Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Black Brothers Esteem Kwanzaa Celebration: Awards and Camaraderie at the LGBT Center

Tony Bradford, Vincent Fuqua, Micah Lubensky, Norman Tanner, Neil Giuliano, and Bob Rybicki

The warmth of the holiday season extended to include the Kwanzaa celebration at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center on Dec. 18. It was sponsored by Black Brothers Esteem (BBE), a strong and vital part of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

The presence of the foundation’s new executive director Neil Giuliano and its VP of programs and policy Bob Rybicki at the event reinforced BBE’s importance to the community, and more than 100 celebrants showed up. The tasty chicken dinner and chocolate cake dessert were catered by popular Boston Market, and greetings were exchanged and inventive drag and Afro-centric attire were checked out and complimented.

There was a distinctive Kwanzaa altar on the stage and the community service implied in the holiday’s principles mirror BBE’s instilling of confidence and knowledge in its members so that they can be capable of far more than they imagined. BBE has classes in safer sex and general guidelines for physical and mental health. Graduation diplomas were handed out to continued applause at the dinner.

Inspirational BBE program director Tony Bradford, BBE community development manager Micah Lubensky, and co-founder Norman Tanner bestowed the awards throughout the evening with praise for individual members and their achievements.

Tony Bradford, Vincent Fuqua, and Neil Giuliano

Hardworking and charismatic Vincent Fuqua, a health educator at the San Francisco Department of Public Health's HIV Prevention Section, was honored for coordinating his job with BBE’s outreach to African American men. The San Francisco LGBT Community Center was honored for welcoming BBE to its Rainbow Room for the last couple years to enjoy Kwanzaa.

Black Brothers Esteem and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation are joined together to alleviate the appallingly high HIV/AIDS sero-conversion rate among African American men in San Francisco. The Kwanzaa party was a fine way to celebrate what has been achieved and to set goals for the future.

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