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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
November 24, 2006

Beyond Identities center honored at PACT anniversary


Cleveland--Wedged between a quarter-century anniversary in 2005 and hosting its parent organization�s 2007 national convention, People of All Colors Together-Cleveland put on a trio of modest events to celebrate their 26th anniversary, under the banner �Diversity . . . A Life Beyond Identities.�

The group, a local chapter of the National Association of Black and White Men Together, produced a video shown at last year�s national convention, and again at the anniversary banquet on November 18 at A Better Place restaurant, highlighting Cleveland�s attractions and showing many happy members of the chapter and their friends.

The weekend began with a November 17 cocktail party on the city�s west side, followed by a bar run. Twenty-three people attended the party.

On Saturday, 31 people gathered for the banquet, at which the annual ImPACT Award was presented to Beyond Identities Community Center. A program of the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland, the center focuses on sexual minority youth, especially those of color.

The banquet had representatives from both the local chapter and national office of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the Cleveland LGBT Center, TransFamily and the Log Cabin Republicans, in addition to representatives of BICC and PACT Cleveland�s sister group in Chicago.

Miquel Brazil, the new head of BICC, accepted the award, telling the crowd about the history of his organization and its future plans, including a $2.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will be used to institute a program based on the Mpowerment model, already being used by AIDS Resource Center Ohio in Dayton.

The weekend wrapped up on Sunday with a dozen people gathering at Union Station for brunch.

Co-chair Mike Kelley was pleased, and happy that the modest scope did not detract from guests� enjoyment of the events.

�Following our 25th anniversary last year and with preparations for our impending National Diversity Conference and Convention, we wanted to keep the celebration simple but meaningful,� he noted. �We chose the theme . . . to remind ourselves and those who attended that inclusivity and respect for all peoples is essential to our mission statement, that with true diversity identities are moot and it is hoped that the barriers to equality are gone.�

�We are grateful for the local and national support of our work in Cleveland and for those who attended each event, and hope many more who support our mission statement and ideals will join us and make Greater Cleveland and all of our societies a place where all are welcome and where the necessity for �safe� places like BICC and the Cleveland LGBT Center do not even need to exist,� he concluded.

The NABWMT national convention will be held at the Wyndham Hotel on Cleveland�s Playhouse Square from August 1 to 4 next year.

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