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Celebrating a Decade of Inclusivity: The Spectrum Center’s 10-Year Milestone


In a world that constantly evolves, where diversity and inclusion become pivotal components of societal progress, safe spaces for marginalized communities play a crucial role. One such beacon of acceptance and support is The Spectrum Center (TSC), a haven for the LGBTQ+ community in Mississippi, celebrating its remarkable 10th year.

Founded in Hattiesburg in 2014, The Spectrum Center has emerged as a pioneering force, standing as the sole physical location dedicated to fostering inclusivity, understanding, and support for the LGBTQ+ community in the state of Mississippi. As it commemorates its 10th year, the center reflects on its history and the strides made in creating a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone.

At the core of The Spectrum Center’s success lies its commitment to providing a safe space for individuals who often face discrimination and prejudice. The center has diligently worked towards creating an environment where everyone feels accepted and celebrated for their uniqueness. TSC is committed to promoting and providing resources in partnership with various local and national organizations to address the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the LGBTQ+ community. They work in collaboration with organizations like the AIDS Services Coalition (ASC), The TRANS Program, the Human Rights Campaign, Spectrum: The Other Clinic, My Brother’s Keeper, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

One of the center’s key accomplishments has been its role in fostering a sense of belonging. TSC hosts meetings for LGBTQ+ groups and has a clothing closet. It offers free HIV testing, health-related functions, and short-term emergency housing for displaced LGBTQ+ individuals. In the future, it plans to provide temporary housing for unhoused LGBTQ+ members.
In addition to its invaluable support services, The Spectrum Center has been a force for positive change in the broader community. Through outreach programs, collaborations with local organizations, and educational initiatives, the center has worked tirelessly to promote understanding and acceptance.

As the 10th-anniversary celebrations unfold, The Spectrum Center is not just looking back on its achievements but also towards the future.

“Reaching a 10-year milestone gives us a chance to reflect and restructure so we’re planning for a lot more programs, programs that can hopefully help us reach a wider demographic of people,” said Ilima Lewis, the Vice President of the Spectrum Center. “We want to be able to invite more people into the space and help people feel comfortable and welcomed.”

The center aims to expand its reach, both in terms of services offered and the communities it engages with. TSC has several monthly celebrations for this year including Time Capsule Dedication in February, Paint & Sip in March, Gala in April, Champagne Toast in May, Summer Camp in June, Queer Prom in July, Color Run + Block Party in August, Mini Film Festival in September, After Hours Open House + Holiday Party in November and Lantern Lighting in December.

In a world that still grapples with issues of discrimination and inequality, The Spectrum Center’s decade-long journey stands as a testament to the power of community, acceptance, and resilience in Mississippi. As it celebrates this significant milestone, the center continues to be a beacon of hope, lighting the way for a more inclusive and understanding future for all.

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