Living Room Chats at Affinity: A Podcast for Brave Conversations and Bold Voices

Living Room Chats at Affinity: A Podcast for Brave Conversations and Bold Voices

Living Room Chats is a new monthly podcast hosted by Kelly Suzanne Saulsberry. You can tune-in on Affinity’s Facebook page every third Wednesday at 7pm CT.

“Living Room Chats” will feature conversations with dynamic individuals from a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and walks of life. Some of the topics we’ll dive into include political advocacy, culture, identity, and spirituality.

Each of us has a story. Each of us has questions we ask ourselves and others. Each of us has things we aspire to, issues and principles we are for or against, and existential questions we ponder. Each of us has identities that shape how we perceive each other and ourselves.

In this time of divisive and vitriolic rhetoric, hyper curated networks on social media, and a heightened sensitivity that makes some of us afraid to say anything, there is a real need for brave conversations and bold voices that push us beyond talking points and stereotypes, and empower us instead to think critically, feel deeply, and speak candidly about our thoughts, experiences, and lives.

This is the mission of Living Room Chats at Affinity. We are excited about bringing these conversations from our living room into yours, and hope that this podcast will inspire you to have brave and bold conversations of your own with people in your lives.

Thank you from Anna DeShawn

We Want to Hear From You

We’re with Jussie

We’re with Jussie

Dear Affinity Family, 

We, at Affinity, are sending love and strength to Jussie Smollett and his family. We also send our best wishes for a full recovery. This brutal attack strikes at the very core of our fight as Black LGBTQ+people. Many of us are all too familiar with being targeted and being survivors of violence for being who we are. 

When the actions of leaders in this country are steeped in white supremacy, racism and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, their silence and lack of action make their priorities crystal clear. 

We are heartbroken and infuriated. For years, Affinity has served on the Hate Crimes Coalition convened by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Incidents like this are under reported and disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people of color. Affinity is committed to fight for the safety, protection, and voice of our communities. 

In solidarity,
Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director
Anna DeShawn, President, Board of Directors
Aisha N. Davis, Esq., Vice President, Board of Directors
Jas Thurmond, Treasurer, Board of Directors
Jessica Peters, Secretary, Board of Directors
Jovan Watkins, Board Director

The Blackprint – A Virtual Leadership Series

The Blackprint – A Virtual Leadership Series

A Plan for Building the Leadership Capacity of Black LGBTQ+ Women Leaders

Register Today!

Black women, communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with intersecting underrepresented identities are less likely to be in top leadership roles. This means, people that face the most discrimination are often not in positions to determine what is needed to help their communities thrive.

In this virtual leadership series, experts will share how they were able to excel in their fields, and the obstacles they had to overcome to be successful in their work. Each webinar will be live so participants will have an opportunity to ask questions on the spot.

After the webinar series, Affinity Community Services will produce a toolkit to provide resources for organizations dedicated to recruiting and retaining individuals with underrepresented identities. If you choose to share your LinkedIn profile, you will be included in a networking group that will post positions by individuals and organizations that have a commitment to inclusive hiring practices.

Featured Speakers

Charlene Carruthers
Kate Kendell
Mary Morten

The Blackprint: Building Organizing Power
Date: Thursday, July 05, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Economic Power
Date: Thursday, July 12, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Political Power
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Executive Power
Date: Thursday, July 26, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

–>Register Here <–

A Message from Anna DeShawn: Affinity’s New Board President

A Message from Anna DeShawn: Affinity’s New Board President

To say I’m honored to be the new Board President of Affinity Community Services is an understatement. Affinity has been a cornerstone in the Chicago LGBTQ community for nearly 22 years and she continues to thrive. Back in 2002 I was introduced to Affinity through the XPU drop-in program. This was a drop in specially for young people. I was nervous and hesitate but Renisha, Peaches, & Felicia welcomed me with open arms.

All of us have an Affinity story. Some are funny, some make us cry, but all of them remind us how important Affinity is to our lives. Affinity is the common thread that binds us together.

I wanted to take a few moments and share my Affinity story with you.

I grew up on the Southside of Chicago where I was unsure if being my authentic self would be fully accepted. As I grew up and went off to predominantly white universities I longed for a larger community that looked like me and shared similar values. Thank God for Google. I searched for black lesbians in Chicago and found Affinity.

I was away at school and every break I would tell myself all types of reasons why I couldn’t go. What if someone sees me? What if my parents find out? What if.. well eventually I stopped the what if’s and just went. The XPU drop-in was happening and I was going to go. I did and 12 years later I’m still here.

When Kim asked me to join the Board there were two questions I kept asking myself, “What if Affinity didn’t exist?” and “What am I doing to help sustain it?” The “what if” questions came back and really hit home. What if Affinity didn’t exist? What if the founders & initial supporters weren’t brave enough to demand space and visibility for Black lesbians on the Southside. What if Affinity had to close and I didn’t do my part to help sustain it. I wrote Kim back and started the process of becoming a Board member. I’m still here and if you’re reading this you are here with us.

You are Affinity. I am Affinity. We are Affinity and we need you to be an active participant in the sustainment of the organization. We need your time, talent, and treasures. Make the decision to give today. Your continued support is what makes us great!

I’m Anna DeShawn and #IAmAffinity.
President, Board of Directors

p.s. Feel free to leave me a comment or email me directly at anna.deshawn at affinity95 dot org. I’d love to hear from you.

Affinity’s 1st Casino Night Fundraiser

Affinity’s 1st Casino Night Fundraiser

Join Affinity Community Services for our first ever Casino Night Fundraiser!

Black Gold has something for everyone! We’ll have a raffle and a silent auction, a live DJ and dancing, and the casino game winner, will take home the FIRST EVER, Affinity Community Services Black Gold Trophy!

VIP includes access to VIP reception from 7:00-8:00PM, unlimited drinks, passed hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of funny money to play the casino games.

General admission includes 3 drink tickets, passed hors d’oeuvres, and some funny money to play the casino games.

Reduced admission includes 1 drink ticket, passed hors d’oeuvres, and little funny money to play the casino games.

See you there!

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