7th Annual Red Gala

A trailblazer or “Flame Thrower” is defined as an individual or pioneer who lights a path or passageway for future successors to follow in a particular field or endeavor through unexplored territory.  Through a formal ceremony to be held Saturday, June 1, the 2018 SOS Planning Committee, Board and Volunteers of The Red Door Foundation are excited to announce the 2019 Flame Throwers.

Red Gala Information

Date and Location: Saturday, June 1, 2019 at North Charleston Marriott

Time: 6:00 pm - 6:45 pm | Cocktail Hour

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm | Plated Dinner & Presentation

10 pm | After Party

Cost: $50.00

Table: $450.00 (10 seats)

Attire: Black Vintage Hollywood


2019 Flame Thrower Honorees

Carmarion Anderson

Elder Claude Bowen

Rev. Elder Claude Everett Bowen is an ordained minister and consecrated elder who is a community advocate working with the disenfranchised in communities of color. He works tireless to eliminate the disparities that exist in his community.

Elder Claude believes that all people are created from the same divine source and should therefore receive the same services and treatment without prejudice.

Elder Claude has worked in the field of HIV/Aids for more than 35 years as a social justice advocate, HIV Educator and a Minister of Liberation. Elder Claude is a trained, trainer and certified family and grief counselor. Elder Claude holds a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology (Human behavior analyst). Licensed minister and an alumnus of the CDC/ASPH HIV Prevention Leadership Institute (class of 2003). Masters of Divinity


Tori Cooper

Tori Cooper is a consultant and Prevention Specialist at Positive Impact Health Centers in metro Atlanta.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services and is matriculating towards her Master of Arts in Public Health.  She has over 30 years of experience in HIV first serving as a volunteer near the beginning of the epidemic and eventually making a full career change to focus on the HIV epidemic. 

Tori is a national trainer and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the CDC’s new TWIST intervention, the first of its kind, specifically for transgender women living with HIV.  She is a national, regional and local trainer for NMAC’s BLOC program.  She is the first transgender woman certified by the CDC as Lead Facilitator of the WILLOW intervention.  She adapted the curriculum for this intervention in 2015 making it trans specific and culturally appropriate.  She has served on several boards including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottom’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, the boards of SisterLove, Inc., Project Affirm, PozVets, AAOI, PositivelyTrans, the Clayton County HIV Consortium and a host of others.  She travels extensively educating on the transgender community, HIV, diversity and facilitation skills. 

Ms. Cooper has received numerous awards for her work and is a published author appearing in print and video for NBC News, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Advocate and other periodicals.  Her work is featured in a documentary titled, “Silent Epidemic” discussing the trans community and HIV in the South.  She is a staunch believer in health and financial equity for trans people and for people living with HIV.

Tori believes that empowerment, education and opportunity are three important factors in success.  She is driven to empower the transgender and the PWHA communities by being a role model and a staunch advocate.  Ms. Cooper lives by the credo that with greater visibility comes greater responsibility.

Cecilia Chung

Kenyon Farrow

Kenyon Farrow is an award-winning Black gay writer, activist and strategist. Kenyon has spent the last 17 years working in social movements on campaigns and projects large and small, community-based, national and global in scope. Difficult to categorize, he’s trained and mentored scores of organizers, helped shape local, state and national policy, and his writing has shaped entire debates of national importance on everything from criminal justice issues, housing and urban policy, HIV and public health, and popular culture.

 Kenyon is the Senior Editor with TheBody.com—an online information source about HIV, where he helped TheBody land its first national story, and several that changed policy for major corporations that refused to cover PrEP in their insurance policies. He is the former US & Global Health Policy Director for Treatment Action Group, an independent AIDS research and policy think tank fighting for better treatment, a vaccine, and a cure for AIDS, TB and Hep C. At TAG, Kenyon helped to organize campaigns in cities and states to end the HIV epidemic in the US, published a qualitative research project exploring the role of community mobilization in the US HIV response in 9 US cities, and advocacy work in tuberculosis helped move the CDC to recognize TB drug shortages as a critical issue, and lead them to eventually develop a rotating federal stockpile of first line TB drugs.


But Kenyon is most known for his work as the former executive director of Queers for Economic Justice where he worked on LGBT housing and homelessness issues in NYC, and helped push for more attention to issues impacting poor LGBT people while the marriage equality movement sought to ignore.

In addition to his political work, Kenyon is a prolific essayist and author. He is the co-editor of the book Letters from Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Same- Sex Marriage, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, and Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam's Call. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, TheGrio, Colorlines, ReWire News, the American Prospect, and AlterNet.

