David Massey’s long been a quiet, low-profile civil rights activist—of necessity, since his top cause is the Spectrum Cafe at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens and their straight allies. On April 17, though, Massey will receive kudos in full view, as the 2009 Community Shares Danny Mayfield Champion of Change, named for the late councilman who represented the 6th District until his death from bone cancer in 2001.
Massey’s the first Circle of Change honoree working with an explicitly LGBT organization (in fact, he founded it in 2001), though his work clearly falls into Community Shares’ credo that “all Tennesseans deserve a clean environment, affordable health care, good jobs, culture, art, and freedom from violence.” Formed in 1985 to give employees a choice in how they spend workplace giving dollars, Community Shares funds more than 50 non-profit, grassroots organizations. None locally are focused on LGBT issues, though the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center is an associate member. Maybe Massey’s recognition can widen the circle further.