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Swish in action: Serious LGBT advocacy and community service with a healthy dose of fun

March 27, 2013

Toolkit: Give A Swish and Volunteer in Your Community 

Give A Swish Spring Colleciton
Photo: Swishers at our 2012 Give A Swish Spring Collection 

April 21 - 27 is National Volunteer Week!  This is a great opportunity to Give A Swish and organize a service project to benefit LGBT organizations in your own community.  

Click here for a toolkit we put together that will give you everything you need to put an event together seamlessly! 



December 18, 2012

Swish Members Look So Good in Santa Hats: Granting Holiday Wishes to LGBT Youth

Holiday Swishes
 Photo: Board Member Ny Whitaker and HMI Executive Director Thomas Krever, Credit: Michael Rider 

As part of our Give a Swish volunteer initiative, Swish teamed up with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation’s largest provider of support services to at-risk LGBT youth, to grant holiday wishes to their community. HMI’s facilities were severely compromised by Superstorm Sandy, and we needed to make sure these LGBT young people knew that they were thought and cared about this holiday season. Wishes ranged from job interview survival kits, to dance classes at Alvin Ailey, to one member who wanted nothing for himself, only gifts for his children. We were able to fulfill the wishes of 20 HMI youth members, and Thomas Krever, HMI’s executive director, joined us at our holiday party to say thank you and meet some of the donors in person.

This thank-you letter to one of our donors says it all: “Dear Michael and the Duane Reade Family: I asked for tickets to go see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and I got my wish. I've never gone to see it living in New York City all these years and this year, guess I got lucky. The date chosen to watch the show happens to be my best friend of 12 years' birthday and it'll be perfect for the both of us. No better way to say thank you than saying Merci, thank you in French. “

Special thanks to:

Seton Davey, Director of Volunteer Services, HMI

Eric Einstein and the gang at Pieces Bar, NYC

Mount Gay Rum

The amazing Holiday Swishes donors:  Leslie Barbaro, Karin Barrett, Jason Bowman and Chris Adasiewicz, Hal Garstein, Allison and Matt Hooban, Lana Lauriano, Jamie Lloyd, Mike Lubell and Duane Reade, David Marshall, Jason Osher, Amy Ricigliano, Michael Rider, Robert Riggs, Sue Sena and Miranda Southwell

Our wonderful volunteers:  Jenny Davenport, Hal Garstein, Saki Mori and Michael Rider

Photos from Holiday Swishes on Facebook


October 17, 2012

Looking Forward, Looking Back: 40 Years of LGBT Activism Celebrated at Firehouse Flicks 2.0

Michael Schiavi
 Photo: Activist author Michael Schiavi introduces film on Vito Russo

In honor of Straight Ally Week, Swish was honored to screen the HBO documentary Vito, on the life and times of influential gay activist Vito Russo, as the inaugural film of our Firehouse Flicks 2.0 series at St. John’s Lutheran Church in NYC. Firehouse Flicks, created by Russo during his time as a member of the 1970s organization Gay Activists Alliance, provided one of the first forums for discussion of gay and lesbian imagery in film, and was the basis for Russo’s groundbreaking biography, The Celluloid Closet.

Professor Michael Schiavi, author of Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo, gave a passionate introduction to the film, and afterwards the audience was treated to a rousing Q & A with Professor Arnie Kantrowitz, Russo’s best friend, co-founder of Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and author of Under the Rainbow: Growing Up Gay. It was a truly inspirational and poignant evening, and a welcome opportunity to consider how far the LGBT movement has come, where it is going, and what the veterans and young lions of the movement need to accomplish together to maintain its momentum.

Special thanks to:

St. John’s Lutheran Church and Pastor Mark Erson

Grey Dog’s Catering

Michael Rider