On Thursday, May 2, Drag Queen Bingo, the monthly charity fundraising event produced by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, will reach the milestone of $250,000 raised for local non-profit organizations. Marking the milestone will be a reunion of drag personalities Rusty Nails and Felicity Diamond, who put the “drag” in Drag Queen Bingo when it launched in 2009, and current Mistress of Ceremonies DoMe Moore, aka Chamber board member Paul Crouch. A half-time show also will feature several Chamber board members and local business leaders performing as Drag Queens and Kings.
Proceeds from the event, part of the Rainbow Chamber Foundation’s 2009 Big Day Of Giving campaign, will support the Foundation’s scholarship program for LGBTQ and allied students and provide funding for local organizations that provide LGBTQA youth services. Drag Queen Bingo supports a different 501(c)(3) non-profit organization each month, and local organizations that have benefited include Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Davis Pride, WEAVE, Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus, West Sacramento Historical Society, Sac State Pride Center, PFLAG, Gender Health Center, River City Food Bank, Front Street Animal Shelter and many more.
Cost to play Bingo is $20, which gets you everything you need for eight Bingo games, including Bingo cards, daubers and a cheat sheet for rowdy call-backs, such as G-54: “Ooh ooh, the Disco G!” and B-11: “Legs to Heaven.” Admission to the game goes on sale at 6:30 p.m. at the venue; cash only, please.
For this one-night special event only, guests can take advantage of a $50 VIP package, which includes everything you need for eight games of Bingo, reserved seating, and a souvenir Drag Queen Bingo T-shirt. To purchase VIP tickets online in advance of the event, visit https://business.rainbowchamber.com/events/calendar/. For those who do not purchase VIP tickets, organizers recommend arriving early, as the event is expected to sell out.
Sacramento’s iteration of Drag Queen Bingo was launched in August 2009 by Fred Palmer, publisher and CEO of Outword Media Marketing Events, and Outword staffers Ron Tackitt and Charlie Peer, with original Mistresses of Ceremonies Rusty Nails and Felicity Diamond, joined more recently by DoMe Moore. Nails and Diamond retired from emceeing the event in 2016, and Moore continues as the regular event emcee. The three will reunite for this special one-night event on May 2.
In August 2015, after Drag Queen Bingo had raised more than $100,000 for local organizations, Palmer passed the torch to the board of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has continued producing the monthly event, coordinated by Chamber members Paul Villaluz Weubbe, R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe and Richard Hernandez with assistance from Chamber volunteers.
Held the first Thursday of each month, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Mango’s, 1930 K Street in Sacramento, Drag Queen Bingo features prizes for every Bingo, including theater tickets and souvenir packages donated by Broadway Sacramento. In addition to game proceeds, beneficiary organizations are invited to promote their services and fundraise during the event intermission. For more information about Drag Queen Bingo or becoming a beneficiary, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business community. For more information about the organization, visit RainbowChamber.com.
The San Juan Unified School District is in the process of adopting new K-8 Social Science and History textbooks. These textbooks comply with California state law requiring LGBTQ-inclusive content. The School Board has received a number of public comments opposed to the adoption of the textbooks because of their LGBTQ-inclusiveness.
RainbowPAC, the non-partisan political action committee of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, is proud to join other area organizations, including Sacramento LGBT Community Center and Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento, in voicing our support for this important change. Here’s how you can help:
Email SJUSD Board Members to express your support for LGBTQ-inclusive textbooks. Let them know how inclusive textbooks impact you or your children, or what it would it have meant for you growing up to have seen yourself reflected in your schoolbooks. If you are an ally, let them know how important it is to the future of our community that our youth are educated in a diverse and inclusive environment.
