The Center – Home for GLBT in Metro D.C.

Capital Pride 2007: Community Partners

OVER AT THE CENTER, Mike Sessa has his hands full. As Center president, much of the direction and evolution of this community center falls to him. And with a community as diverse as Washington’s, that can mean shooting for being all things to all people — within reason.

”The Center is still small and growing and needs financial support,” says Sessa. ”People think of D.C. and think we should have the biggest, best GLBT community center in the country. But you have to raise money to build it.”

Though The Center today does boast office space, a computer lab, and meeting space that can be reserved by members of the community, it’s not yet the sort of drop-in community hub that Sessa envisions. Whatever its physical dimensions, The Center still manages to engage and support the community with a variety of programs and events.

Of those, Sessa says he’s most proud of the Center-sponsored Crystal Meth Working Group.

”We were able to organize the city’s Department of Health, the Metropolitan Police Department, treatment providers, the Lambda Center, Prevention Works! and community activists on an issue when no other activity was happening,” says Sessa with obvious pride, also pointing to The Center’s work with the GLBT elder community and a 2003 program to help the community understand the rights and responsibilities that came with the District’s domestic-partner law.

To move The Center to join Capital Pride as a Community Partner was an obvious step for The Center’s board, says Sessa.

”Pride is something that joins everyone in the GLBT community. A lot of folks and organizations focus on their specific section, their cause. Sometimes it compartmentalizes us and we end up concentrating more on how we’re different than how we have a common cause. That’s the importance of Capital Pride.”

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