Better known as “A.P.”, the proud mother of two has proven instrumental in the evolution of the group’s various workshops, film festival and literary event (now known as the Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Event.)
Accordingly – you can add president of St. Louis Black Pride to her many titles, which include poet, writer, social worker, community activist and self described professional black woman.
St. Louis Black Pride got its start in 1999 when the St. Louis Black Gay and Lesbian Pride Committee was formed following the B-Boy blues Festival, sponsored by BABAA (Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS). St. Louis Black Pride is a non-profit organization whose mission is to be an informational, educational and outreach resource for area LGBT African Americans.
Since coming out 10 years ago, Pearson’s love for her community has led her to volunteer, support, and facilitate many positive and growth inspiring events. Among them is the S.O.C. (Saving Our Community) Project and the I CARE Campaign, which provide support, education, community resources and suicide prevention.
As an advocate of all communities, she encourages each to better themselves while helping others. Pearson was also the co-host for St. Louis’ hottest and longest running all-inclusive open mic, SistaSpeak and received the 2010 St. Louis Black Pride Advocacy Award.
“What drives me is a desire to be a positive role model for individuals and my community,” she said. “And to educate, elevate, and nurture inclusiveness, respect and a positive image towards and within the LGBTQ community.”
Pearson has spent this year working diligently to unite the entire LGBT family, regardless of race, creed, or color and assures everyone that this is a union long awaited. 2011 marked the first year Black Pride joined with Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois and Pride St. Louis in walking as one at the St. Louis PrideFest parade. Black Pride also participated in Metro East Pride in Belleville, June 18th and was featured in the June edition of the Vital VOICE along with Metro East and Pride St. Louis’ Presidents.
“It is imperative for the future of all Prides to work together in an effort to preserve their unique attributes, while acknowledging the parallel significance between all three,” Pearson explained.
Outside the LGBT realm, Pearson has devoting the past 16 years advocating as a social worker for delinquent teens, children in family services, and adults coping with persistent and severe mental illness at Independence Center. If you’ve ever been privy to a conversation concerning her background, you’ll quickly realize how profound and dedicated she is in her chosen profession.
What’s more, Pearson can be found volunteering her time at organizations such as St. Louis Effort for AIDS and Alpha Psi Kappa, Inc. (as founder and president of the Phi Chapter of the LGBT fraternity.) She is also co-chairing the upcoming “Summer Fusion” Fundraiser on August 28th at Independence Center, as well as September’s “Rock the Roof Top” benefitting a mental health organization in Africa.
Ever at the ready with a warm smile, helping hand and big hug, Pearson enjoys enriching and finding innovative ways to uplift and unite the LGBT community. Indeed, her motivation is seeing the need for what she’s been doing for many years.
St. Louis Black Pride 2011 will be held Aug. 19-21 culminating with the annual PrideFest in Benton Park. For a complete schedule of events, pick up the August Vital VOICE or check out their website
BY: COLIN MURPHY – SENIOR WRITER