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Jul 21, 2020

Dr. Wilhelmina Perry (85) was interviewed by Angela Denise Davis from her home in June 2020. She talked about growing up in Harlem, her 30-year partnership with Antonia Pantoja, radical activism, and life during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a community activist, social work educator, spiritual leader, homeless youth and marriage equality advocate, author, and the co-founder of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent.

Dr. Perry holds a masters in social work and a doctorate in human behavior and leadership. She has been a social work professor, administrator of not- for- profit institutions, and community educator.

In 2002, she became a member of The Riverside Church and shortly thereafter would become the convener of Marantha, the LGBT ministry. Dr. Perry was a co-founder and Vice President of the Interfaith Task Force for Homeless LGBT Youth.  Under the work of the Task Force, three shelters were opened in local churches.

Dr. Perry has been an advocate for LGBT same-gender loving people as well as for marriage equality. She held the position of convener of the Round table People of Color under Empire State Pride Agenda. In 2010, this group reformed itself as an independent organization and would become the LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent. Dr. Perry served as Administrative Coordinator until 2018 when she was voted the Founder Emeritus.

Dr. Perry was honored in 2013 with an award from Harlem Pride.  She became a Purpose Prize Fellow in 2014. In 2014, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from LGBT Kwanzaa Community of NYC, Inc.  In 2016 she received the Regina Shavers Legacy Award from Griot Circle, Inc. the oldest organization for LGBT seniors. In 2019, she received the Parity Award. She has received numerous awards and recognitions.

Dr. Perry has contributed many articles on LGBT youth, same-gender families, “coming out”, clergy and attitudes towards LGBT people and President Obama’s support of marriage equality.  These articles have appeared in Caribbean Life, The Daily News, The Amsterdam News, Huffington Post and The Positive Community.

Collections by Michelle Brown interview with Dr. Wilhelmina Perry

February 22, 2018