Excellence in Documenting New York’s History

Evelyn Bailey, chair of Shoulders To Stand On, was presented with the 2016 Debra E. Bernhardt Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Documenting New York’s History by the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust .


According to a New York State Board of Regents news release:  “This award recognizes the work of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley (GAGV) for the exemplary work of the Shoulders to Stand on Program. This program documents, preserves, and makes accessible the history of the LGBT Community in the Rochester region and its impact on New York State and the nation in advancing the cause for justice and equal rights.

“Examples of their work can be seen through digitizing the ‘Empty Closet’ newspaper; recording audio and video interviews capturing the stories, struggles and achievements of Rochester’s gay pioneers and allies; and a 90-minute documentary celebrating the struggles and courage of the LGBT community in Rochester.

“In addition, the GAGV Documentation Initiative identified and placed in permanent repositories 15 collections containing 120 cubic feet of records documenting Rochester LGBT organizations, agencies, groups, and individuals that set the bar for gay activism and religious tolerance from 1960 to today.”

RISE Brunch

Mimosas by the lake…for a good cause! Partner with the Gay Alliance as we empower tomorrow's local LGBTQ leaders with scholarships and leadership development opportunities. Tickets are $50. Your sponsorship or advertisement sends a powerful message of investment in the future of the local LGBTQ community! Learn more at http://www.gayalliance.org/rise/

Who is in the picture Coffee hour

Hello again all!
We are preparing materials for an NEH Grant to preserve archival material including photographs – hard copy and digital.
Each of you have been in the community a long time, and hopefully will recognize some of the people in the pictures.
Who Is In The Picture Coffee Hour
Saturday, April 18, 2015
9am – 11am
Gay Alliance
Nopper Room
Auditorium Theatre
STSO will host a coffee hour during which time the EC Photo Archives will be available for viewing as well as some photos on CD's that can not be identified.
There will be post it notes available for you to write down the identification.
Coffee will also be available
Nothing else so no sticky fingers!!!
Please RSVP to Evelyn at evelynb@gayalliance.org.

STSO: 7 initiatives

Shoulders to Stand On
A Community Program

The GAGV Shoulders To Stand On Program of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley focuses on documenting and preserving the history of the LGBT Community in the Rochester region and its impact on New York state and the nation in advancing the cause for justice and equal rights. This project gives credibility to our community and culture, and will be available to teach and inspire future generations.

Shoulders To Stand On Program has 7 initiatives:

1. Roots Chronology – Completed

2. Empty Closet Newspaper digitized, Completed 9/2010 University of Rochester

3. Volunteer project to identify headlines, people, groups, events and gay friendly establishments
through the Empty Closet Newspaper. Completed 1/2011

4. New Women’s Times Newspaper, 1978 – 1984 digitized. Completed: May, 2013

STSO state of the union!

Shoulders To Stand On State of the Union!!!
A year and a half after the Producer’s Premier and the World Premier of Shoulders To Stand On, we are more visible, we are more aware of our successes and our challenges, and we experience on a daily basis how far we have yet to go. Our visibility has been extended to Washington, DC and New York City through the University of Rochester Alumni Relations. Comments after viewing this documentary range from pride, surprise to anger at the unfair treatment of LGBT men and women. We recognize that the battles are not over. We continue to fight for equality and justice until we are ALL free.
The year following the Premiers, Shoulders To Stand On needed: closed captioning; jackets for the DVD/BluRay case; 200 copies of the DVD/BluRay made and mailed; reformatting of some archival materials. By the end of 2013 we had raised $96,500 and our expenses for the documentary and DVD/BluRay copies came to $89,000. Over the next year and 5 months you generously donated another $5,000 to the Shoulders To Stand On Program bringing the total raised for the documentary and program to just over $101,000. During that time Shoulders continued to accept record collections from RATFA, David Emert, Marriage Equality, John Noble, Sue Cowell, and many others. Each of these collections was surveyed and in one case records scanned. The documentary was also broken into 19 chapters for flexibility of use and convenience. After the cost incurred by these expenses, Shoulders To Stand On has a balance of approximately $6,000.
What does the future hold? We will continue to conduct oral history interviews documenting the contributions made by our pioneers in the areas of the Transgender Community, Faith Community and AIDS. We will continue to accept record collections from members of the community and to continue to archive the Gay Alliance records. In July we will submit an NEH Grant to reformat the raw footage from Shoulders and other materials to be preserved at the University of Rochester, and to provide access to those materials by educators, researchers and the general public online. In preparation for the NEH submission Shoulders has been holding Photo Id Days to help identify who, what, where and when for 3600+ Empty Closet photographs from the 70’s through 2009. The Library Initiative, funded by a grant from the LGBT Giving Circle of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, which allows libraries in the Monroe County and Pioneer Library Systems free screenings of the documentary is going well and will continue on beyond its grant year. There is interest in doing an AIDS Documentary to include: documenting the Quilt Workshop organized and run by the Gay Alliance to create panels for the Quilt; the Names Project & Quilt coming to MCC and their continued presence in the community through displays at Equal Grounds; World AIDS Day celebrations; the AIDS Remembrance Garden; HPA; AIDS Research and treatment; the Faces of AIDS Exhibit that knew no bounds in terms of race, creed, sexual orientation or gender expression. These and many more contributions of the Rochester LGBT community to provide care, support, consolation and comfort to HIV patients their family and friends need to be documented. Funding for this will come from grants, foundations, and a few private donors.
As you can see the state of the STSO Program is in motion moving forward. I invite you to share your thoughts, and to volunteer for Shoulders to Stand On Program of the Gay Alliance that continues to document and preserve Rochester’s LGBT history.