A focus on outreach

Posted: March 18th, 2016 | Columns, Featured, Out of the Archives | No Comments

By Walter G. Meyer | Out of the Archives

The biggest news this month is that we are gearing up for our major fundraising brunch on March 19.

If you don’t have your tickets, visit our website to get yours! Tickets are going fast for this important event and you don’t want to miss this.

Our guest speaker is Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the first woman and first African-American to serve as Surgeon General of the United States.

Walter Meyer

Walter Meyer

Dr. Elders held that post in the early years of the Clinton Administration and after AIDS/HIV had been so ignored by Clinton’s predecessor, it was up to her to finally address the issue forcefully.

It is appropriate that she will be speaking at our brunch as the theme of this year’s gala is “Heroines, Pioneers, & Trailblazers: San Diego Women’s Response to Early HIV/AIDS” and will honor local ladies who did so much in those early dark days.

It’s been a big month for outreach.

On Feb. 26, Lambda Archives was represented at the education mixer at T-Lounge. The Archives is proud to have been a co-host of the event, along with We Are Fair, Pride, GLSEN, the Trevor Project, and The Center.

Fernando Lopez, Archives board member and operations manager at San Diego Pride, emceed the event and gave each of the organizations a chance to say a few words about their work. San Diego Unified School Board member Kevin Beiser also spoke to the crowd about the importance of including LGBT history in schools and the need to reduce bullying.

The size of the crowd surprised everyone. We had hoped for a couple of dozen people to attend; instead over 100 educators and interested parties came. It was gratifying to see so much interest in helping our schools become more inclusive, both in curriculum and supporting all students.

Several teachers wanted to learn more about Lambda Archives and asked about bringing students over to check out our space. Of course we are happy to share information with teachers and show students around our facility. If you would like to bring your class to see us or if you’re an educator and would like be invited to the next event, please get in touch at After the success of this mixer, I am sure there will be more.

Guys, Games and Grub at the San Diego LGBT Community Center is always fun and we were happy to add to the good times by providing prizes for people who answered questions about local LGBT trivia. We got a few donations and a good deal of interest. Thanks to Benny Cartwright, John Lockhart and the staff of The Center for welcoming us and always putting on a great event.

The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park was kind enough to let us have a table on March 8 at their entrance to let everyone know about our work. We were able to greet many new friends on “Free Tuesday.” We had a good deal of interest from potential volunteers and members and look forward to future collaborations with the History Center and some of their other partners.

The Gay Straight Alliance from Hoover High stopped by for a tour on March 9. We are always happy to show off our collections and even more so to the next generation of LGBT leaders.

We’ve also played host to a few researchers this month, including a college student from Tijuana who is doing research for a paper about one of the founders of The Center, Bernie Michels. We look forward to reading her paper when it’s done.

Starting in April, we will be conducting walking tours to point out the LGBT history of Hillcrest. We will have both the wet “pub crawl” version and the dry version —which is not to say our history is dry at all! Watch our website, like us on Facebook or join our mailing list to get all of the details on dates and times.

And we’ve had a few new volunteers help us out this month. Jolene LaSalle scanned hundreds of pages of documents and Kevin Keenan entered hundreds of names and their contact information to update our database. We thank them and all of our volunteers for their able assistance.

If you’d like to volunteer, we have a host of tasks from clerical to more technical archiving work to do and we’d love to have you! Contact us at

—Walter G. Meyer is the author of the critically acclaimed gay novel “Rounding Third,” a regular contributor to Gay San Diego, and the manager of Lambda Archives. Reach him at

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