School Board Member Email Addresses: Member Pam Costa – email@example.com Member Paula Villescaz – firstname.lastname@example.org Member Michael McKibbin – email@example.com Member Zima Creason – firstname.lastname@example.org Member Saul Hernandez – email@example.com Superintendent Kent Kern – firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend the SJUSD Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 23, to express your support for LGBTQ-inclusive textbooks. Public session begins at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the district office at 3738 Walnut Avenue, Carmichael.Please be aware there are expected to be opponents of the new textbooks in attendance who can be expected to make highly negative comments about LGBTQ people. Members of our community who attend are encouraged to practice self-care. Come help us fill the room with supporters!
In just the past couple of weeks, our nation has been rocked to its moral core by several incidents of violence and terrorism: the hate-inspired shooting of two African American people shopping at their local grocer; the mailing of pipe bombs to two former presidents, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros, CNN and several other high-profile critics of President Trump’s policies; and, most recently, the tragic murder of 11 members of a Pittsburgh synagogue as the gunman shouted that he wanted to “kill all Jews.”
Just days before this latest string of brutal attacks, the Trump administration reported plans to redefine gender in a way that would effectively render transgender and gender non-binary individuals invisible. While LGBT people have made tremendous advances over the past few decades toward achieving societal acceptance and equal treatment under the law, equal rights for the transgender/gender non-binary community have lagged behind. Since 2016 the Trump administration has zeroed in on this vulnerable population, first threatening to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military; most recently, by limiting the definition of gender to that documented on birth certificates, threatening to erase their very existence.
On behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors, we rebuke this effort by the Trump administration to deny the existence of transgender individuals in the strongest possible terms. We are honored to represent transgender business owners and individuals in our membership, and we are so proud of our LGBTQIA Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholars, including several who identify as transgender or gender non-binary.
To those members and leaders, and to the greater transgender community, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the implementation of this inhumane and unjust policy.
To our LGBTQIA youth, please know that these actions taken against you or other members of our community by the current administration are wrong. They are not right or normal or moral or justified. They are not even logical. As terrible as it feels to be attacked in this way by elected officials at the highest levels, please know that most people in this country know it is wrong. We are not going to lie down, and we will not allow them to erase you.
As a Chamber of Commerce, one of our core missions is to support small business owners and to promote leadership and policies that foster small business success and economic prosperity. As an organization of LGBT and allied business owners and professionals, our core mission is to advocate for and defend diversity, inclusion and equal rights for all.
History teaches us that tyrants test their limits on the smallest and weakest populations first, before turning to larger, more challenging targets. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
All of the above acts are attacks against American citizens and residents of our country; against freedom of religion; and against our cherished American ideals of democracy, equality and inclusion.
We know that equality–the assurance that all individuals and families have the same rights and are equally protected by the rule of law–is good for society and good for business.
Our colleagues at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) may have said it best:
The NGLCC and our partners will continue to assert that any attempt to diminish or erase transgender or gender non-binary Americans is both morally reprehensible and economically ruinous for the United States. Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and neither is a binary to be legislated by the current administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to turn back the clock on LGBTQ progress. A proposed national policy to limit Americans’ gender identity is not only a repudiation of several major court decisions upholding LGBTQ protections under Title IX, but it also contradicts widely respected and reported scientific and economic evidence. According to NGLCC’s America’s LGBT Economy Report, which has been referenced and acknowledged by countless public and private policy experts, LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the economy, and create tens of thousands of jobs in their communities. Transgender and gender non-binary business owners across our country make up an important piece of these contributions, and their contributions make all of us stronger: they build our roads, improve our schools, and defend our nation. America’s transgender and gender non-binary entrepreneurs add too richly to the social and economic success of our country to be erased by their government.
To our LGB and allied community, we ask that you join us in solidarity with transgender and gender non-binary people against this and similar bigoted and short-sighted policies. One way to make your voice heard: Vote.
Early voting in Sacramento and surrounding counties is underway now. If you have not mailed your ballot, you can find the location and hours of voting centers, ballot drop-off locations and polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, as well as the status of your vote-by-mail or early ballot, at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.
