Transitioned January 29, 2008
Regina Shavers founded the GRIOT Circle, "an intergenerational and culturally diverse community-based social service organization responsive to the realities of older lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, two-spirit and transgender people (LGBTST) of all colors."
Regina Shavers had a long history of community involvement and activism. As co-chair of District Council 37 (NYC) she advocated for workers' rights, and served on the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Lesbian and Gay Rights Advisory Board. She played an active role in the Campaign for an Inclusive Family Policy, the citywide coalition that negotiated with Mayor David N. Dinkins to obtain Domestic Partner benefits for New York City employees.
She also helped to found Pride At Work, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO that focuses on the rights and unionization of LGBT workers. Regina was also the former Assistant Director of the NYC Department of Health's HIV Training Institute. She created and implemented curricula for HIV prevention and treatment, including curricula specifically tailored towards older populations. Regina continued with her HIV/AIDS facilitation as a member of the New York Association on HIV Over Fifty (NYAHOF).
In 1995, Regina co-founded GRIOT Circle to combat the lack of community that she had observed amongst LGBT Elders, particularly those of color. She assumed the role of Executive Director of GRIOT in 2000. Regina Shavers founded the GRIOT Circle as "an intergenerational and culturally diverse community-based social service organization responsive to the realities of older lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, two-spirit and transgender people (LGBTST) of all colors."
The goal of GRIOT Circle is to maintain a safe space for elders, provide emotional support and quality programming which affirms age, gender, racial, spiritual and ethnic origins for the over 50 LGBTST ommunity in Brooklyn.
GRIOT Circle provides educational and informational forums, referrals to social service providers, health and fitness programs, spiritual wellness, computer training, a friendly visitors program and social outreach. Volunteer members make reassurance telephone calls and visits to homebound, sick or hospitalized persons.
[Editor's note:] This post is part of a series celebrating Black History Month and the Black LGBT experience. The information in this profile was gathered by the National Black Justice Coalition.