We address issues through art and social expressionism that provide voices to our community concerns.
Circle of Voices, Inc. provides opportunities to foster a collaborative and supportive environment where Womyn artists and friends of the community have the opportunity to increase their appreciation of the arts through performances, seminars and workshops given by Womyn of African Descent and Womyn of Color. We utilize art as an expression for our community concerns including cancer awareness, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention, our environments, and more. Performers affiliated with Circle of Voices, Inc. engage us into their artistic expressions to convey issues of significance that speak to the souls of our community at-large.
Circle of Voices, Inc. is a non-profit Womyn of African Descent and Womyn of Color organization that produces multi-cultural events of an artistic nature as nourishment for the human spirit. We provide a creative arts environment where Womyn of all orientations can exchange information, her-stories, knowledge, and skills amongst each other, and our communities, through performances, workshops, music festivals, and seminars that express issues affecting our environments.
KAZ MiTCHELL,- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kaz Mitchell-Wimberly is an activist and journalist who is the proud recipient of the 2019 Gay City News Impact Awards, 2019 Ebony Pyramid of Washington, DC UnSung Award Recipient, and 2017 Callen–Lorde Community Health Center’s Health Awards for her commitment to LGBTQ Health.
Mitchell-Wimberly served as the former Board Chair of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center’s Community Advisory Board after volunteering at the organization for four years. She was Callen-Lorde’s first Patient Advocate to join them in speaking to New York State Legislature about the importance of funding clinical health providers.
She currently serves on the NYC Police Commissioner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and has made herstory as the first ever Campaign Manager and Political Strategist for the first gay candidate to run for Brooklyn (New York) borough District Attorney.
Mitchell-Wimberly serves as the Executive Director of Circle of Voices Inc., a non-profit arts organization in Brooklyn, NY, which serves women of African descent and women of color communities that produces multi-cultural events under their current about Us, needs for Us, because it is- aU-nU-bU INITIATIVE© (pronounced A- New-Boo!) which is a 3-C R Component: Cultural, Competent & Caring Resource which offer opportunities for free mammograms (No insurance required), HIV/AIDS testing, GYN support, cancer and mental health support, insurance navigators, SNAP (Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program) support services and preventative care resources, founded by her wife the legendary Jean Wimberly.
JEAN WIMBERLY, FOUNDER
Jean Wimberly (d. February 14, 2020) was an activist and the Founder and longtime Executive Director of Circle of Voices, Inc.
Wimberly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and moved to New York City during the 1970s. At that time, she decided to live her identity as a lesbian out and proudly but dealt with harassment, misogyny, and discrimination as a result.
“I came out as a three-piece butch,” Wimberly told Brooklyn, New York’s BRIC-TV in 2016. “I wore suits, and I padded things down. I was very much a so-called butch, but that look brought negative attention to me.”
During the 1970s, Wimberly joined Salsa Soul Sisters, the oldest Black lesbian social organization in the United States. At the time, she and the organization were part of a movement to address the critical needs of their community, including health care and protection from ongoing harassment, violence, and discrimination.
In 1979, recognizing an issue with a lack of Womyn of Color attending the iconic Womyn’s Michigan Music Festival, Wimberly and her friends, all Womyn of Color, were granted their joint request to take the stage and voice how they felt. In front of an audience of thousands of women, Wimberly and a friend praised the festival and made a bold statement regarding the lack of Womyn of Color representation in talents and leadership, describing the Festival as racism. In response, she recalled, everyone at the gathering lifted up their flashlights, stood up, and started chanting in support. It led to the establishment of the Womyn of Color Tent at the Festival.
“I was just blown. I was nervous. I was afraid, but I had to say it because it was such an awesome time,” Wimberly told “HuffPost Live.” “It was like a little piece of heaven, and women of color were missing out on this. And so, I had to say something.”
In the early 1980s, Wimberly started the Womyn of Color East Coast Music Festival, which brought together performers from across the country. That led to the founding of the Brooklyn, New York-based Circle of Voices, a “Womyn of African Descent and Womyn of Color” nonprofit organization whose mission is to “produce multi-cultural events of an artistic nature as nourishment for the human spirit and provide a creative arts environment where Womyn of all orientations can exchange information, her-stories, knowledge and skills amongst each other and the community at large through performances, workshops, music festivals and seminars that express issues that affect our environment.”
Wimberly served on the Community Advisory Board at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The organization launched “Digging Up Da Sistah Roots,” a tribute to lesbians of the past who paved the way for LGBTQ women of today. Its “aUnUbU” initiative (pronounced “ah-new-boo”), an acronym meaning, About Us, Needs for Us, Because it’s Us, offers culturally competent resources for women of African descent and of color. The initiative was developed due to the health disparities of Womyn of African Descent and Women of Color communities.
We offer health-awareness discussions with healthcare professionals, access to LesBiQueer cultural competency women’s health services such as navigators for Health Insurance, free mammograms, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection Screenings, GYN exams, and early pre-screenings for cancer detection.
Circle of Voices, Inc. leaders and events received the following awards, honors, and proclamations due to their community work.
2019 Gay City News Impact Awards (Kaz Mitchell-Wimberly)
2019 Ebony Pyramid UnSung Honors (Jean Wimberly)
2019 Ebony Pyramid UnSung Honors (Kaz Mitchell-Wimberly)
2017 Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2017 Vanguard Award presented by My True Colors Film Festival (Jean Wimberly)
2017 Callen-Lorde Community Health Center Health Award honoree (Kaz Mitchell)
2016 Proclamation by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2016 Citation by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2016 Proclamation by New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2016 Black Lesbian Conference honoree (Kaz Mitchell-Wimberly)
2015 Proclamation from New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2015 Recognition Award by New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2014 Leadership Citation presented by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Kaz Mitchell-Wimberly)
2014 Citation to Circle of Voices Inc. presented by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
2014 Recognition AWARD by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2013 Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2013 GO magazine’s “100 Women We Love” Pride Issue (Jean Wimberly & Kaz-Mitchell Wimberly)
2013 Director Honored by NY Black Pride received the Mabel Hampton Award (Jean Wimberly)
2012 Director Honored by NY Black Pride received the Mabel Hampton Award (Kaz Mitchell)
2012 Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2010 Proclamation from New York State Senator Eric L. Adams (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
2010 LAP/GMHC- Leadership Award (Circle of Voices, Inc.)
Circle of Voices, Inc. and its leaders and events have been featured in the following selected media outlets.
Huffington Post – “Meet The Activist Who Helped Queer Women Of Color Gain Visibility In 1979”
News 12 Brooklyn – Circle of Voices Aims to Serve, Empower Gay Women of Color
Brooklyn, NY BRIC-TV’s “B-Heard” series “Jean Wimberly, LGBTQ Senior, Speaks Out”
Brooklyn Nets (NBA) – “Brooklyn Nets Hosts Second Pride Night”
GO Magazine – “100 Women We Love 2012”