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Speakers & Awardees

Our MC

Robert Martin

Robert Martin is a dedicated professional with a diverse range of expertise, including accounting, intellectual property disbursement for clinical research focusing on chronic illness, and wardrobe styling as the owner of RTMStyles.

A 2016 graduate of Morehouse College and recipient of the prestigious Martin Luther King Scholarship, Robert has maintained a lifelong commitment to social advocacy. This dedication led him to engage with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he helped in championing various social causes. Robert’s advocacy efforts also extend to promoting HIV awareness and financial literacy among marginalized communities, joined with organizations like GILEAD and TD Bank to co-host the 2019 Winter Ball for the Boston LGBTQ+ community.

Robert’s goal in life is to honor the impactful work of those who came before him, which is why he proudly serves as a member of the Bayard Rustin Community Breakfast board since 2021.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert collaborated with the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program, securing over $75,000 in emergency rental funding to support Roxbury Tenants of Harvard tenants. He has also been involved in community service, contributing to initiatives such as feeding the homeless at The Woods-Mullen Shelter and has co-hosted Narcan training sessions.

In partnership with his husband, Joty Allison, Robert has played a pivotal role in curating Christian inclusive and affirming groups in Boston and Rhode Island. These groups provide a safe space for the community to worship and find support.

Robert remains steadfast in his dedication to making a positive impact in his industries and community, leaving a legacy of inspiration and empowerment. 

Our Keynote Speaker

Renée Graham

Renée Graham, Boston Globe opinion columnist, associate editor, and author of the weekly newsletter, OUTTAKES, is this year’s Keynote Speaker. She has been a columnist since 2016 and writes about race and racism, domestic violence, LGBTQ issues and discrimination, police violence, gun reform, and politics. She has written for Essence magazine and Radcliffe Magazine and her essays have appeared in the books, “Out in America: A Portrait of Gay and Lesbian Life” and “Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy.” A frequent guest on MSNBC, Graham has been a prominent commentator in numerous acclaimed documentaries including the Peabody Award-winning “We Need to Talk About Cosby” on Showtime; “The Two Killings of Sam Cooke” on Netflix; CNN’s “See It Loud: The History of Black Television,” and “1968: The Year That Changed America.

Our Awardees

Liz Page

Liz Page is being bestowed with the Bayard Rustin Breakfast Community Recognition Award. This special acknowledgment is to honor the many years she continues to help raise money for nonprofits in the Boston area and around New England to keep their doors open and maintain the important work at hand. 

Liz was instrumental in establishing the first AIDS Walk, From All Walks of Life 30+ years ago. This landmark event has raised more money than any other fundraiser for AIDS Action Committee, now a division of Fenway Health. The iteration of this walk, now known as Strides for Action, maintains a symbolic quality she initiated to raise not only money for resources but consciousness around our fight against HIV/AIDS. 

This is also a milestone year for the Liz Page Associates which embodies a credible name for itself for shoring up so many organizations. Through Liz Page Associates, the standout events she sponsors ignites passion and creates results. The philanthropy, charity and general good her firm establishes has a unique and successful mark in New England. 

Liz took a very pivotal step to galvanize public awareness about HIV/AIDS. We are forever grateful for her level of activism during a very turbulent time in our lives. Liz’s courageous stance and commitment to the cause is why she was chosen for this award. Liz made us all more intentional in our fight against HIV/AIDS. 

Liz is a conqueror. She is breast cancer survivor, wife, mother and a dedicated and savvy business person. In all these capacities, Liz epitomes the spirit of never giving up and allows passion to guide her through this inspiring life she shares with many!

Casa Esperanza

For more than three decades, Casa Esperanza has been studying the impact of addiction and mental illness on the Latino community in Massachusetts and examining what motivates a client to get help; what it takes for them to stay engaged in care long enough to meet their treatment goals; and how to support them in building a life in recovery that works for them and their family. 

Casa Esperanza has five primary programs that support and meet the unique long term needs of people in recovery: Clinical Stabilization Services (Conexiones), Residential Services (Casa Esperanza Men’s Program and the Latinas y Niños Center), Familias Unidas Outpatient Program, and the Supportive Housing Program, all utilizing a client-centered integrated care approach to treatment and service delivery. Casa Esperanza’s programs focus on the unique cultural and social needs of Latinos in recovery, promoting positive roles as a nurturing parent, supportive partner and friend, and contributing community member.

These programs help people heal from trauma and abuse; establish and maintain healthy relationships; grieve lost loved ones; develop critical thinking, conflict resolution, and health-management skills; exchange unhealthy behaviors for healthy behaviors; and secure essential resources including housing, health insurance and other benefits, education, and employment to sustain recovery and achieve independence.

Jim Morage

Jim began working as a volunteer in 1991 at the local AIDS Service Organization ASO in Portsmouth New Hampshire called AIDS Response Seacoast. He helped out answering phones, working with the development department in fundraising and with client services, providing transportation and other client support. That same year he was offered a position as a part time case manager with the agency, assisting people living with HIV/AIDS navigate the complicated health and human service programs, and connecting them with healthcare providers, medications, drug trials etc. Jim spent a great deal of his time bringing clients to Boston to access their health care, get medications, enroll in drug trials, as well as mental health services. 

