Brothers of the Desert holds an annual Wellness Summit, the second Saturday in November. The purpose is to provide connection, education, opportunities to share stories and hear from thought leaders on how to support our community and ourselves. The summits aim to be interactive, engaging, entertaining, and thought provoking. We convene an array of guest presenters and workshop leaders on a variety of relevant topics that support the overall health and well-being of Black gay men.
Our first event was held in person at the Palm Springs LGBTQ Center with the theme, “Living Your Best Black Gay Life” and was attended by over 100 people. It was a full day event with workshops, large group discussions and included breakfast, lunch and an after-summit get together at Blackbook Bar and Restaurant. Topics included examining spirituality, relationships and intimacy, sexual pleasure, financial planning, and more.
Due to the pandemic, we converted our 2nd annual Wellness Summit to a virtual format and the theme was accessing our resiliency and titled, “Still We Rise, Our Stories Matter”. We added videos, virtual breakout rooms for discussion and brief and dynamic live virtual presentations byBishop Yvette Flunder, CEO of TruEvolution and social activist, Gabriel Maldonado, motivational speaker Donnie Hill and former Mayor of Palm Springs, Ron Oden. The event was hosted by Bryan Gallo and featured filmed testimonies to create camaraderie, connection, education, and inspiration.
For our 3rd summit, we moved back to an in-person event and hosted it at Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs to accommodate the growing numbers of participants. Due to moving through our uncertain times, the theme was titled, “Navigating New Waters” and featured keynotes from Dr. Leo Moore, and Bishop Yvette Flunder and we reached 125 people who returned to this in-person event after two years. We held 10 different workshops throughout the day on topics such as aging considerations, sexual health, intersectionality, spirituality, and advocacy.
Our 4th summit was also held in-person at Margaritaville and we increased the number of workshop choices. Our keynote speaker was Broadway actor and singer, Alton-Fitzgerald White who presented lessons from his journey, called “Mastering Life’s Daily Performance” Our theme was “Our Rhythm, Our Power”. We had over 150 people in attendance and planned weekend events on Friday and Sunday to continue to support our connections. We included workshops some new topics such as writing and music as well as the impact of racism and mental health.
The wellness summit has become one of our signature events and attendees have come from allover the country for both our in-person events and the virtual one. We have had overwhelming positive responses from attendees each year.
Please join us in November for our 5th Annual Wellness Summit, called “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future”. We are bringing back some of the most well-regarded speakers from past summits and adding new thought leaders including amfAR vice-president and director of public policy, Greg Millett, MPH, and representative Malcolm Kenyatta, the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the United States Senate.
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