The Annual Holiday Wish Gala is right around the corner, and organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout than last year. The gala was founded by Gladece Knights who is the Executive Director and coordinator for the annual event. Knights is no stranger to the community. She also produces other LGBTQ events throughout the year.
However, this event is very special to Knights. Not only is the event a fun opportunity to dress up and mingle with other community members, but it also raises money for Mary’s House for Older Adults. The non-profit organization was started by Dr. Imani Woody who was inspired to create “a model for housing celebrating the ‘whole person’ as they age, no matter who they are.” Mary’s House—which is scheduled to open in 2017— is an organization committed to providing LGBTQ-friendly and affordable housing to older adults.
“I’ve done events all my life and was motivated to have a holiday party where we could all get dressed up and then show off our blessings by giving back to our community,” explains Knights.
Tagg spoke with Knights to discuss the annual gala, Mary’s House, and bringing awareness to the community.
Why did you start the Holiday Wish Gala?
I recently read a Facebook post by the Executive Director of The DC Center David Mariner [explaining that] in D.C. LGBTQ people make up over 10% of the population but receives only 1% of public funding. I did some research to find an organization that was trying to make an impact in the LGBTQ community and who had specific financial needs. I chose Mary’s House for Older Adults.
Why is it important for you (and the community) to support Mary’s House?
Dr. Imani envisioned a need for a different type of housing for older adults, a safe and accepting space for communal living that doesn’t exist in the district. We need to be responsible for providing an affordable, safe and LGBTQ accepting place for older adults.
What do you hope to accomplish at this event?
Two things: Public awareness and to be able to double our financial donations.
What can guests expect on December 17?
It’s a wonderful time of year where we like to harness the spirit of giving and the experience of abundance. We have amazing raffles and auction items. For example, there is a weekend getaway to Rehoboth Beach, as well as a chance to win an iPad or PSP3 for just $10 per raffle ticket.
In addition, we have deliciously prepared hors d’oeuvres catered by Love Dynasty. We also have live entertainment from Chocolate City Burlesque, a featured singer accompanying the Empowerment Liberation Cathedral band to celebrate the life of Chef Tyonne Johns. And last, but certainly not least, we have DJ D who is known for her house music beats that will keep us on our feet. I want to highlight that these are all community members giving back to the community.
Is there a dress code?
Yes, if there’s one time of the year to dress up let it be at the Holiday Wish Gala. Dress code is semi-formal, that’s cocktail dresses and suits please. The paparazzi will be flashing!
Will Mary’s House always be the beneficiary moving forward?
The mission for the Holiday Wish Gala will remain the same. We will continue to find and help organizations who are making a difference in the LGBTQ community.
The Holiday Wish Gala takes place December 17 at the Human Rights Campaign. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. Tagg readers can get a discount on their tickets by entering promo code “Tagg”.