Looking for something to do this Saturday night that will help an under-served part of the LGBTQ community, and also be part of an experience that you won't soon forget?
Then listen up, as Al Sura has just the *fun*draiser you've been looking for.
Called "The Experience," the 10th anniversary of this fundraising event promises to not only be an incredible party, but the money raised from it will directly affect the African American community in our nation's capital - which has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the nation.
This Saturday's White Attire Affair covers the territory that other large, mainstream organizations fear to tread: the trenches. Specifically, the organization addresses the real needs of those left behind by sexier topics like DOMA - while people are dying. Every day.
According to founder Rahim Briggs, The Experience is designed to raise awareness of the dire needs of the African American HIV/AIDS community in the District of Columbia, as well as give back - immediately, on Saturday night - to an organization the funds raised from The Experience.
That's not something you see at most fundraisers.
First, the specifics:
According to their website, Al Sura has four core values: Integrity, Trust, Connection and Cultural Awareness. In particular, I found the Connection one of note:
Promote a linear and sincere connection with local civic groups and grassroots organizations. Address and bridge existing gaps, real or perceived, between factions within the HIV/AIDS community. Establish rich, rewarding ties between all stakeholders in environments that will produce positive and measured results.
This isn't some bureaucratic organization like the Democratic National Committee or the Human Rights Campaign - where you may send your dollars to, but don't see much in return. This group's goal is to go where the big organizations don't usually tread - the streets that have no names and help those most likely to fall through the pavement cracks.
Al Sura says Transgender Health Empowerment (T.H.E.) has been named the sole beneficiary of the proceeds from this year's White Attire Affair.
According to a press release, T.H.E. focuses on the health and well-being of the Transgender community in Washington, D.C. The organization provides HIV prevention services, as well as support services, for those living with HIV/AIDS within the District.
Founder of the event, Mr. Briggs says
Our goal is to raise $25,000 in cash to give to T.H.E. - and to give the organization the funds we raise from The Experience, on the night of the event - something the big organizations don't do.
How's that for transparency?
Coming on the heels of Wednesday's 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mr. Briggs likened HRC to a glorified NAACP. "They get the big money," he says, " but they don't deliver the services they promise."
And he's not the only one asking that question. NBC News ran a segment on Wednesday asking basically the same question. And it's a valid one for everyone to consider as they decide where to spend their hard-earned dollars and support organizations that say they represent our community.
Meanwhile, back to Al Sura and The Experience. One look at their promotional materials for the event should have you immediately heading to their site, or Lambda Rising in Dupont Circle, to buy tickets for the event - as no tickets will be sold at the door.
Besides an incredible show produced by KING AND I, the first lady of D.C., Michelle Fenty, will be there.
If you haven't already checked out their site, and gotten into the groove, do it now.
And if you can't attend a very worthwhile and one of the best *fun*draising events in D.C. this summer, it's worth that $5 or $25 dollars you'll spend on coffee and lunch one day this week to donate to Al Sura.
If you are able, by all means catch The Experience this Saturday evening.
And if you can't get there, do me a favor and take a break from your normal caffeine pick-me-up and lunch and instead spend your money on something important - for just one day - and visit Al Sura's website - today.