Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Founded LADY: A Queer Women's Collective
(Now Local Queer Collective)
Contrary to what one might assume, Dallas is a thriving city when it comes to LGBT women. There is an abundance; however, when I was coming out and trying to navigate the scene, they were not easily accessible. I had learned about the one lesbian bar, Sue Ellen's, from Google, but expanding outside of Sue Ellen's, I was lost. It should be noted, if you are unfamiliar, lesbian bars are notoriously empty and under-attended. Watch the short documentary, The Lesbian Bar Project, to learn more.
Fall of 2017, the musical Fun Home came to town, the Tony-award winning show depicting Alison Bechdel's discovery of her sexuality, and it became my job to find and market to the LGBT women of Dallas. If it hadn't been for this, I would have likely continued to stumble in the dark. I discovered Chick Happy Hour, a longstanding once a month happy hour and Lez Play Dallas, a summer exclusive pool party. These were both excellent introductions and led me to meet a plethora of terrific women. I quickly became a regular, engraining myself in the scene. However, after a while, it sunk in that all these events were centered around drinking. Drinking can be great! However, not everyone drinks, and I knew some people wanted more, including myself. It didn't need to be eradicated, it needed to be expanded.
All of this led to spawning the idea of LADY. Dallas had this abundance of queer women, but it needed something more than a monthly happy hour. Not only that, but the community needed diversity in the kind of events to attend. A friend of mine and I sat down and thought out our approach to what we wanted to do and how we wanted to introduce ourselves. We decided we wanted to expand outside of just the gayborhood, branch off and activate different parts of the city, provide more opportunities.
Our launch event was a Sunday afternoon party on the Sundown at Granada rooftop patio. We had artists displaying their work, a tarot card reader, a jewelry maker, a private bar, giveaways all afternoon, and activities in every corner. The first event was a massive success! We had over 100 attendees, a plethora of new faces, and only the most glowing feedback. From our launch, we continued to grow as a community and the events we were hosting such as:
A reoccurring monthly trivia of The L Word at the iconic Dallas lesbian bar, Sue Ellen's
Taco Tuesdays at a local taco joint
Yappy Hour at Mutts Canine Cantina for attendees to bring their pups and mingle at the hybrid dog park/bar/restaurant
An Art Chat in conjunction with the Nasher Sculpture Museum leading a tour of the Elmgreen & Dragset installation
The U-Haul the Ball GayKickball team
SWEAT, a workout series launched with kickboxing at a Dallas studio
These are just a few events, and I am so in awe, with all that the group has become. It started as an idea and grew to be a collective for all people to come together. While I am no longer a part of LADY, it continues to thrive and grow in good hands back in Dallas with a new direction and rebrand - Local Queer Collective.
Started First-Ever All Women's GayKickball Team
(Now Pride Sports)
GayKickball entered my radar when I attended the league's annual tournament, The California Classic in San Diego. I was quickly amazed by GayKickball! Almost 20 cities from across the U.S. had come together to play LGBT sports! It was phenomenal, but I noticed a lack of women involved. Of the 12 teams, I could count on one hand the number of women players. Once I returned to Dallas, I started going to regular-season games, and the same applied. This put me into action. An all women's team was easily accessible in Dallas. I just needed to rally the troops.
With a goal in place, I started recruiting players, and I was able to put together a team for the Fall of 2019. The ONLY all women's team in the nation was born, U-Haul the Ball! With the help of my girlfriend coaching us all and my positive attitude keeping everyone upbeat, it turned out to be an immensely fun season, and we want to keep going! So, not only were we the only all women's team, but we also became the first and only all women's team to participate in a tournament when we traveled to the 2020 California Classic. We did not rank in the top three, but we were the recipients of the coveted "Miss Congeniality" award!
As a result of George Floyd's tragic murder and the need for change, I joined forces with Dr. Margot Hovey and Kristina Smith to create Death-Defying Dialogues, a six-part online series. We collectively believe the violence induced by white supremacy and racism needs to stop here.
The series brought together individuals, groups, and organizations committed to anti-racism, repairing harm, and creating deep connections to foster a caring culture.
Participants gained from Death-Defying Dialogues:
A deeper self-awareness of our relationship to systemic racism
A grounded approach for conversations about systemic racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, and racial equity
Body-centered mindfulness practices that sustain and nurture your commitment to building an anti-racist and liberated culture
Access to personal resources that cultivate the opportunity to envision a racially just and equitable culture
Every day, we hear the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is complicated. Whether from businesses, employees, society in general, or practitioners themselves. The truth is—yes—DEI can be complicated because the issues of DEI are complex.
But, they don’t have to be.
That is why Dr. Nika White started the series, Inclusion Uncomplicated: Simplify DEI—short videos addressing the perceived complexities of DEI and breaking them down into more manageable and less complicated bites.
Catch my episodes of Inclusion Uncomplicated by visiting the YouTube Channel.
Intentional Conversations is a weekly live Vodcast (video + podcast) hosted by the NWC Team. Every Friday from 11 am-12 pm EST, Intentional Conversations brings different voices from the DEI space and those tangential who are uplifting marginalized communities' voices.