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Café Pride celebrates official launch at USES

by Michele D.  Maniscalco
Thursday Feb 16, 2017

Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo by Michele Maniscalco
Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  

About 60 people including seniors from the LGBT community, city and elected officials and special guest Mayor Martin J. Walsh came together at the United South End Settlements Harriet Tubman House, 566 Columbus Avenue, to savor appetizers and snacks and to mix and mingle to celebrate the official launch of Café Pride, the newest meal and social event sponsored by non-profit elder-services provider Ethos.

Café Pride, which had its "soft opening" on January 11, is a monthly, low-cost "supper club" for LGBT people of color and their friends which will offer entertainment, speakers and informative sessions. It is a new addition to both Ethos's array of services for LGBT elderly and to its weekly and monthly senior meal gatherings that currently operate around the city.

Also in attendance were Emily Shea, Boston commissioner of elderly affairs and deputy commissioner Melissa Carlson; Boston Transportation Department commissioner Gina Fiandaca; Office of Neighborhood Services liaison Sam Chambers; City Councilor At Large Ayanna Pressley and state representative Elizabeth Malia (D-11th Suffolk), whose district includes parts of Jamaica Plain, where Ethos is headquartered, as well as Roxbury and Roslindale. Ethos executive director Dale Mitchell acted as host and emcee for the event.

Mayor Walsh recalled working with Mitchell and Malia as leading advocates for LGBT rights from his earliest days on Beacon Hill, noting that Malia urged him to join her legislative efforts because "we really need straight white males to join." Walsh, who was first elected to the state legislature in 1997, recalled that he and 27 other of his straight, male colleagues were upset when marriage equality legislation was first crafted, then "softened" in an attempt to increase its chances for passage.

Walsh proudly pointed out that Massachusetts enacted both universal health care and marriage equality in 2004. Alluding to the current political upheaval since the inauguration of the new president, Walsh said, "Remember, no matter how bad it gets, Massachusetts leads the way."

Ethos, which is part of a system of 26 non-profits around the state dedicated to augmenting government services for seniors, provides a comprehensive range of services including health, fitness and nutrition; home care; assistance with home repairs; money management and transportation, hosts elder weekly and monthly cafés around the city offering seniors a tasty, nutritious meal and a chance to socialize.

Margery Gann, care management director at Ethos, said, "We try to make it a welcoming place and offer the diners what they want in terms of educational programs or entertainment." Gann and Mitchell hope that this new monthly happening will raise awareness in the South End of Ethos's wide array of services for LGBT and all elders trying to maintain themselves in their homes. "What we find is that most people don't know what is available to it until you need it. The point is to keep people informed before they are having a crisis," Gann observed.

The Haley House culinary arts training program provided Café Pride with delicious, light fare including flatbreads topped with spinach, caramelized onion and gorgonzola; jerk chicken, curry chicken or vegetarian wraps; empanadas; antipasto, salad and chocolaty cookies. Gann explained, "It keeps us true to the mission when we purchase from Haley House. Not only do they do a nice job, but it's easy to meet needs for people who are vegetarian or have other [dietary restrictions]."

Café Pride will return to the Harriet Tubman House on March 8 at 4:00 PM with dinner, congenial company and programming to be determined. The suggested donation is $5.00 and reservations are required. To reserve a space at the Café Pride table, please call Ethos at 617/522-6700. For more information on Ethos, please visit www.ethocare.org.


Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  


Dale Mitchell of Ethos. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  


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