It is in difficult times that our community shines in so many ways. These days, in many ways, remind a lot of us of the early dark years of the AIDS crisis. As many of you know, the Imperial Courts chapters have been around since the early 1960s and now we have chapters in 70 cities within the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Imperial Court de San Diego has been around for 48 years and helped established the San Diego County AIDS Assistance Fund, Tijuana AIDS Fund and San Diego AIDS Walk (with founder Susan Jester). About two weeks ago, Emperor Mikie Lochner called me about helping people with food who have lost their jobs as many have in the entertainment/service industry (bars, restaurants, etc.). So, we came up with the Emergency Food Voucher Fund. The Imperial Court de San Diego put in the first $5,000 and established the fund, giving out $50 Ralphs/Vons food gift cards to people in need, including families with children. As of this date, due to the generosity of so many people, the Emergency Food Voucher Fund will have given out more than $15,000 in vouchers! This includes $2,500 for the LGBT Center’s clients and families in need. I want to especially thank Bill Ash, Chris Shaw, SF Emperor Jerry, Joe Letzkus, Tom Hebrank, Tom Urbanski, Marsha Elmendorf and City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn.
There are many people in our communities across North America who live alone, be they single or seniors (especially many LGBTQ seniors), so we launched our “Reach Out and Touch Someone” project encouraging and reminding people to check in on their friends regularly by phone, email, text, letters, etc. For people isolated by themselves, it means a lot and makes a big difference knowing that someone cares and they’re not alone. Why not make a list so that you reach out to these people regularly.
“Operation: Royal Mask” A project focusing on members of our community who are sewing and making face masks because of the low supply (Paris of Inside Out Restaurant even has a video showing you how to make them). The Imperial Courts across North America have hundreds of “Betsy Ross” friends sewing away.
“Operation: Free Comic Books” is launching this weekend for families with children. Our schools are closed so children are home and these free comics will help brighten their day. I must most sincerely thank Princess Betty Pages of Denver, Colorado, who owns one of the biggest comic-book stores in the entire world! This week, he shipped me hundreds of comic books from his famous Mile High Comics store and they’re for children ranging in age from 4 to 12 years old. Thank you, Betty, for being as generous as usual (Pages also regularly feeds the homeless in Denver).
There have been so many acts of kindness and support for our projects and I especially want to thank: Tom Hebrank, who regularly drops off “snacks” (cookies, chips, etc.) for children and families we give food vouchers to; Fina/Joseph, for getting that big donation; especially Empress Regina Styles of the Redwing Bar and Grill, who made all our logos (she is the best!); and Carolina Ramos of our LGBT Center — just so many wonderful, caring people. Also, thanks to the members of the Imperial Court de San Diego board of directors, who have helped with these projects: Michael Zarbo (our hard-working treasurer), Steven Blocker, Robert Rodriguez and his partner Scott Parman (who have both played a major part in delivering the food vouchers), Emperor Randy and Huggy Bear Mark, our President Mikie Lochner — all of them have played a part in these projects. And, of course, one of our community’s “angels”…yes, the one and only “Big Mike,” who always plays a big role in all of our projects and benefits. Also, Jonathan Hale, SDGLN, Hale Media, COVID-19 Support Group, Eddie Rey and the Business Alliance. A special shout-out to our elected public officials who are making a big difference by their leadership and hard work: Mayor Kevin Faulconer; City Council President Georgette Gomez; Councilman Chris Ward; state Assembly members Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez; California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins; Police Chief David Nisleit; Sheriff Bill Gore; County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher; and their outstanding staff members.
Also, God bless our nurses, doctors, postal workers, grocery workers, trash collectors, flight attendants, pharmacy staff, etc. Yes, it most certainly “takes a village” in every way to be able to do all these things and there are a lot of unsung heroes involved in these projects. Let’s not forget that organizations like our LGBT Community Center, Being Alive San Diego, Mama’s Kitchen, etc., are also doing a lot of reaching out and helping people in need.
But we cannot continue to do this without your help — please donate to the Imperial Court de San Diego, especially for our Emergency Food Voucher Fund: https://secure.piryx.com/donate/5wtUUjlZ/Imperial-Court-de-San-Diego-Inc/
Go Fund Me:
Make checks payable to ICSD and send to: Imperial Court de San Diego, Inc. P.O. Box 34104, San Diego, CA 92163. Contact Michael Lochner at 619-972-6369. www.imperialcourtsandiego.com
To contact me: 619-241-5672. Nicole Murray Ramirez, P.O. Box 33915, San Diego, CA, 92163, and firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you all. Our village will survive this and we will have one huge celebration!