Community Briefs: Activists Ada Bello and John C. Butts honored

Ada Bello.

Senior advocacy org honors LGBTQ activists 

The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of Elders (CARIE) awarded Ada Bello and John C. Butts the Spirit of CARIE Award at the organization’s Be the Voice! benefit and auction on May 25.  

Bello was born in Cuba and came to the U.S in 1962. A lifetime LGBTQ advocate, she co-founded the Philadelphia chapter of Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian civil and political rights organization, as well as its descendant organization the Homophile Action League (HAL). She covered the Annual Reminder Demonstrations — the series of LGBTQ-organized pickets that took place from 1965-1969 in Philadelphia — for the HAL Newsletter. She continued her activism by volunteering for the American Library Association’s Gay Task Force; serving on the board of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Task Force and co-organizing the first walk-a-thon for AIDS funding, called From All Walks of Life. She co-founded the LGBT Elder Initiative, and served on its board until 2019. 

A long-time LGBTQ+ activist, Butts has done significant work around issues of racism, diversity, and inclusion in the LGBTQ community. He has sat on the boards of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Action Wellness, and CARIE; he has done extensive community service work, including acting as facilitator for the Sisters of Mercy – Mercy Associate Program; and he volunteers for Sisters of Mercy’s outreach ministries and social justice endeavors. As a regular participant in the Action Wellness fundraiser Dining Out for Life, Butts founded Cocktails for a Cause in 2004, which raised roughly $200,000 for Action Wellness.  

Creative Resilient Youth plans events for youth mental health 

Creative Resilient Youth (CRY), an intergenerational collective that promotes equitable mental healthcare, plans to organize a takeover of the Philadelphia gallery Space 1026 from June 3 to June 5. The purpose of the takeover is to illuminate the experiences that youth have around mental health as well as strategies for how to address injustices in care. 

The takeover events include an opening celebration on June 3 at 6 p.m., gallery hours on June 4 from 12 to 4 p.m. and a panel discussion June 5 at 4 p.m. The discussion will focus on a conversation between the current cohort of CRY teen artists and individuals from past generations of the program. The gallery will feature exhibits by 11 up-and-coming artists from the Philadelphia area. 

The takeover event marks the pinnacle of a new cohort of young artists’ first year as part of CRY, which is modeled after the Creative Resilience Collective. The CRY program “centers practices rooted in collective study, healing and action.”

For more info about CRY, visit   

Jewish History Museum features art installation curated by gay artist

“The Future Will Follow the Past,” an exhibit by Jonathan Horowitz, is running at The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia until December 2022. The exhibit examines the substantial changes America has undergone since 2020 and confronts issues including antisemitism, racial violence, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights and immigration. The exhibit poses questions related to themes and ideas incorporated into The Weitzman’s main exhibition, which centers on hundreds of years of American Jewish life. 

“Like The Weitzman itself, Horowitz’s installations emphasize how the story of Jewish life in America can serve as a starting point for exploring our connections and differences, participating in dialogue and debate, and sharing our lives and our dreams,” Dr. Josh Perelman, chief curator and director of Exhibitions and Interpretation, said in a statement on the museum’s website.  

Two of the exhibit’s pieces that center on LGBTQ issues include Horowitz’s “Pink Curve” and “Rainbow American Flag for Jasper in the Style of the Artist’s Boyfriend.” The former is an amalgam of an Elsworth Kelly sculpture and the badge that gay men were made to wear during the Nazi occuaption of Germany. The latter uses the work of Jasper Johns and that of Horowitz’s partner Rob Pruitt, whose glitter paintings of panda bears became his artistic trademark.   

For more info about the exhibit, visit

GayBINGO celebrates 25 years

The AIDS Fund fundraiser GayBINGO will mark its 25th year with a special event on June 18. Hosted by the Bingo Verifying Divas (BVDs), the theme of the evening is “Take it Back to 1996,” and will include nods to the Macarena, “The Birdcage,” “Rent” and more. The event will feature CBS3 Anchor Jim Donovan as the Superstar Celebrity Caller, a sparkling cider toast, an entertainment surprise and an opening number by the BVDs. Guests can expect bizarre musical numbers, comical drag queen shenanigans and chances to win prizes. 

GayBINGO was described in a press release as a “fabulous, irreverent, campy, wildly popular” monthly event that’s both fun and philanthropic. AIDS Fund provides emergency financial assistance to people living with HIV in the Greater Philadelphia area, in addition to administering education and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and related issues. 

“GayBINGO is critical to AIDS Fund’s ability to support people living with HIV disease during times of financial crisis,” AIDS Fund Executive Director Robb Reichard said in an email. “Funds raised may help someone obtain or sustain safe permanent housing or provide a medical need such as a walker, cane or hearing aid.”GayBINGO will take place at Rodeph Shalom on North Broad Street. Attendees are encouraged to donate new school supplies for kids impacted by HIV.

For ticket information, visit

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