As news about coronavirus and the necessity for social distancing continues to develop, many community centers like LGBT Detroit are continuing to offer much-needed services like tobacco-cessation programs, sexual assault advocacy and more just in a different, virtual package. Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb said the nonprofit is working to replace formerly programmed face-to-face engagement with digital outreach.
“We are open for business, but we’re doing business differently,” he said. “Consider engaging with us virtually as we believe that we can still meet our deadlines and meet our goals.”
Lipscomb said that though there are few details to iron out in the center’s chosen means of community engagement during social distancing — like confirming whether certain telecommunications applications are HIPAA-compliant — LGBT Detroit is running much like before. He added that those who are eager to help the center during this time can do so in two ways: virtually volunteering and donating when possible.
“Give Out Day is probably more important than ever because there are a lot of new types of work that needs to be done,” he said. “And if people can volunteer their time virtually to help us with COVID-19, we need people to help us craft language, help us develop policies and for various types of administrative duties that they don’t necessarily have to be here to do.”
Among its various programs, LGBT Detroit is also known for hosting the annual Hotter Than July celebration, “the longest-serving multi-day organized Black Pride celebration in the country.” When asked if preparations for that festival have been postponed, Lipscomb said not at this time, and he referred to LGBT Detroit’s press release about upcoming plans.
“At this point, the Hotter Than July Planning Committee foresees no change to the occurrence of Hotter Than July this year. The health and well-being of the movement remains our priority,” the release read. “We are watching closely the daily updated information and direction from city, state and federal government public health agencies for best practices to guide us. By mid-spring, we will examine the country’s public reassembly policy and share with you an update on the project at that time.”