizing Committee. He works for Manpower during the day and has his own Public Relations Firm part-time. This year Pierce received the “Harvey Milk Activist Award” at the organization’s 2nd annual Harvey Milk Day event.
Vice-chairperson, "Vihil" Heather Vigil is a U.S. Navy Veteran from Woodland, CA. In 2003 she received her BA in Art History and Museum & Gallery Studies from Humboldt State University, in 2008 Vihil received her MBA in business development from Ashford University and has experience working in small business management, corporate accounting for small to large professional services firms and currently serves as an association membership director for four state-wide non-profit organizations based out of Sacramento. Vihil is also owner/primary photographer of Vihil Photographix, a Sacramento based fine art photography studio. As a regular supporter of the Crocker Art Museum, Vihil continues to spread a passion for the arts by encouraging others to explore the local arts attractions of Sacramento. Currently Vihil is developing a workshop series titled, "Business for the Artist" to be held in midtown Sacramento beginning January 2012.
Emily Bender is the current Treasurer for Equality Action Now. She is an active Community Organizer and volunteer for underserved populations, including gay rights and youth empowerment. She has been an adult adviser for the Friday Night Youth Group at the Gay & Lesbian Center for over nine years. Emily is a co-founding member of the 20s-Something Group that meets on Thursdays at the Center. She is a native of Nicaragua and has lived in Northern California for most of her life. Her formal education includes an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, a Master’s Certificate in Public & Nonprofit Leadership from Chapman University, and a B.A. in Rhetoric & Communications with a minor in Psychology from the University of California at Davis.
Rachel Pearman is a founding member and Secretary of the Equality Action Now Board of Directors. She received her undergraduate degree in Government, and is currently working on her Masters in Gender Equity in Teacher Education. In addition to EAN she has volunteered to raise funds for HIV/AIDS and with the Sacramento Pride organizing committee. She lives happily with her partner in Midtown Sacramento.
Rounding out Equality Action NOW’s board members at-large include:
Angela F. Luna serves as EAN’s education lead and author of the first LGBT history workbook, “In Celebration of Harvey Milk” for grades 4 through 12.
Benancio Garza (20), college student, Christian, and EAN’s youngest board member. Garza is director and creator of EAN’s “Youth Force” dedicated to motivating, activating, and educating our youth and future leaders.
Enrique Manjarrez has been an activist for 5+ years fighting for queer youth and pro LGBT legislation. Manjarrez works for Breaking Barriers and is EAN’s Spanish Spokesperson.
Tyx Pulskamp is very active in the transgender community and works for STEP, Strategies to Empower People.
Sarah Barkawi, EAN’s straight ally recently had a commitment ceremony with partner Eli. Until there is full marriage equality for all, the couple stands in support. Barkawi also volunteers for the Matthew Sheppard Foundation.