• By Alex Godin.

Detroit LGBTQ Activist Cornelius Wilson to Receive Senior Citizen of the Year Award

BTL Staff
By | 2018-05-17T08:18:22-04:00 May 16th, 2018|Michigan, News|

In recognition of over two decades of service as an LGBTQ rights advocate, SAGE Metro Detroit has announced that board member Cornelius Wilson will receive Michigan’s Aging and Adult Services Agency’s (AASA) Senior Citizen of the Year Award.
During a special Older Michiganians Day ceremony at the State Capitol in Lansing on May 16, Wilson will receive the award with congratulatory recognition from Gov. Rick Snyder and a $500 check from Consumer’s Energy. Each year, AASA, under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, grants the Senior Citizen of the Year Award to someone 60 years or older for outstanding volunteerism and contributions to their local community.
Wilson was nominated by SAGE Metro Detroit for the award because of his activism on behalf of LGBT older adults, community leadership and years of dedicated service in HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
“It is a distinct honor to be recognized by this award, and I share that recognition with the countless LGBT activists and allies who have laid the groundwork before me,” said Wilson, who works as a housing case manager at the Detroit Health Department and H.A.P.I Housing Program. “I always felt like the struggles I face as a black, same-gender-loving man would inevitably impact other black men and the African-American community as a whole. Our folks, all folks, needed to see and witness the impact of positive affirmation that extends from our LGBT and now Q community. I hope this award, along with the other people who have received it, will continue to inspire people my age to get involved and be living proof that activism is ageless.”
In addition to his involvement in advocating for LGBT rights and social work in metro Detroit, Wilson plays a significant role in galvanizing community engagement through events. He chairs the annual Hotter Than July festival in Detroit, the second oldest Black LGBT pride event in the world, and serves as SAGE Metro Detroit’s treasurer, programming chair, finance committee chair and chair of the annual LGBT Older Adult Summit held each June, now in its eighth year.
“Cornelius has been an indispensable volunteer and cheerleader for SAGE Metro Detroit since our founding in 2015,” said Angie Perone, director of SAGE Metro Detroit. “As programming chair, Cornelius works with diverse communities throughout Southeast Michigan to plan programs and events for SAGE Metro Detroit, including museum outings, discussion groups, town hall forums on policy issues and caregiving classes — among other programs.”
She continued, “It is impossible to quantify the countless hours community leaders like Cornelius commit to our work. This award is a special opportunity for SAGE and other community members to say thank you, Cornelius, for all you do.”
SAGE Metro Detroit was established in 2015 after five years as the LGBT Older Adult Coalition. They are dedicated to, “Building awareness and promoting change so that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults may age with dignity and authenticity.”
SAGE Metro primarily serves Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties in southeast Michigan but have worked with LGBT communities, caregivers, service providers and allies throughout Michigan.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.