3933 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, CA 92501

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What are Riverside's key moments of LGBTQ+ history? How has the local LGBTQ+ community changed over the past 50 years, and what does the future hold? Join us at the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California for a panel discussion of local LGBTQ+ organizers, activists, and trailblazers. This event is free and open to the public, with support from the Civil Rights Institute, UCR Residence Life, and UCR's LGBT Resource Center... celebrating 30 years of support, education, and advocacy.

Connie Confer - Since the 1970s, Connie has centered local LGBTQ+ social spaces and political organizing, including with PAC (Political Action Committee) in the 1970s & 1980s and PACE (Political Action Coalition for Elections) in the 1980s and 1990s. She worked as the Riverside Assistant City Attorney defending against local anti-gay discriminatory measures, and was on the board of the Inland AIDS Project. Connie also co-hosted the Riverside Lesbian Holiday Cookie Potluck for 40 years, a tradition still in Riverside.

Rev. Benita Ramsey - The executive director of Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance and an ordained minister and Pastor at Unity Fellowship Church-IE, Benita has dedicated a lifetime of service to the local LGBTQ+ BIPOC community and to youth in general. Rev Ramsey is a justice and culture strategist and practitioner, a spiritual director, and a lover of books, words, rhythms & beats. A Project Legacy bungalow is named in her honor.

Michael Bussee - Michael was born and raised in Riverside, CA. In 1976, he co-founded Exodus International as a small support group for gay Christians who believed they could change their sexual orientation through faith and prayer. He left the organization in 1979 and dedicated the next several decades to shutting down that organization, which had become the largest so-called "Reparative Therapy" organization in the world. Michael is a also a survivor of a deadly hate crime in 2002 in the Menagerie parking lot in downtown Riverside.

Gabriel Maldonado - Gabriel founded TruEvolution while an undergraduate student at UC Riverside to provide community members HIV/ STI prevention and care services. TruEvolution is dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ justice and now provides linkage to health care, mental health, and housing services. Project Legacy, opening in June 2023, will provide 48 beds + 1 live-in staff for  permanent supportive housing, a fitness center, career center, and wrap-around services, all available on one campus. Gabriel previously served on President Barack Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and continues to serve on regional boards and global organizations.

Jesse Melgar (moderator) - Riverside native and UCR alum (MPP), Jessie has worked in different levels of state government, focusing on LGBTQ+ and Latinx advocacy.


 

 

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