Bebashi to host 32nd-annual gala

A local HIV/AIDS services organization next week will host its annual gala.

Bebashi-Transition to Hope’s Dec. 8 event will celebrate the organization’s 32 years with a dance party, musical guests, a silent auction and an awards ceremony. 

A brief ceremony will include the presentation of the John Allen Blue Awards. Since 1997, the awards have been given out in honor of Blue, one of Bebashi’s first clients. Bebashi communications specialist Brenda Alexander noted that Blue was “a huge part of Bebashi’s inception” before he died from complications due to HIV/AIDS more than 20 years ago. 

“The award recognizes individuals, whether they are a public figure or behind the scenes in the HIV/AIDS advocacy world, or if they’re just big supporters of Bebashi,” Alexander said. “It recognizes individuals of service who embody all that John Allen Blue embodied.”

This year’s winners include CBS 3 anchor Ukee Washington, Tabu owner Jeff Sotland, longtime Bebashi board member Traci Nickens and Girard Avenue Pharmacy owner Francis Byron. Each awardee is being honored for different achievements such as participating in fundraisers and joining volunteer efforts

Alexander said Bebashi’s event is different from other nonprofit events in that it is not only an awards ceremony with a dinner but also also includes musical performances and dancing.

“One of the things that we do is have a good time,” she noted.

For a second consecutive year, Rahel Solomon of “CBS 3 Morning News” will host the event. Alexander said Solomon was a “crowd-pleaser” last year. 

“She’s very energetic,” Alexander said. “She brings a lot of youth and spunk to a gala. She’s extremely professional. She has a lot of charisma and charm and she did a lot of good seamless transitions [for the show].”

Additionally, R&B singer Price will perform and conduct a VIP meet-and-greet. DJ Gary O will provide tunes during the event’s closing dance party.

“Our attendees can just let loose and have a good time,” Alexander said. “We like to send them away yearning for more, wanting to come back the next year.”

For the first time, Bebashi’s gala will also include a silent auction with vacation packages, restaurant gift cards, museum packages and gym memberships. 

“Unlike most nonprofits, we are not bidding off on the typical golf-club membership or country-club membership,” Alexander said. “We have great packages that we created from amazing donations locally and nationally.” 

With the donation opportunities and several ways to celebrate, Alexander noted what attendees can look forward to.

“It’s an opportunity to party with a purpose.”

Bebashi-Transition to Hope’s annual gala will take place 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Hilton Hotel, 4200 City Ave. Visit to purchase tickets.