Equality Cabaret’s PRE-BENEFIT PHOTOSHOOT – Saturday, January 25, 2014 between 11:00a.m. and 3:00p.m.

Eq Cabaret Pre Photoshoot Logo

Prior to the Equality Cabaret, The Jim Toy Community Center is having a free PRE-BENEFIT PHOTOSHOOT for all families who support marriage equality.  All couples and families are invited, regardless of sexual orientation.  Photographs will be used as part of the Equality Cabaret on February 23, 2014 at the Ark in Ann Arbor.

The Equality Cabaret is a benefit of the Michigan Marriage Challenge presented by the Jim Toy Community Center. Proceeds will be used to help fund legal expenses associated with the DeBoer v. Snyder lawsuit. The DeBoer case represents a direct, effective and rapid means of securing marriage equality in Michigan and the trial is scheduled to kickoff soon.

The Pre-Benefit photoshoot will be held at the Jim Toy Community Center at 319 Braun Court, Ann Arbor, Michigan on

Saturday, January 25, 2014
between 11:00a.m. and 3:00p.m.

Attendees will hold signs showing their first names and the amount of time they’ve been together. Obtaining marriage equality in Michigan is about YOU, so please take time to come show your support!

More information, including how to buy tickets to the Equality Cabaret, is available here:


At the photoshoot, we will also have special supporter and benefactor tickets available for purchase, along with general admission seats.

If you cannot attend the photoshoot, but would like your family’s photo to be considered for the benefit, please email a high resolution photograph to kerene.moore@gmail.com. Don’t forget to include your names and the number of years you’ve been together!

To learn more about the family and the case or to donate on-line: http://www.michiganmarriagechallenge.com/

To donate directly to the cause: http://www.gofundme.com/marriageequalitymichigan

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Equality Cabaret: Making Marriage Equality a Reality — Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1pm

Equality Cabaret: Making Marriage Equality a Reality

Presented by Jim Toy Community Center to benefit Michigan Marriage Challenge.

(From left) Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer with their children, Ryanne, 3, Nolan, 4 and Jacob, 3, in their Hazel Park home on March 6. The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN.

(From left) Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer with their children, Ryanne, 3, Nolan, 4 and Jacob, 3, in their Hazel Park home on March 6. The Oakland Press/VAUGHN GURGANIAN.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 1:00PM at the Ark in Ann Arbor.

Ticket prices:

  • $250 – Benefactor floor front row reserved-name on program and from the stage
  • $100 – Supporter reserved seating and name on program
  • $25 – General Admission

Purchase tickets here: https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=8950eb5a29a3edcd1511ac30fa841cc8

PRESS RELEASE – Line-Up Announced:

 For immediate release: Line-Up Announced

Press contact: CYNTHIA DUNITZ 734-604-0396. cynthia@flemingartists.com

Equality Cabaret Making Marriage Equality a Reality

Jan. 22, 2014—Artists from Southeast MI are fighting to make marriage equality a reality in Michigan. In partnership with the Jim Toy Community Center, the artists have given their time and talent to raise critically needed funds for the DeBoer-Rowse Family to legally co-adopt their three children.  A benefit for the Michigan Marriage Challenge, presented by the Jim Toy Community Center will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 1pm at The ARK, 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-761-1800.   Tickets:  $250 Benefactor – reserved seating house floor front & center, $100 Supporters – reserved seating house center and $25 General Admission. Tickets on sale at the Michigan Union Ticket Office 734-763-TKTS or online at https://www.vendini.com/ticketsoftware.html?t=tix&e=8950eb5a29a3edcd1511ac30fa841cc8

This benefit is an opportunity for supporters of marriage equality to help make it a reality. Emceed by U of M Professor Holly Hughes, the evening will feature artists, such as: singer songwriter Vienna Teng (viennateng.com/), folk duo Nervous But Excited in a greatly anticipated re-union (nervousbutexcited.com), Mr. B, Chris Good & the Sweet Insurrection, Eleni Kelakos, Mark Brown as Sylvia, Dueling Divas, Dawn Richberg & Vanessa Marr, Max Brown & Family, and Matt Rice.

Help the DeBoer-Rowse Family: Hazel Park lesbian couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are suing the state of Michigan for the right to legally wed and thereby co-adopt their three children. Their case represents a direct, effective and rapid means of securing marriage equality in Michigan.

The state licensed the two nurses as a couple to serve as foster parents of their three special needs children, but Michigan law allows only legally married couples to jointly adopt children.  This civil right, afforded all others in Michigan, is not available to the DeBoer-Rowse family due to Michigan’s constitutional ban on state recognition of same-sex couples.  Because they are prohibited by law to adopt jointly, Rowse adopted their two sons, and DeBoer their daughter.

A team of attorneys is working hard on the family’s case; however, bringing in expert witnesses to demonstrate to the court that same-sex couples are fit parents is expensive. The lawyers estimate the witnesses and other legal expenses could cost 500,000 to $700,000. Federal Judge Bernard A. Friedman, of the Eastern District of Michigan, will begin hearing evidence in DeBoer v. Snyder in late February. The team of attorneys includes Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Ken Mogill, Robert Sedler, and Mary Bonauto.

To learn more about the family and the case or to donate on-line: http://www.michiganmarriagechallenge.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/441179332649684/


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Choral Benefit for the Jim Toy Community Center

The Seventeenth Annual Evening of Sacred Song will take place Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 7:00p.m. at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, 2275 Platt Road.
The requested donation is $20.00 per ticket. Presale ticket price is $15.00. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay. Admission is FREE for children under age 12. Tickets are available at the door or leave a message at machida@comcast.net, or ohenewah49@gmail.com by no later than midnight, December 5, 2013 to have presale tickets held at the door for you. All are invited to celebrate the season, sing along and enjoy music and rhythms from around the world.

