FERNDALE – La Comunidad, a local group created to provide social activities, support and advocacy for Michigan’s gay Latino community, will hold its first men’s retreat April 21 – 23 at the Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor.
“The retreat will include many activities such as a VIP kick-off party at the Necto Nightclub on Friday night, weekend workshops covering a variety of topics, a dinner night on Saturday, and all of the amenities offered by the Weber’s Inn, our host hotel,” said Michael Odom, Project Manager for La Comunidad.
During the retreat, participants will attend workshops about issues central for gay Latino men, including dating and relationships, culture, family, and religion. In addition, there will be several opportunities to socialize and tour the Ann Arbor area.
“There is very little in Southeastern Michigan and Michigan in general for Latino LGBT folks, and this is an opportunity to provide each other support, build community, make some friendships and expand our knowledge bases [with] information important to our mental and physical health,” said Tony O’Rourke, a case manager with AIDS Partnership Michigan who will be volunteering for the event. “There’s 400,000 Latinos in Michigan, so you know there’s got to be a fair amount of LGBT Latinos here.”
“The retreat will provide a great opportunity for Latino gay men to come together and take the best of both their worlds,” said Reynaldo Magdaleno, a community activist who will help conduct workshops.
“I think this is a great opportunity to build camaraderie or brotherhood in the Latino MSM community and also provide them the skills and education they need to keep themselves safe from HIV and other STDs,” he added. “It’s an opportunity to develop and foster a support system.”
There is no cost for the weekend hotel stay, and participants who complete all workshops will receive a $50 cash incentive. The retreat is limited to 20 gay and bisexual Latino men, and participants must register in advance to attend.
The project is being funded by the Michigan AIDS Fund and sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. La Comunidad, which means “the Community,” was developed by the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project in 2000 to provide education, information, and social activities for Michigan’s LGBT Latina/o community. La Comunidad has over 200 members statewide.
For more information about La Comunidad or to register for the retreat, contact Michael Odom at 248-545-1435, ext. 107. Participants will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis.