[image-1] Three Charleston-area LGBTQI community groups are joining forces for a first-of-its-kind resource center on Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston, celebrating the opening of the Equality Hub and Closet Case Thrift store on Aug. 10.

The Alliance for Full Acceptance, Charleston Pride, and We Are Family have partnered to outfit the building located at 1801 Reynolds Ave. The groups hope that having a consolidated presence will help all of them grow and increase their outreach.

Sadly, even before the formal opening of the building, crowds gathered two weeks ago to mark the killing of Denali Berries Stuckey, a transgender woman from Charleston. Police discovered her body off Carner Avenue on Sat. July 23, just a few blocks from where the vigil took place.
“We know that our local LGBTQI+ organizations have even greater impact in the community when we work together,” Chase Glenn, executive director of AFFA, said in a press release last week, looking ahead to the opening on Aug. 10.

“We are creating visibility and accessibility for and with our communities in ways that Charleston has never experienced before,” said Nijeeah Richardson, executive director of We Are Family.

AFFA and Pride will operate out of one storefront in the building dubbed the Equality Hub, which will provide a space where other groups can meet and hold events. In the future, Glenn has floated the idea of hosting pop-up events in the space that could range from celebrations to drop-in medical clinics. The space will feature original works by local artists available for purchase.

Next door, We Are Family recently opened Closet Case Thrift Store. In addition to the proceeds going to help We Are Family build connections within the LGBTQI community, the store provides a judgement-free space to shop the gender-neutral goods at the store. Visit wearefamilycharleston.org for hours of operation and to learn how you can donate to the shop. WAF also has meeting and arts spaces already being used by peer discussion groups for LGBTQI middle and high school-aged youth — a group for parents meets at the same time next door.

“The possibilities ahead for our organizations and for our community are endless,” said Tony Williams, chair and CEO of Charleston Pride. “Together, we’ll be able to accomplish even more in one central location and build a stronger, more vibrant LGBTQI+ community in the Lowcountry.”

The celebration will be held on Aug. 10 at 1801 Reynolds Ave. at 4 p.m. with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with food trucks and live entertainment planned.