Local News Briefs

DC Police chief names Lt. Jova head of Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit; Unid@s advocates for Latino/a GLBTs; Cuc Vu named HRC's chief diversity officer

Published on February 15, 2007, 12:00am | Comments

Jova to be liaison to GLLU, Chief Lanier

Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Alberto Jova told the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club that he would be working closely with new Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Literally -- his desk is next door to her office.

Jova spoke at the club's Feb. 12 meeting.

''Chief Lanier has provided me the distinct privilege of serving as her advisor regarding [the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit] and GLBT matters,'' he said in a press release earlier in the day.

At the club's meeting, Jova, who is gay, announced that he will serve as both Lanier's liaison to the City Council as well as the head of the GLLU, and said he was ''eager and excited'' about his role there.

Another officer will be assigned the day-to-day functions at the GLLU, he said. That person will report to Jova, who will report to the chief. Jova's priorities include domestic violence in same-sex households, crystal-meth abuse and violence against the transgender community.

Jova dismissed rumors of plans to downsize the GLLU, and said he hopes to expand the department with two more officers.

''We're not going to eliminate it,'' he said. ''We're going to amplify it.''

Jova, a native of Cuba, came to Washington with his family in 1971. He received his bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland, followed by a Master's in Management from Johns Hopkins University. --Yusef Najafi and Will O'Bryan

Unid@s advocates for Latino/a GLBTs

The 13 people that make up the board of directors for Unid@s, a new national Latina/o lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization based in Washington, will take on their leadership titles March 1. Among them is Ruby Corado, a 17-year resident of Washington, whose involvement with Unid@s dates back to 2004 when Latino rights advocates from around the country met in Seattle to form the group's steering committee.

''It's important to fill the Latino void because we don't have a [major organization] talking about immigration and things that are unique to us,'' she says, noting that the ''@'' symbol in Unid@s is used to emphasize the group's versatility and gender inclusiveness.

''It's important to be able to provide a unique voice because there are so many Latinos in [the gay] community, and they deserve to have a voice,'' she says.

Corado is well known among Washington's gay community as president of the local group Latin@s en Acción. She's also a member of Metropolitan Washington's Transgender Coalition, and works full-time as a health educator at Whitman-Walker Clinic.

Unid@s will focus on basic human rights as well as issues pertaining to the Latina/o community, including economic disparities, social justice issues, violence, racism and immigration issues, Corado says.

''I know that we are going to get what we want,'' she says, ''but it's not going to happen overnight.''

Unid@s is currently planning its first meeting, scheduled for the third weekend of April. -- Yusef Najafi

HRC hires first chief diversity officer

Cuc Vu, the former lesbian immigration campaign manager at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has accepted a position at the Human Rights Campaign as the organization's first chief diversity officer, a senior-level position in which she will work closely with HRC President Joe Solmonese.

As chief diversity officer, Vu will conduct research and organize plans to generate greater response and appeal from diverse communities.

''She will play a key role in making sure we execute our vision of diversity within our ranks and membership with the same urgency we use to help companies create policies and work environments that are supportive and welcoming for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans,'' Solmonese said in a Feb. 6 press release.

A Seattle native, Vu moved to Washington in 1994, after acquiring a master's degree in policy and public administration from Columbia University in New York, to work for the D.C. Department of Labor.

''I believe we can become one of the most successful organizations in the country by uniting the strength of our 650,000 members and supporters with people of all races and backgrounds,'' she said in the release. ''It's an incredibly exciting prospect with many challenges and rewards.'' -- Yusef Najafi