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

19th Annual Commonwealth Dinner

On Saturday, August 13th, over 700 LGBTQ+ and allied Virginians gathered together for the first time in 3 years for the 19th Annual Commonwealth Dinner, presented by Altria. If you happen to be one of those guests, we would like to thank you for joining us in celebrating the many victories, learning more about what challenges lie ahead in the coming year, and most importantly honoring our vibrant community. EV’s board and staff can still feel the incredible energy buzzing throughout the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The evening would not have been possible without you.​

Because of you, Equality Virginia raised over $200,000 to support the collective liberation of all LGBTQ+ people. The road doesn’t end here, and work we do together is ongoing, but you have proven that it is possible to create long-lasting change across the Commonwealth.

Click here to check out all of the photos from this year’s celebration.

Relive the evening below...

We reconnected during the Welcome Reception...


The evening kicked off with hors d’oeuvres, a spin in the 360 degree video booth from Social Party Booth, and many laughs with friends that we haven’t seen in so long. This year’s Welcome Reception was made possible by the generous support of our longtime partner Williams Mullen.

We enjoyed exciting opening performances...

A Commonwealth Dinner first! Before the main program began, local sensations Chicki Parm, Jack Trade, Michelle Livigne, and Wette Midler graced the stage to treat attendees to a high energy drag show.

We learned more about what we could do to make schools safer for transgender and nonbinary students…

EV’s Safe School Coordinator, Kyeligh Hynes, and Hanover County NAACP President, Pat Hunter-Jordan, highlighted the importance of advocating for transgender and nonbinary students in all of Virginia’s 133 school districts. Learn more about the work the Safe Schools Action Network is doing by watching the video below.

We heard from Elected Officials advocating for LGBTQ+ protections…

Virginia State Senators Ghzala Hashmi and Adam Ebbin shared what they are doing at the General Assembly to advance LGBTQ+ equality and defend our progress. Watch the video below hear what you’ve helped us accomplish this past General Assembly session.

We were inspired by the stories of our special keynote speakers…

TENTS Executive Director, Emmett Schelling, and award-winning writer and producer, Richie Jackson, spoke about their life and journey to advocacy.

More about our 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 the amazing hostesses...

Michelle Livigne

Instagram- @michellelivigne

Venmo – @michellelivigne

Cashapp – $michellelivigne

Wette Midler

Instagram – @wettemidler

Venmo – @wettemidler

Cashapp – $wettemidler

Meet our performers...

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]g

Table Hosts

AIDS Response Effort, Inc. (ARE)

Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen

Atlantic Union Bank

Brandermill Woods

Bryan Price

Carl Johansen, Janet Moore, & Michael Berlucchi

Carol Schall & Mary Townley

Catherine Read & Tom Greeson


Christopher and Joey Pierce

Crystal Suber

Diana Maurer

Ed Cassidy and Felix Borges

Haus of Claws

Joe Cobb

John Osterhout & Ronald Newman

Joseph Papa & John-Stuart Fauquet for Hanover Advocates

Mario Guevara

Narissa Rahaman

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia

Spanberger for Congress

Tri-Cities Pride

VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products


Deanna Bayer

Debi Bennett

Erykah Christian 

Lesley Cook

Joe Michael Fusco

Elizabeth Gindhart

Katy Gossman

Regina Howell

Matt Jones

Maxwell Manchester

Deborah Mapp

Ashley McClary

Stephen Palmer

Mary Paul

Colleen Trott

Noelle Wekenmann

Matt Woodward