Kenyon was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, currently lives in Brooklyn, NYC. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in Urban Health Journalism from City University of New York.


Dr. Bambi Gaddist

Dr. Bambi W. Gaddist received a Bachelor of Science from Tuskegee University in the area of Physical Education and Health, a M.S in Physical Education Administration/Health from Indiana University, and completed Doctoral studies in the areas of Human Sexuality and Family Life Education at the University of South Carolina. 

She has committed the past 36 years of her professional life working in the area of human sexuality with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS/STI community level mobilization, behavioral intervention and research, technical assistance/capacity building, and the elimination of other health disparities.  Serves as Treasurer-National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network, Board Member, Secretary -Southern AIDS Coalition, Board Member-Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, Inc. and formally served as Chair of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force (2006-2012).

 She is a published author and consults with a host of national and local organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Minority AIDS Council, ViiV Healthcare Community Advisory Board, and Gilead Sciences, to name a few.  She was selected as a CNN Hero during 2008 and featured on CNN/Essence Magazine’s “Recapturing The Dream” during August 2009. 

 She is co-founder and currently serves as Executive Director of the South Carolina HIV Council formally the South Carolina HIV Council, a 501 (c) 3, non profit HIV prevention organization, including the Wright Wellness Center, a treatment facility located in Columbia, South Carolina.

Valerie Rochester, MPA

Cherisse Scott

Cherisse Scott has been working in the Reproductive Justice movement for over 10 years. Ms. Scott came to know the framework of Reproductive Justice as a woman in need of a safe abortion. Her experience of being misguided by services offered through a crisis pregnancy center posing as an abortion clinic set in motion the work she would commit to and women she would fight for. As many Black women, Scott knows exactly what it is not to have the necessary social supports in order to make informed decisions about her reproductive health. In that same spirit, Scott also knows how life changes positively when a woman is empowered with access and information about her reproductive and sexual health. In 2011, Scott relocated to Memphis, TN. Later that year she founded SisterReach, currently the only Reproductive Justice organization in the state of Tennessee.

With the visionary support of her mother and grandmother, the work of SisterReach was created to focus on empowering women and girls of color, poor women, rural women and their families. Some of SisterReach’s recent accomplishments under Ms. Scott’s leadership include releasing their 2015 report on the need for comprehensive sexuality education for southern youth of color, their ProWoman Billboard campaign in opposition to anti-abortion billboards erected in Memphis targeting Black men, the roll out of their state and nationally based clergy cohort partnering with and training faith leaders on social justice issues and Ms. Scott’s presentation to the United Nations Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice (UNWGDAW) regarding the impact of the fetal assault law on TN women. SisterReach's work, along with their state and national partners, on the fetal assault law led to a victory of defeating HB 1660 which criminalized mothers struggling with drug addiction during the 2016 legislative session.

Ms. Scott is the current chair of Memphis Teen Vision, was featured in NBCNews #31DaysofFeminism campaign and was a Rockwood Institute Fellow in 2016 and was recently featured on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee sharing her story regarding her CPC experience in 2017. Ms. Scott and the work of SisterReach is featured in the January 2018 edition of O Magazine, recognized by Essence Magazine as one of their 2018 Woke 100 Cherisse is a sought out public speaker on reproductive justice and other human rights issues and works diligently with national partners and coalitions to bring awareness to the human rights injustices of Tennesseans.

Past Flame Thrower Honorees

2013 - Memphis, Tenn.

Terryl Buckner

Dwayne Jenkins

Dr. June Gipson

Diedra Levi

Dr. Leando Mena

Cornelius Mablin

2014 - Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Marye Bernard

Anthony E. Fox

Reverend Edwin Sanders

Chris Sinnock, LMSW

Rudolph Carn

Young Brother's United- Nashville, Tenn.

2015 - Memphis, Tenn.

Michelle Allen

Dr. Dazon Dixon Diallo

Dorcas Young- Griffin, MPH

Ernest Hopkins

Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity Inc.

2016 - Memphis, Tenn.

Leisha McKinley- Beach

Rashad Burgess

Dr. David Malebranche

Greg Millet, MPH

Valerie Spencer, MSW

My Brother's Keeper- Jackson, Miss.


Gina Brown, MSW

Toya Green, MPH

Keith Green, MSW

Trina Scott

Cedric Sturdevant

Dr. Darrell Wheeler

MUSED Magazine Online


Deon Haywood

Carmarion Anderson

Kevin Taylor

Valerie Rochester

Cornelius Baker

Cecilia Chung

The Counter Narrative Project