He worked around the clock and eventually went full time with a case load of more than 100 Clients. He describes this time as being a tough time where we were still losing a lot of people to AIDS in the mid to late 90’s. In the fall of 1997 after 6 years of working as a case manager he decided it was time to go back to college to get his MSW so I could go to the next level. He moved to Boston and got a job at a bank and started taking night courses at UMASS Boston. He went to brunch one Sunday at Club Café and was told to apply for a serving position. He started at Club Café in November of 1997 and immediately loved the job and the people he worked with. There was an underlying culture of giving back to the community fostered by Frank Ribaudo, whether it was the sports teams or partnering with the local nonprofits to assist with fundraising, Club Café was in it. Jim shares this as one of the best things that happened in his life. 

It was one year later that he was asked to put together a team for the Boston to New York ride and met the amazing Michael Tye. It was at this point that he realized that both of his passions were coming together at Club Cafe. He loved the entertainment business, providing people a place to go and get away from the stresses of day-to-day life. After doing the Boston to New York rides for 5 years and raising an average of $35-$40 thousand a year only to have a good 50%-65% go to overhead an idea was born. 

Harbor to the bay was the idea of Michael Tye at one of their last fundraising parties for the Boston to New York ride. He wanted a one day ride from Boston to Provincetown and a huge party at the end where they could give back 100% of rider raised pledges. The ride would be an all volunteer effort and they would get what they needed donated and if they could not get it donated or afford to purchase it they would have to live without. It was one year later in February of 2003 that Frank Ribaudo, Michael Healy, Michael Tye, and Jim would come together and start Harbor to the Bay. The first year they had 48 riders and 125 crew members and were able to raise $125,000 of which $125,000 was given to Fenway Health and AIDS Support Group Cape Cod. Today, 21 years later, they have raised in excess of $7.1 million and have held true to their mission of giving back 100% to charity. Jim says he feels, “blessed to have been in a position to work on this for 21 years and to have met and worked with so many other amazing people in our community. His life has been forever changed because of his volunteer work, whether providing comfort and support to someone about to die, or organizing an event that brings people together for a common goal. He believes that we are all here to make a difference and to look out for one another and it brings him great joy to be in a position to do both.”

Our Entertainers

Sam Ou

The BRCB is excited to have back cellist extraordinaire Sam Ou. He has played his stirring accompaniments for the In Memoriam for several years, and each time, it is such an empowering musical performance. Sam’s playing is felt in our hearts and is such a befitting homage to the many lives we honor.

Sam is a faculty member and assistant string chairperson at New England Conservatory’s (NEC) Preparatory School. Praised for his “impassioned performance” (Boston Globe) and playing with remarkable ease and clarity, while maintaining a graceful—if vociferous—line that fit well into the narrative” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer) cellist Sam Ou enjoys an active musical life in the Greater Boston area.

Sam completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees in New York from Columbia University and The Juilliard School in their double degree program. He moved to Boston to study with Laurence Lesser at New England Conservatory, where he graduated with a Doctorate of Musical Arts. While a student at NEC, Sam founded the NEC String Trio, which won the NEC Honors Ensemble Competition, was featured on Boston’s WGBH radio station, and was the resident chamber ensemble at Musicorda Music Festival. Sam has played at several prestigious summer venues including Tanglewood, Sarasota, Santa Fe, and La Jolla music festivals.

Sam Ou brings such joy and passion to his playing. We are fortunate his music is helping us to never forget those who have gone on. In fact, the melodic and uplifting selections he plays keep the memories of our honored souls etched in our minds.

Amanda Shea

Amanda Shea is a two-time Boston Music Award-winning Spoken Word Artist. Shea is an artist, performer, educator, artivist, publicist, host, and curator. She co-founded and curated six iterations of Activating ARTivism, a community festival to amplify POC through art, activism, and resistance. Her work can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Globe, TEDX, TEDXRoxbury, Netflix, Prime Video, BBC News, GBH, and much more. Shea will be releasing her first book, “Pieces of Shea” in the Spring of 2024. Amanda’s work examines her personal life experiences, social justice issues, and healing through trauma utilizing art as the tool.

Boston Children’s Chorus

Boston Children’s Chorus harnesses the power of music to connect our city’s diverse communities, cultivate empathy, and inspire social inquiry. Boston Children’s Chorus’s vibrant, jubilant, and powerful performances have established them as leading young artists in the city of Boston and beyond. Internationally recognized for their innovative programming, passionate artistry, and ability to connect to audiences, Boston Children’s Chorus showcases the talent and passion of the diverse young people of our city. Each year, BCC selects a theme for its upcoming season, and this year’s, “True Colors,”. This season, the singers of Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) will explore what it means to courageously uplift, center, and value LGBTQIA+ identities, be it through self-love or brave allyship. Through song and spoken word, BCC singers will take inspiration from LGBTQIA+ activists to highlight local and national civil rights movements.

BLACK by Boston Lesbigay Urban Foundation, LGBTQ+ Elders of Color, Amir Dixon and Amanada Shea


BLACK by Boston Lesbigay Urban Foundation, LGBTQ+ Elders of Color, Amir Dixon and Amanada Shea.

Special Thanks

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