by Jessica Carreras
DETROIT – The Ruth Ellis Center celebrated its 10th anniversary on Oct. 22 with a gala at the Scarab Club in Detroit, where local dignitaries and longtime supporters of the center gathered to honor the center’s beginnings and achievements, as well as look forward to its future.
Charles Alexander, on Board of Directors at Scarab Club, spoke about the club’s support of the LGBT community and urged people to support it. “I encourage you to pick up a brochure … and if you can, support the Scarab Club and support Detroit’s artists,” he said. “Also, please understand that the Scarab Club is very accepting and inclusive and during the summertime, the garden, which is gloriously alive, is an ideal place to have marriages, holy unions – same sex or straight.”
Several elected officials came or sent representatives in support of the center. Sen. Carl Levin, a longtime supporter, also sent a recorded message. “The center’s work is a remarkable achievement – one that I was privileged to see in person,” he said.
“Thanks to the Ruth Ellis Center, thousands of young people who face hatred, misunderstanding and uncertainty have had shelter, clothing – they’ve had a home and know that despite the challenges they face, there are still people in the world who embrace them, care for them and nourish them.”
Ruth Ellis Center’s new Executive Director, Laura Hughes, spoke of the center’s future and expressed her gratitude at being hired to lead the center. “I have spent the last four weeks getting to know the center, the youth we serve, our programs and the many community stakeholders,” she said. “I am humbled by the outpouring of community support during this time of transition, celebration of Ruth and celebration of the center’s 10th year.
“I did not know Ruth personally but I can assure you her legacy continues in our work.”
Hughes added that she saw a bright future for the center, including a continued commitment to LGBT youth. “As we move into the next decade I realize we have an amazing challenge to serve some great young people who face tremendous odds,” she said. “The youth we serve are at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and poverty. But what I know, too, that our youth face these odds with great talent, great hope and great potential.”