Earlier this year Hornitos Tequila proudly announced its official partnership with GLAAD – the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization – with the goal of identifying, honoring and celebrating LGBTQ community members who are spearheading change on a local and national level. As a brand that was founded on the belief that nothing great ever happens without taking a chance, Hornitos is proud to announce the inaugural selected grant recipients who have challenged the status quo for the better.
About the Grantees
DaShawn Usher and Julian J. Walker of Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI)
DaShawn Usher, Founder and Executive Director of MOBI, is a native New Yorker and an award-winning advocate, published researcher, and celebrated leader within the LGBT community and HIV prevention field. He has cultivated more than 15 years of extensive experience in research, program development and design, health communications, and campaigns. Julian J. Walker is an esteemed silver screen Actor, Author, and the Deputy Director of MOBI, this Jackson, MS native has spent the past seven years partnering with campaigns, leaders, universities, and organizations across the globe in hopes of creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ POC.
MOBI is curated social connectivity events for gay and queer people of color to see their holistic self while promoting community, wellness, and personal development. MOBI’s signature programming includes MOBItalks, a personal and professional development series for Black gay men and MOBIfest, an interactive wellness experience that celebrates Black queer voices in fashion, music, visual arts and media.
The full MOBI team features: Anthony Curry (Director of Operations & Events), Dwyane Williams, Jr (Director of Community Engagement), and LaQuann Dawson (Visual Director).
Maria Louise Roman-Taylorson of [email protected] Coalition (TLC)
Maria Louise Roman-Taylorson has been a leader in social services for the transgender community in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. Maria is Vice President & Chief Operations Officer of the [email protected] Coalition, the largest Trans-lead organization in Los Angeles. As a 51-year-old Puerto Rican Latina woman who began her journey to self-discovery at age 19, Maria has become an outspoken voice, activist, and a role model to the Transgender community. Hornitos is honored to recognize Maria and TLC on their mission to advocate for the specific needs of the trans community through education, resources and empowerment. In recent years, TLC has hosted the G.A.R.R.A.S. Fashion Show (Groundbreaking Activism Redirecting and Reforming AllSystems) – an event that provides the opportunity for members of the Trans community to showcase themselves as high fashion models and leaders through community mobilization while participating to raise funds for the organization.
The grantees will be honored with an event in their respective cities this year, where each organization will receive a $10,000 grant to further their goals and commitment to the LGBTQ community. These grants are in addition to Hornitos’ initial donation of $135,000 to support GLAAD and its mission of giving the doers, creators and innovators the opportunity to take on issues and create meaningful change in the world.
“It has been our honor to partner with and learn from GLAAD over the course of the year, taking their guidance and connecting with changemaking individuals and organizations,” said Rashidi Hodari, Managing Director of Tequila at Beam Suntory. “Our first selected grantees – DaShawn, Julian and Maria – are a true manifestation of the Hornitos brand mission to provide inspiration and create opportunities that propel people to “take shots” of their own, no matter how big or small. We are proud to amplify their incredible work.”
For those who are interested in donating to the cause or learning more about how to get involved, please visit www.hornitostequila.com/x-glaad/.