Greater Richmond Convention Center | August 13, 2022 | 5:30-11:30

19th Annual Commonwealth Dinner

We can't wait to celebrate with you!

Equality Virginia’s 19th annual Commonwealth Dinner will be held Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 5:30-11:30 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center! This signature event is Virginia’s largest black-tie gala for the LGBTQ community and its supporters. In past years, over 1,000 guests including Virginia’s political, business, and non-profit leaders and influencers have joined us from every region to celebrate each other’s successes.

We recognize not everyone who wants to attend the Dinner in-person can, which is why we’re excited to have a livestream option for this year’s celebration. While livestream tickets are completely free, RSVPs will be required. 

For over 30 years, you have made it possible for Equality Virginia to provide a variety of trainings and educational resources to respond to the needs of our community, particularly those experiencing multiple forms of oppression. Equality looks different for each and every person, but by fostering a supportive and welcoming environment we have been able to build trust in our mission and accomplish more than we could have ever imagined.

What you can expect...

5:30 PM
Welcome Reception & Silent Auction Opens 

6:30 PM
Doors to Ballroom Open

6:45 PM
Grand Opening Performance
with Michelle Livigne, Wette Midler, Jack Trade, and Chicki Parm!

7:00 PM
Dinner Service Begins

7:30 PM
Main Program Begins

9:30 PM
After-Dinner Dance
with special performances by Michelle Livigne, Wette Midler, and Jack Trade

11:30 Pm
Evening Closes

Additional Information...

Attire: Black-Tie optional. Coat check will not be available.

Parking: Parking deck at 3rd & Marshall (351 North 3rd Street). The parking fee is $7.00, cash or credit card – pay upon entry. Free parking is available on the streets surrounding the Greater Richmond Convention Center. NOTE: Enter the Convention Center from the 3rd floor of the parking deck.

Arrival: This is a ticketless event – you do not need to bring a ticket with you.

General registration is on the upper level in the Grand Ballroom foyer.

To reach the Grand Ballroom foyer from the parking garage, continue down the hallway and turn right. Directional signage and volunteers will be available to guide you.

You will receive a ticket at registration which will show your table number. If you pre-selected a vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan meal, you will also receive a meal card to place at your table setting.

Bars: All bars will accept cards and cash. Non-alcoholic beverages will be available. ATMs are available on site if needed.

Book Signing: Keynote speaker and author Richie Jackson will be selling copies of his book Gay Like Me available for purchase and signing during the Welcome Reception in the Grand Foyer. Fountain Bookstore staff will be on site to assist with sales, and we will have a photographer available if you’d like to take a photo with Richie.

Auction:   The Virtual Silent Auction powered by GalaBid will open for bidding at 5:30 pm. Silent Auction Check-Out will begin at 9:00 pm in the Grand Ballroom foyer.

Special Ask: We will be using OneCause’s text-to-give platform during the Special Ask! You’ll be able to submit your donation using your cell phone. Once your donation is submitted, your name will flash across our big screens, and the interactive donation thermometer will rise. Checks, cash, and handwritten credit card information will still be accepted.

Raffle: Tickets for our $1,000 cash raffle are available for $5 each or 5 for $20. Volunteers will be circulating the area outside of the Grand Ballroom selling raffle tickets. One lucky person will receive $1,000 if their raffle ticket is drawn at the end of the night!

COVID-19 and MPV Precautions 

-We request that every guest attending the Dinner either be able to show proof of full vaccination proof of a negative PCR COVID test taken at least 48-hours prior to the event at check-in. 

-The Virginia Department of Health has announced the addition of QR codes to Virginia COVID-19 vaccination records. The technology allows anyone to show proof of vaccination with a digital or printed QR code instead of a paper card, and without the need for an app. QR codes contain the same information as paper records, but in a format that offers greater security and efficiency. 

-If you can’t find your vaccination card, or would like a digital copy, visit or search for it here:  

-Masks will be available and guests are required to wear them when not eating or drinking. If you are feeling sick or symptomatic, we ask that you please stay home.

MPV (Monkeypox):

-When thinking about what to do, seek out information from trusted sources like the local health department. Second, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur at the event. If you feel sick or have a rash, do not attend, and see a healthcare provider.

-Events where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact, like the after dinner dance, are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread monkeypox.

Special Guests...

Emmett Schelling

Emmett Shelling (he/him) is the executive director of Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), an education and advocacy organization for trans Texans. Emmett is a South Korean immigrant by way of foreign adoption and a proud trans man. His focus on transgender equality for Texans is informed by the knowledge that many trans individuals face a myriad of disadvantages like race, disability, and income that result in compounding oppression and marginalization.

In addition to serving as the executive director of Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), he is also a board member of Deeds Not Words and House of Tulip (HoT), a member of Transgender Law Center’s (TLC) T4All national cohort, and currently serves as Co-Director for the TransFORWARD, a statewide trans powered research collective in Texas with Texas Health Institute, TENT, and Equality Texas. He was a 2020 Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP) Grantmaking Fellow and was named a 2022 Pioneer on Time Magazine’s annual list that recognizes the 100 Most Influential People of the world. Before entering into the social justice movement Emmett previously worked in corporate management after studying Business Management and Marketing in college.

After going through a devastating series of events he committed himself to invest deeper into the work towards collective liberation after taking on various levels of volunteer community organizing and engagement. After personally experiencing a devastating series of events, Emmett began regularly advocating for trans Texans.

Richie Jackson

Richie Jackson (he/him) is the author of the best-selling book Gay Like Me published by HarperCollins, an opinion columnist for The Advocate, and an award-winning Broadway, television, and film producer who produced the Tony Award-nominated Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway and executive produced Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for “Best Comedy Series”) for seven seasons.

As an alumnus of NYU, he endows a program at his alma mater to train the next generation of LGBTQ+ activists called the Richie Jackson LGBTQ+ Service Fellows. He and his husband, Jordan Roth, were honored with The Trevor Project’s Trevor Hero Award. They are the proud parents of two extraordinary sons.

Senator Ghazala Hashmi

Senator Adam Ebbin

Pat Hunter-Jordan

President, Hanover NAACP

Meet your hosts...

Michelle Livigne

Instagram- @michellelivigne

Venmo – @michellelivigne

Cashapp – $michellelivigne

Wette Midler

Instagram – @wettemidler

Venmo – @wettemidler

Cashapp – $wettemidler

With special guests...

Chicki Parm

Instagram- @michellelivigne

CashApp- $ChickiParm

PayPal- [email protected]

Jack Trade

Instagram – @jack_trade

Venmo – @jacktrad3

Cashapp – $jacktrad3

Thank you to our
generous partners

Equality Virginia is grateful to our incredible sponsors who make The Commonwealth Dinner a reality! The ongoing support of our new and longtime sponsors continues to fund our work to engage, educate, and mobilize our community in support of LGBTQ equality.

Sponsorship packages are available in tiers, with benefits including event tickets, ads, logo and brand placements in digital and print materials, and more! Click here to learn more about becoming a sponsor.

Presenting Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Save the Date Sponsor

Welcome Reception Sponsor

Accessibility Sponsor

Wine Sponsor

Centerpiece Sponsor

Nonprofit Sponsors

We know that our work is strengthened by our relationship with many partner organizations across the Commonwealth and we are grateful for their support of this year’s event. 

If your organization is interested in becoming a nonprofit sponsor, please email Mario Guevara at [email protected]