As amazing as it sounds, Oakland has never had its own LGBTQ center. This is the first in the city’s history, and the two founders are Joe Hawkins and Jeff Meyers, two amazingly dedicated and dynamic individuals who are wholeheartedly committed to enhancing and sustaining the well-being of Oakland’s LGBTQ individuals, our families and allies. They worked tirelessly to open a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, intergenerational, LGBTQ community center, which they both funded out of their own pockets.
The Center, which just had its grand opening Sept 7th, provides social, educational, and health-related programs, services and activities and being on the Board of Directors has given me the opportunity to be a part of an organization that is focused on inclusiveness and diversity founded on human and civil rights for all. And it’s great to know that there is a safe space for learning and leadership opportunities that help build and cultivate community.
It’s currently staffed by all volunteers until funds can be raised to hire paid staff, and that includes us on the Board of Directors. We are all volunteering our time because we believe that this organization is exactly what Oakland needs right now. But we can’t run an organization and render services on love and passion for the community alone, we need donations and help so please, if you live in Oakland or anywhere in the SF Bay Area, come check out the center located at 3207 Lakeshore Avenue, or take a minute to check out the website: www.oaklandlgbtqcenter.org and see what the Center is providing the community and if it resonates with you, donate whatever you can!
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is more than a service provider, it’s also a place where a diverse community comes together to learn, grow, and celebrate!