Medicine Wheel/SPOKE Proudly Co-Hosts Latinx Community Excellence Awards

On April 14th MWProductions/SPOKE co-hosts the Latinx/a/o/e LGBTQIAPK + Community Excellence Awards (LCEAs) with the Latinx Digital Wellness Center (LDWC).

The LCEAs honor exceptional individuals and organizations whose work advances LDWC’s mission to improve the health, mental well-being, personal and professional development of Greater Boston’s Latinx community. The event will be virtual and hosted from our New SPOKE Gallery at 840 Summer Street in South Boston starting at 5:30 pm.

This event will honor leaders and celebrate the Latinx/a/o/e LGBTQIAPK + experience, recognizing 18 individuals and local businesses/organizations for their outstanding work in Boston and across Massachusetts. Awards recognize Innovation, Social Impact, Civic Service, and Contributions to The Arts, amongst others.

Also at this event MW/SPOKE will share details of an exciting new creative placemaking initiative with two exceptional Latinx artists, Franklin Marval and Alison Maria Rodriguez, in South Boston’s rapidly developing Old Colony neighborhood.

The LDWC emerged from the Latinx/a/o/e Wellness Care Conference that was first organized in Boston in 2019 as Call for Action. The organization was born from the desire to recognize Latinx/a/o/e individuals, business owners, and local organizations that serve the LGBTQIAPK+ Community in the State of Massachusetts. The LDWC team connected with the City of Boston Office of Neighborhood Services and its representative, Jose Garcia Mota, who has since helped them recognize these individuals, business owners, and organizations.

The awards will be held in MWProductions’ New SPOKE Gallery, in accordance with CDC and Massachusetts state health and Covid-19 guidelines. We are proud of our collaboration with LDWC, which grew out of our work on the Days Without Art project earlier this year.

“Our collaboration with SPOKE allows people of color to  be part of the gallery, a place where Latinx people are not normally served,” said Raymond Rodriguez, founder of the Latinx Digital Wellness Center.

The LCEA is presented to exemplary individuals who are role models and outstanding civic citizens within their community, and also to local businesses and organizations that go beyond their call of duty to improve the wellbeing of our Latinx/a/o/e and LGBTQIAPK + communities. These awards aim to recognize and celebrate Latinx/a/o/e individuals, members of the LGBTQIAPK+ Community regardless of race, plus business owners and organizations who have significantly impacted the communities we serve.

“MW Productions/SPOKE and LDWC each work at the intersection of health, social justice, and creative expression,” said Greg Liakos, Interim Executive Director. “We’re honored and thrilled to advance our partnership by recognizing these exceptional Latinx individuals and organizations for their achievements.”

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Medicine Wheel Celebrates Partnership with Call For Action’s LatinX Digital Wellness Center

SPOKE Gallery Create a Safe Space for LatinX Artists

Last month Medicine Wheel redoubled its mission to activate art to create inclusive and equitable spaces when it welcomed three community peer leaders, artists, and entertainers from the LatinX Digital Wellness Center (LDWC) to its New SPOKE Gallery. These three performers in the art of drag, Jessica Tavarez, Daniel Jiminian, and Anabelle Feliz, generously shared their experiences of being Afro-LatinX people in Greater Boston.
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Call For Action and the LatinX Digital Wellness Center (CFA/LDWC) were founded by Raymond J Rodriguez, who created the nonprofit organization to connect his community to the arts for healing purposes. Call For Action was initially formed to organize the annual LatinX Wellness Conference, but once the pandemic struck and Rodriguez recognized the support that LatinX LGBTQIAPK+ people needed across Massachusetts, he formed LDWC. Through the LDWC, LatinX transgender women can meet via Zoom, offering a virtual place for transgender connection and empowerment through the arts that did not exist previously.
 
“Our collaboration with Medicine Wheel Productions/SPOKE allows people of color to come in and be part of a gallery, which is a place where LatinX people are not normally served,” said Raymond J Rodriguez. “LatinX art should be exhibited throughout the city, allowing a safe space for LatinX and queer people to show their art and participate in the arts, in ways that are not typically available to the LatinX community. We’ve accomplished so much, but there is still so much to be done.”
 
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Medicine Wheel/Founder Founder & Artistic Director Michael Dowling added: “This is a wonderful example of Medicine Wheel creating space where connections are revealed. We were founded to activate art to make meaning of the AIDS/HIV crisis. The partnership with Raymond and LWC revitalizes that mission by creating new creative dialogue with a new generation of Latinx and LGBTQIAPK+ Bostonians.”
 
Next month CFA/LDWC will host a reception at the SPOKE Gallery to award the LatinX Community Excellence Awards, recognizing LatinX individuals who have gone above and beyond for the community. Beyond this event, Rodriguez continues to form safe virtual spaces for his community via the LatinX Digital Wellness Center, creating gay LatinX nights for the city of Boston and beyond. The LDWC hosts three virtual shows via Facebook and Instagram Live, where members of the community unite virtually for a variety of programming. ‘Cotorreando’ takes place weekly on Fridays and caters towards the nightlife industry, contrasting Saturday’s show ‘EntreUS’ that hosts conversations about taboo topics that wouldn’t typically be discussed within the LatinX community. Lastly, the third show ‘Cooking with Gene and Ray’ discusses food-related topics like food insecurity and the different social services that are available to the community.
 
Medicine Wheel Productions and the LatinX Digital Wellness Center both look forward to continuing this collaboration and creating more opportunities for cultural connection.
 
“Creating partnerships and events like this is artistic, and there is so much that can be done for this marginalized and underserved community through the arts,” said Rodriguez.

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