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End of Year Message from Chairperson, Ezra Towne

What a year! MoCo Pride Center’s second full year of operation was filled with challenges AND success.

Thank you for challenging us to do better ‒ we are stronger than ever before and have renewed our commitment to prioritizing LGBTQ leadership in our work and on our board of directors. Over the last few months, we added three new people to our board: Marty Drake, Han Malyn, and Renoir Dawson.

We are ending 2019 in a great place, and we could not have done it without you.

Here is just one example:

On November 15, Montgomery County’s ninth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience (TDOR) took place at VisArts in Rockville. MoCo Pride Center believes in lifting up the voices of those most affected by transphobic violence – so we asked Shareese Mone, a local black trans woman activist and survival sex worker, if she would like to plan out the flow of the event. Shareese graciously agreed – and MoCo Pride Center’s board of directors focused on handling pre-event logistics, outreach, and fundraising to cover event costs.

Our combined efforts brought 125 trans folk and our strongest cisgender allies together to remember Ashanti Carmon, Zoe Spears, and others we have lost this year, to hear the stories and experiences of the local trans community, and to celebrate their strength and resilience.

Most notably, we gave $1,800 to local trans activists and organizations at TDOR ‒ $1,300 in stipends to our speakers and performers, and $500 to the No Justice No Pride Housing Collective.

But this is far from all we have done this year. In 2019, we also:

  • Established a closer relationship with the county council and provided guidance on language regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in three bills: Bill 33-19, Bill 27-19, and Bill 44-19. Thanks to Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Evan Glass for giving us a seat at the table.

  • Worked closely with the organizers in our MoCo LGBTQ Youth Forum to hold MoCo Pride Prom 2019 on May 11. We elevated the event quality, kept costs low for the youth, and provided events volunteers. The youth who attended had a great time dancing and being their full selves.

  • Hosted MoCo Pride Party 2019 on June 29, the first of its kind in Montgomery County. The event was accessible to as many people as possible via public transportation and Uber vouchers for those afraid of using public transit after the spate of local violence against the trans community. We also provided a diverse array of local performers to compliment our headliner, Miss Peppermint.

But we need your support to keep our momentum going in 2020. A year-end, tax deductible gift of any amount will help MoCo Pride Center continue giving back to Montgomery County’s LGBTQ community.

Your donation will help us:

  • Issue stipends or reimbursements for activists working on our behalf

  • Provide Uber vouchers for those who cannot otherwise attend our events

  • Keep the cost of the pride prom low for the youth who attend

  • Expand our services in 2020 and beyond to include more social events, resources, and programmatic work.

Please donate whatever you can online by December 31 at: MoCo Pride Center is a 501(c)(3) organization ‒ which means that all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Your gift, whatever the amount, will ALSO help us work towards two things Montgomery County’s LGBTQ community has asked us for: a MoCo Pride Party and Festival in 2020, and a permanent, safe, and accessible space to call our own.

Thanks so much for your support – we look forward to working with and for YOU in 2019 and many years to come.


Ezra Towne

Chairperson, Board of Directors

P.S. We know it is the end of the year and money can be tight from buying gifts and other ways of spreading holiday cheer. We also know we are not the first or only organization to ask you for a year end gift. Even a small gift of $10 makes a big difference and helps us plan for the year ahead.

But money is not everything, and not all of us can give. If you would prefer to support our work with your time and talents, sign up to join our list of volunteers here.

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