After years spent dedicating his spare time to educate and advocate for LGBT African Americans, Curtis Lipscomb is feeling rejuvenated and ready for the next step.
Lipscomb, 47, is the founder and only full-time employee (starting last year) of Kick, a Detroit organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered African Americans, and the only one quite like it in the country.
Kick got started in 1994 as a publishing house that put out a magazine. Lipscomb and his colleagues then went on to found Hotter Than July, an annual festival akin to
Pride events (Detroit has its own Motor City Pride this weekend) before honing in on education and advocacy.
Kick ran entirely as a volunteer organization from 2003 to 2010, subsisting on small grants and donations, when members received a two-year, $180,000 operating grant from the Arcus Foundation. With additional funding from the Knight Foundation and Unity Michigan, the organization prepared a youth leadership training program, which graduated its first 11 students last month.
"I kind of feel as though we're starting all over again," Lipscomb said. "Though I've had 20 years experience volunteering and donating time in our movement, this step -- which I call 'Kick 3.0' -- is new."
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