If you have already cast your ballot, thank you for fulfilling your civic duty. For those who have yet to vote, we know how hectic life can be for small business owners, working professionals and students. We understand that taking the time to get your ballot in on time might seem like just one task too many in a busy day or week. We are asking you, in this critically important midterm election, to make sure your voice is heard: Please vote! Many races this year will be decided by a mere handful of votes, and every vote really does count. Our future depends upon it.
Diana DePaola Fred Palmer President Executive Director
Roll-back of Guidelines Guaranteeing Access to Gender-Appropriate Facilities Violates Civil Rights of Transgender Youth
Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Richard Hernandez has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors in regard to actions of the Trump administration revoking guidelines protecting transgender students:
“The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the recent actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration to overturn guidelines issued in 2016 guaranteeing all students access to gender-segregated facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms in federally funded schools.
“Growing up is hard enough for any child. Transgender children, faced with the added challenge of living in bodies that do not match their gender identities, are particularly vulnerable to bullying, discrimination, depression and suicide. Yet, with support from the institutions and the adults in their lives, we know that these courageous young people can succeed in school and become healthy, productive members of our communities and our workforce.
“No person, adult or child, should be singled out to use a separate facility or forced to seek special permission simply to use a restroom or shower facility where he or she feels safe. Protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender should not be left to the discretion of state officials, just as protection from discrimination based on religious affiliation or ethnicity is not applied on a state-by-state basis.
“As many of America’s largest corporations continue to affirm, prejudice and discrimination against any group of people is harmful for families and bad for economic growth. The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, which represents LGBT business owners and their allies in a six-county region, urges the Trump administration to reconsider its action and to reinstate the 2016 guidelines advising federally funded schools to ensure the safety, dignity and equal rights of all students in using gender-segregated facilities.”
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.
Community Organizer Nikki Whitfield Is New Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
July 23, SACRAMENTO— The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has hired local community organizer Nicole Whitfield, former community outreach coordinator for HIV/AIDS healthcare provider CARES, as its new executive director. Whitfield is the 12-year-old chamber’s first executive director.
“We’re tremendously proud to welcome Nikki Whitfield onboard,” said Chamber President Dr. Darrick Lawson. “With only a volunteer board of directors and part-time staff, the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has made enormous strides as a community leader and advocate for small and LGBT-owned businesses in the Sacramento region. The organization has reached a crossroads, when it will either grow or stay stagnant. The board and I are confident in Nikki’s ability to lead our growth and increase the value of chamber membership, and we are all so thrilled to be part of this exciting new chapter in the history of our chamber.”
Whitfield served from June 2008 to present as community mobilization coordinator for CARES (Center for AIDS Research Education & Services), where she helped build relationships with the African American community, area churches, health care providers and community-based organizations. Whitfield is an HIV University Fellow of the Black AIDS Institute (AAHU); and recipient of the 2013 Sacramento Kings All Star Community Service Award and of the 2009 Exceptional Woman Of Color Award. She serves on Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Indivizible” African American leadership forum; Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s African American Advisory Committee; and Mental Health America’s LGBTQ Youth Collaborative.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce at such an exciting time in the history of the LGBT community,” Whitfield said. “Over the past two years, the Chamber has helped pass state legislation supporting LGBT-owned businesses, participated in the successful effort to create a unified central city council district, launched a non-partisan, business-friendly Political Action Committee, and received a Chamber Excellence Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As a full-time executive director, I’ll have the time and focus to continue building our membership base and increase our outreach to government and corporate partners. I’m ready to go to work!”
In one of her first acts as executive director, Whitfield will travel to Dallas for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business & Leadership Conference July 30 through August 2, where she will meet with leaders of LGBT chambers from throughout the United States. California itself is home to six LGBT chambers of commerce, in the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego and Sacramento.
Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners and professionals and allies in the Greater Sacramento region. The Chamber works to build a prosperous and inclusive business community and to support issues that promote business development and equal rights for all people. The Chamber and its non-profit affiliate, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, have contributed more than $40,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.