Sacred Song, a multi-ethnic choral group, sings both acapella and with accompaniment on guitar, flute, bass, keyboard, banjo and percussion. Since 1995, the group’s annual December concerts have affirmed the values of social justice and spiritual inclusiveness. Members include local favorites:, D. Yarrow Halstead, Robin Wilson, , Laura Machida, Faye Askew-King, Barb Stahler- Sholk, Edie Lewis, Mary Wilson, Cassandra Compton-Montgomery. Zakiyyah Ali, Jeffrey Pickell, Deborah Greene, LaRon Williams, and Gae Winn. Guest Performers this year are Barb Haggart and Julie Leadbetter of “Me, Her and Her”.

All proceeds after expenses will be donated to the Jim Toy Community Center.


For more information: Laura Machida (734-761-7962), or Edie Lewis (734 369-4977)

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October 23: The End of DOMA (Presentation)

The correct date for this event is October 23; an earlier edition of this article incorrectly stated the date as August 23.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor has far-reaching implications on marriage, taxation, estate planning, employee benefits, and retirement benefits, among other things.

Join us at the Jim Toy Community Center (319 Braun Court, Ann Arbor, MI) on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 7 to 9 PM for a presentation by three local attorneys, Angie Martell, Lisa Peterson, and Francyne Stacey–your opportunity to “ask the experts.”

This is a free event, co-sponsored by the Jim Toy Community Center. For further information, contact Angie Martell.

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New focus group on tobacco messaging and the LGBTQ community

Have experience with tobacco? Identify as an LGBTQ ?

Jim Toy Community Center is conducting two focus groups to learn about tobacco use and effective quit tobacco messages in the LGBTQ community . This is a Michigan Department of Community Health funded project that is facilitated by Affirmations Community Center.

These focus groups will be held at the Jim Toy Center during the second full week of October (Oct 14-20th). Participants will receive a $20 gift card. Food will also be provided at the focus group.

Interested? Please click here to fill out the interest survey. The survey will close at midnight on Sunday, Oct 6th.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are these focus groups?
These focus groups are an opportunity for you to talk about tobacco use in a small group discussion. This is a way for us to learn about your personal experiences with using tobacco. You will be asked questions about any previous or current use of tobacco, as well as any experiences with quitting. We’ll also talk about some quit tobacco campaigns – what works and what doesn’t.

Who can participate?
Anyone who has ever used tobacco! This includes current or previous users, and casual users of all forms of tobacco (i.e. cigarettes, cigars, hookah, chew tobacco, etc.).

How long will they last?
Participants will need to commit about two hours of their time. This includes time to sign-in, meet the other participants and have the focus group discussion. The focus group discussion will last approximately an hour and a half (90 minutes).

Where will these focus groups be held?
Focus groups will be held at Jim Toy Community Center (319 Braun Court Ann Arbor, MI 48104 ).

Why is this important?
Even though tobacco use has decreased in the general population, rates of tobacco use remain high in LGBTQ communities. Your thoughts about tobacco use and quit tobacco messages will help the Michigan Department of Community Health develop effective quit messages.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Lydia Ahlum Hanson, MPH, MSW
Health & Wellness Manager
Email: lhanson@goaffirmations.org
Direct line: (248) 677-7223

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OUTFest – Save the Date!

OUTFest - Save the Date!

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Ann Arbor 4th of July Parade—March with us!

Join the Jim Toy Community Center and show your Pride in the Ann Arbor 4th of July Parade!


Bring your friends and family and not only show your Gay Pride but your American Pride as well because after all, We are American Families!

We will be lining up at 9am on Maynard Street between William and Jefferson!

Parade begins at 10am.

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New Volunteer Orientation

The Jim Toy Community Center will be conducting two new volunteer orientation sessions:

  • Sunday, June 9 from 12pm-1pm
  • Tuesday, June 11 from 8pm-9pm

New volunteers only need to attend one session.

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Register today for the Shore to Shore Equality Ride!

Banner 10The Shore to Shore Equality Ride is an exciting 4 day Bicycle Tour across beautiful lower Michigan, beginning in the Detroit Metropolitan area and ending on the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline. Come experience fall in all its wonder with access to scenic side trips, refreshments & meal breaks along the way. This is the inaugural year for the Equality Ride, so the event is limited to 100 VIP riders who will start in Ferndale and travel to Saugatuck via paved roads and enjoying many of the great Michigan biking trails.

For more information on the route and how to join the Jim Toy Center team, please visit the event website.

The Equality Ride is produced by the Michigan LGBT Community Center Network (CCN). The CCN is a collaboration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Community Center organizations across the state of Michigan. CCN members participating in the Equality Ride are Affirmations, The Jim Toy Center, Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, KICK, The Network and Perceptions.

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Jim Toy’s Birthday Bash—Save the date!

Pic from http://www.whisk-kid.com/2009/08/say-it-with-cake.html

On Friday, April 12, from 7 to 10pm we’re hosting a Jim Toy Birthday Bash and JTCC fundraiser at the Corner Brewery Lounge in Ypsilanti. Additional details are forthcoming, but the long and short of it is that this will be a social gathering to celebrate the birthday of our namesake and to fundraise for the Jim Toy Community Center to support its efforts in the pursuit of equality.

We hope to see you there!

Pic courtesy http://www.whisk-kid.com/2009/08/say-it-with-cake.html
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