DC Black Gay Pride Honors Black LGBT Trailblazers Earline Budd, Bayard Rustin, Welmore Cook and Wanda Alston

As DC's Black Gay Pride Celebrates its 25th year.  The organization is paying tribute to Earline Budd, Bayard Rustin, Welmore Cook and Wanda Alston who payved the way in the Black LGBT movement in Washington DC, the United States and the World.

From their website:

In celebrating 25 years of DC Black Pride, we will pay homage to those who played major roles in the Black LGBT movement. Rooms in the host hotel will be renamed in honor of these trailblazers during Session One Workshops held on Saturday, May 23.

    Wanda Alston Room - Independence Level, Rooms C & B
    Earline Budd Room - Independence Level, Rooms E & D
    Welmore Cook Room - Independence Level, Room G & F
    Bayard Rustin Room - Independence Level, Rooms I & H

Wanda Alston  was a United States feminist activist and government official.

In the 1990s, Alston served in the National Organization for Women (NOW) as an executive assistant. She was also a co-leader in 1995 to the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. She was a political organizer for five marches in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. She was an elected member of NOW’s National Board of Directors. Alston also worked as a political consultant and was active in the Democratic Party. She also worked as an events organizer with the Human Rights Campaign. She was active in the recovery movement in Washington, D.C. Alston was an active member of her local church, Unity of Washington.

Alston was also a leader in the LGBT community and was the acting director of the Washington, D.C. Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs from 2004 until her death.

Earline Budd is a long time Washington, D.C. transgender advocate. Budd has  advocated on behalf of Black lesbians, gays, bisexuals and particularly transgender men and women.

She is one of the founding members and former Executive Director of Transgender Health Empowerment, Inc. founded in 1996. Earline currently is a Treatment Adherence Specialist at Family Medical Counseling Services, Inc. in Washington D.C., serving clients who are transgender or gay/bisexual males.  Earline has two years of college in Business Administration where she attended the Brookwein Business Institute of Washington, D.C. in 1979.   Earline has been a consultant for over 18 years serving local and national organizations around Cultural Sensitivity in working with transgender people.  Some of the trainings have been for SAMPSA, CSAP, Pennsylvania Mid Atlantic Training Center, the DC Department of Health HAHSTA Division, DC Department of Corrections, Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness DC shelter providers and many others.

Earline has more than 20 years of expertise in working with special populations and HIV/AIDS.  Ms. Budd also is one of the District of Columbia’s first transgender women to the Office of Human Rights as a Commissioner, and was recently appointment to the Mayor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS.


Welmore Cook was one of the three founders of DC Black Pride and a life long fundraiser for the HIV/AIDS community, who helped increase funding available for community based African American AIDS service organizations.


Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights.

Rustin practiced nonviolence. He was a leading activist of the early 1947–1955 Civil Rights Movement, helping to initiate a 1947 Freedom Ride to challenge, with civil disobedience, the racial segregation issue related to interstate busing. He recognized Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen King's leadership. Rustin promoted the philosophy of nonviolence and the practices of nonviolent resistance, which he had observed while working with Gandhi's movement in India. Rustin became a leading strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to 1968. He was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was headed by A. Philip Randolph, the leading African-American labor-union president and socialist. Rustin also influenced young activists, such as Tom Kahn and Stokely Carmichael, in organizations like the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

After the passage of the civil rights legislation of 1964–65, Rustin focused attention on the economic problems of working-class and unemployed African Americans, suggesting that the civil-rights movement had left its period of "protest" and had entered an era of "politics", in which the black community had to ally with the labor movement. Rustin became the head of the AFL–CIO's A. Philip Randolph Institute, which promoted the integration of formerly all-white unions and promoted the unionization of African Americans. The Institute under Rustin's leadership also advanced and campaigned for (from 1966 to 1968) A Freedom Budget for All Americans, linking the concepts of racial justice with economic justice.

Rustin was a gay man who had been arrested for homosexual activity in 1953 (which was criminalized in parts of the United States until 2003). Rustin's sexuality, or at least his embarrassingly public criminal charge, was criticized by some fellow pacifists and civil-rights leaders. Rustin was attacked as a "pervert" or "immoral influence" by political opponents from segregationists to black power militants, from the 1950s through the 1970s. Rustin served only rarely as a public spokesperson. He usually acted as an influential adviser to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes.



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