Citing "deep and irreconcilable differences" with ULOAH’s current 3-member board of directors, Ms. Powell will have no further involvement with ULOAH or its black lesbian retreat, Sistahfest.
As a Black lesbian, ULOAH was one of the first organizations I turned too to find more people like me. But in the past couple of years, ULOAH had all but disappeared from the scene. In the middle of the entire political ruckus over lesbian and gay civil rights, I was disappointed that ULOAH didn’t play a more definitive role in representing Black lesbians. This is hard for me to say because Lisa Powell has been and still is a friend of mine.
ULOAH is special, it’s a unique organization that represents a group of unique individuals. If ULOAH is not around, it almost feels like Black lesbians are not around. And while ULOAH is a national organization, its strongest presence has been here in Los Angeles but Black lesbians in Los Angeles have seen their social and political world continually shrink over the past few years. With the closing of Cabrini’s Coffee House, there were fewer and fewer places for Black lesbians to gather and connect with one another outside of the club.
While ULOAH is in the middle of restructuring itself, I hope that the new leadership will see the important role that ULOAH has in not only bringing Black lesbians together for social gatherings but for political issues as well where our voice is just as important as our counterparts, if not more so in regards to the African American community.
I wish Lisa the best in her new path.
From Lisa Powell:
Founded in 1989 and based in Los Angeles, ULOAH is one of the nations’ very few black lesbian organizations.
"I am proud of my legacy with ULOAH. We started as a small, all-volunteer organization seventeen years ago and in 2006 we were poised to be a sustainable and formidable force in the progressive movement, says Ms. Powell."
Lisa Powell, an attorney and long-time activist, served on ULOAH’s board of directors as Co-Chair from 1989-1997. In 2002, when Ms. Powell became the organizations’ first staff person, ULOAH had $75 in the bank and a two-year, $15,000 grant from Gill Foundation. Since then, she has increased the budget to what would have been $213,000 in 2006.
Ms. Powell conceived, developed, launched and obtained funding for each of ULOAH’s new program initiatives: Family Reunion, which promotes unity in the black community and works to build straight, black allies for lgbt equality; ULOAH/YES! (Young, Empowered Sistahs), to develop black lesbian youth leadership; ULOAH University, an activist and organizer training academy and Strong Sistahs/Sweet Success, a program to increase physical activity and healthy eating among black lesbians. As chair of the Sistahfest Committee, Ms. Powell insured that Sistahfest remained a life-changing black lesbian destination.
During Lisa’s 4 years as Executive Director, ULOAH received numerous awards from across the country, heightened media attention including features in Venus Magazine and Lesbian News along with unprecedented national visibility. Ms. Powell’s recent personal awards include OUT Magazine’s OUT 100 in 2005, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s 2005 LACE Award for Extraordinary Service and the 2006 Changemaker Award from Liberty Hill Foundation.
"We are deeply grateful for Lisa’s commitment and dedication to ULOAH and we will sorely miss her experience, persistence and visionary leadership," says ULOAH Co-Founder, Yolanda Whittington.
"It’s fair to say that over her seventeen years with the organization, that
Lisa was the catalyst, the innovator, and often the muscle behind many of the programs that ULOAH is known for. Lisa has a been vital force in our efforts to empower black lesbians, protect and nurture our gay and lesbian youth, and to build communities without prejudice. Quite simply, ULOAH would not be where it is today without her creativity, wisdom, dedication and tireless activism,"
states Jeannette Bronson, former ULOAH Board co-chair, and ULOAHonline founder.
"My work for justice and social change will continue and I look forward to what my next chapter brings. Many thanks to The Sistahhood for your love and support over all of these years," stated Ms. Powell.
If you would like to remain in contact with Lisa, she may be reached at: