City of Cleveland LGBTQ+ Heritage Day
Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ Heritage Day takes place during the month of October in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month. It is a day for the community to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the vitality and betterment of Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community in the areas of advocacy and activism, health & wellness, public service, arts & culture, and workplace inclusion. Also this year, we are pleased to announce the Rising Leader category for young folks (24 and under) who are actively making a difference in and for our community.
13th Annual City of Cleveland LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Winners
2021 Advocacy & Activism Winner | Ken Schneck
Dr. Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame, Ohio’s only statewide LGBTQ+ news and views platform. He is the author of Seriously…What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew (2017), LGBTQ Cleveland (2018), LGBTQ Columbus (2019), and LGBTQ Cincinnati (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of leadership in higher education at Baldwin Wallace University. Throughout Ken's work, the common thread remains his fierce advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community.
2021 Arts & Culture Winner | Bella Sin
Bella Sin is a proud outspoken Mexican-Immigrant, who holds the honor of being named “Cleveland Burlesque Queen”. Their artistic ventures, activism and leadership along with historical presentation shows the passion Sin has for their community and city. Their continued work for the community focuses on a legacy of over 18 years of Burlesque artistry, Latinx LGBTQ inclusion and strives for equality and diversity on stage and off.
2021 Health & Wellness Winner | Laura Mintz
Laura J. Mintz, MD, PhD (she/hers) is an Internal Medicine-Pediatrics physician at MetroHealth. Her clinical and research work is focused on the health of sexual and gender minority (SGM) communities. She came to medicine from work in harm reduction, community organizing, and public health focused on HIV, structural violence and the sex trade and street economies. Her current research is focused on chronic pain and stigma in SGM persons, transitions of care for SGM persons, inclusion of trans and gender expansive communities in large database studies, cancer disparities in HIV+ persons, and expansion of SGM community concerns in medical education. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at CWRU's School of Medicine, serves on the advisory boardat ATNSC's Center for Healing and Creative Leadership, acts as faculty advisor for Casemed PRIDE, and chairs the Northeast Ohio Sexual and Gender Minority Care Partnership (NEOSCP).
2021 Public Service Winner | Tony Correa
Tony Correa is the Founder and Executive Director of the LGBTQ+ Specific Behavioral Health Agency, B. Riley House, a safe, tolerant, culturally sensitive and affirming living space where clean and sober living practices can flourish. A chemical dependency specialist, Correa works closely with the LGBTQ+ community in the prevention, treatment and recovery of individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Exemplary is their commitment to serve our public and through their resource continue to help lift up all in need.
2021 Workplace Inclusion Winner | Michelle Tomallo
Michelle is the Cofounder and Chief People Officer of FIT Technologies, a managed IT services firm headquartered in downtown Cleveland. Celebrating 22 years in business, FIT supports organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and K-12 charter schools in 26 states across the country. FIT operated as an LGBT-owned and women-owned enterprise until becoming an ESOP in 2018. FIT is now a 100% employee-owned company. Outside of her responsibilities at FIT, Michelle has been involved for over a decade with Plexus, the LGBTQ and Allied Chamber of Commerce, acting as the volunteer Executive Director for years and now serving on the Board. Michelle was also a part of the team that helped bring the Gay Games to Cleveland. She speaks both regionally and nationally on economic equity, diversity and inclusion, and leadership. As a supporter of many arts and advocacy nonprofits and having a hand in many city-wide initiatives, Michelle continues to impact Cleveland workplaces, making them safe and equitable spaces for all.
2021 Rising Leader Winner | Roman Sardo-Longo
As a second year student at the School of One, the LGBTQ+ school held at the LGBT Community Center, Roman is proving himself as an advocate and leader among his peers. With a strong work ethic and clear communication skills, he is a true ambassador for the mission of School of One and the work they do there. He is not afraid to speak out against injustices and has continually demonstrated a comfortability to speak with media as well as other students. Roman's honesty and enthusiasm has inspired and his empathy and compassion are bona fide hallmarks of being a true leader. Leading life with authenticity and bravery, Roman is poised to succeed at every turn while inspiring others to do the same.
2021 LGBTQ+ Legacy Award Winner | Erin Nash
As an activist for over 32 years, Erin Nash’s contributions to the Northeast Ohio LGBTQ+ community have had incredible impact on countless lives. Through her work with GEAR's (Gay Education and Awareness Resources Foundation) youth groups, taking part in grassroots activism, through rallies and marches, to co-founding the non-profit Margie’s Hope, Nash is an example of someone who could easily be nominated across multiple award categories. Moving forward, the Heritage Day Selection Committee decided to create this new category to honor those whose work illustrates the true communal beauty of our Cleveland LGBTQ+ community. Nash will be the first recipient of the newly created “LGBTQ+ Heritage Day Legacy Award" to honor Nash's ongoing commitment to the betterment and vitality of our thriving Cleveland LGBTQ+ Community.