“In the Meantime” (Los Angeles) Black Gay Men’s Wellness Month KICK-OFF Reception steeped in the heart of Black Excellence and Mocha Chocolate

On Everything I Love, “In the Meantime,” opening night Reception Ceremony for Black Gay Men’s Wellness Month and presentation of the King-Bremond Scholarship was definitely a Los Angeles evening to remember. The room was filled with as Jeffrey King said it best, “a double dose of delicious chocolate,” in the Carl Bean House. I will have to say, I was in love surrounded by so much blackness and masculinity. It felt like a true community collective of not only black gay men but also the visible representation of our sisters and mothers standing in support our evolution and freedom to be.

Opening Reception Ceremony (August 2, 2023) The Carl Bean House – Los Angeles

The evening host, Jeffrey King, the founder and executive director opened the program with excitement and anticipation for all attendees to have a first-class experience. Instrumentalist B. Thompson serenaded the room with his signature soprano saxophone, author Benjamin Carlton set the course for Black wellness, New York Times best-selling author, George M. Johnson gave us an impromptu charge to remember the life of professional dancer, O’shae Sibley senselessly murdered in New York at a gas station and inspirational words given by Pastor Curt Thomas, Kaitwan Jackson to name a few all captured by famed photographer AJ Calloway.

Kaitwan Jackson, Benjamin Carlton, and B. Thompson

Plus, the King-Bremond Scholarship was awarded to me and fellow scholar recipient Leon Maultsby. This night was one that will forever be etched into my memory and the exquisite cuisine curated by Chef V.

The King-Bremond Scholarship Award Recipients: Pastor Sammie Haynes and Leon Maultsby

Here is a Preview of my Acceptance Speech:

It is with a humble heart and an attitude of gratitude to receive the King-Bremond Scholarship in continuance of my educational pursuit as a Pastoral Theology graduate student at Loyola Marymount University. To be a recipient of this prestigious financial contribution is transformative and affirming to the fact that my dreams, my education, my spirituality and my life is anchored by the support of the black LGBTQI+ community in Los Angeles. Jeffrey King and the In the Meantime Men’s Group play a special role in the rhythm of my life by ensuring I am not left out in the sunlight of opportunity but given a seat at the table for revolutionary dialogue and empowerment.

Pastor Sammie Haynes – Acceptance Speech

Upon my relocation to Los Angeles California from my southern roots of Georgia, I came with a vision and a mission seared on the tablet of my heart to create a place where exclusivism was not law and inclusivity reigned supreme. Within two months of my relocation, I planted Vision Church Los Angeles to intentionally demolish rituals, laws and religious practices that exclude the LGBTQI+ community and devalue their existence to curate an inclusive faith space for all people to encounter God. What I know for sure, my life calling is to reach those living on the margins daily and it is my duty and responsibility to be a practical pastoral theologian and caregiver brave enough to reimagine God, theology, faith and care for others to experience the agape, unconditional love of Jesus Christ. For me, it is not only important to shout in the streets against racial brutality like the, “Black Lives Matter” movement; however, I am compelled as Cooper-white asserts, “A good preacher must find ways to let creative juices flow, see the world in ways most people do not, get the right angle or aspect as does a photographer to a painter, select the motif as does the writer, determine the best medium as does the sculptor, and hear the music in one’s head as does a composer.” …

EVERY TUESDAY IN AUGUST “In the Meantime” Black Gay Men’s Wellness Month 2023 Series and Schedule below.

Black Gay Men's Wellness Month 2023

Some stellar photos from the Opening Ceremony hosted by “In the Meantime Men’s Group,” Los Angeles. TAKE A LOOK!

Images by Photographer AJ Calloway.

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