Executive Director Griot Circle
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Regina Shavers is
a graduate of Erasmus Hall High School. Continuing her family’s
tradition of community activism she became an advocate for
workers’ rights as a shop steward in District Council 37 while
working for the New York City Police Department as a supervisor
in their Communications Division Training Unit. Nominated by the
people she supervised she was awarded the Women Advisory
Committee of NYC ‘s “Contributions to City Government” award.
She was appointed co-chair of DC 37's Lesbian and Gay Issues
Committee and in that capacity served on the American Federation
of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Lesbian and
Gay Rights Advisory Board. She was appointed to the NYPD’s
Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and active the Campaign For an
Inclusive Family Policy, the citywide coalition that negotiated
with Mayor Dinkins to get Domestic Partner benefits for New York
City employees. Regina Shavers is a founder of “Pride at Work”
the national organization of Lesbian and Gay labor unionist. For
her work in the Lesbian and Gay Community Mayor Dinkins,
Comptroller Holtzman, Comptroller Hevesi, and DA Hynes have
She entered Hunter College as an adult and quickly became
involved there. She edited Hunter’s Returning Woman magazine,
became a Mellon Scholar, served on their Women Studies Program
Committee, and served on the Evening Session Student Government.
She graduated from Hunter, with honors, at age fifty, in 1991.
Regina Shavers and her
partner of 14 years,
Janyce (of Unity Fellowship-New Jersey).
Ms. Shavers credits their longevity:
"we enjoy each other's company
and we are each other's best friend."
For her contributions to the establishing of
Unity Fellowship Church in New York City, she was the first
recipient of their Founders Award.
Since her retirement from the NYC Department of Health’s HIV
Training Institute, she has become Executive Director of the
Griot Circle, a senior center for lesbian, gay, trans elders of
color. Co-founded by Regina Shavers, this is the only center
committed to affirming the lives of elderly LGBTST’s of all
colors. A member of the New York Association for HIV Over Fifty
(NYAHOF), she has developed curriculum for teaching issues of
HIV and the Elderly, and she gives workshops and seminars at
senior facilities on that issue. In October 2002, Regina Shavers
received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Senior Action in A
Gay Environment (SAGE).
About Griot Circle
Griot Circle -- gri ot (gre-o,
gre'o, gre'ot) n. A storyteller in western Africa who
perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village or
A gathering of Elders, we are an
intergenerational and culturally diverse community based
organization, which is responsive to the realities of the lives
of older lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, two-spirit and
transgender persons of color.
Our Goal is to maintain a safe space for these Elders, provide
emotional support and quality programming, which affirms age,
gender, racial, spriritual and ethnic origins. The Griot Circle
is committed to honoring and preserving our histories and
traditions, to reuniting the parts of ourselves that have been
fragmented by racism and homophobia. While our policies are
inclusive, and everyone is welcome, this is a safe space made
specifically cuturally comfortable for gay Elders, of all
colors, over the age of fifty where they and their friends can
enjoy each others company.
Why our own space?
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender elders
suffer greater isolation, discrimination than the general senior
Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender seniors
are five times less likey than other seniors to access needed
services because they fear discrimination
60% of the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender
live alone, as compared to 40% of the general elderly population
Only 25% of LGBT seniors have surviving children
who can provide caretaking services, as compared to 75% of the
general elderly population
Very few LGBT's of color are included in this
research or surveys, however we do know that when racism,
poverty are added to this mix the results are synergistic.
@ the YWCA
30 Third Avenue, Rm. 202
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Executive Director: Regina Shavers