Busy H-Town Saturday

Saturday was a busy one for me as I attended two events that were fortunately happening only a mile apart.

I was asked by Rhys Caraway to present an award that went to Phoebe Van Cleefe at the #BlackQueerMagic Empowerment Brunch that was held in the shadow of downtown Houston at St, John’s UNC.and sponsored by Young Black Voices.

That even started at 12:30 PM, and after we got our grub on, the awards presentation started with much of activist Houston in the room for this event..

Awards were also presented to Jason Black, Mike Webb, Aurora Gray and Fran Watson in addition to two Bayard Rustin Scholarships that was emceed by Harrison Gray.

After spending an enjoyable two hours there Dee Dee Watters and I headed over to the HSPVA campus that’s still in Montrose for now for a 30th anniversary celebration for Bering Omega House.

The current campus. Credit: sgcrawf via Flickr Commons

What many people don’t realize is that Houston was one of the early Ground Zero’s for the HIV epidemic that broke out in 1981 with the nastier HTLV-1 virus

Indigent terminally ill AIDS patients were finding themselves once they were discharged from the various Houston hospitals with no place to go.  Omega House was founded by then 76 year old retired Montessori teacher Eleanor Munger in 1986 to fill that critical care gap and give indigent people suffering with AIDS die with dignity.  

With $10,000 in seed money from Christ Church Cathedral, Munger opened the four bed all volunteer run facility with the mission to compassionately care for terminally ill AIDS patients in their final stages that could no longer be cared for by the traditional medical establishment.

It was the first residential hospice in Texas, and it recently merged with Houston Area Community Services.  Bering Omega House and celebrated its 30th year of existence with a short program in HSPVA’s Denny Theater in which longtime workers there recalled the early days of its existence.

Image result for bering omega house houston tx

Munger passed away in 2004 at age 92, but the residential hospice she founded is still very much a part of the community.  Some of the peeps who were at the Empowerment Brunch with us also took time like Dee Dee and I did to spend a few moment at that ceremony that began at 4 PM, and also included a tour of the facility.

It was a long day, but it’s always good to see my Houston community peeps.and spend some quality time with them, especially since I’ve  piled up a lot of frequent flier miles this year.

And I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my day than to celebrate the achievements of some of our young activists and the 30th anniversary of a critical institution in our community.

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