San Fernando Valley’s LGBTQ center launches ‘shop small Saturday’ – Daily News

An ebullient Renato Lira talked so almost this week while describing Shop Small Saturday that it became clear how he and others at the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center pulled together their first shopping gala: lots of energy and an upbeat approach. “We’re going to have live music and food, and we’re really excited to bring this resource to the Valley,” he said. “You can get your entire Christmas shopping done here.”

The Saturday, Nov. 26 event is being held at the Facey Medical Group — Mission Hills, from 9 am to 4 pm, and shoppers can enter a raffle with prizes including tickets to Universal Studios.

Lira’s vision was that “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer small business owners would be able to display, highlight, and sell their products and services to the community at large.”

As founder and director of the SFV LGBTQ Center, he said, “It’s an opportunity to support business owners and also to bring the community together. … For the center, this event represents an opportunity to give business owners a safe space to help and support their services and goods.”

But it’s not just a shopping experience, Lira explained. He said the center, which was founded in 2008, hopes to help “small businesses here in the Valley. With (only) limited resources readily available to the local LGBTQ populations, the center is working to alleviate that concern.”

Its efforts focus on expanding resources and outreach to increase “awareness, understanding, and acceptance of LGBTQ communities while diminishing harmful stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination.”

Small Shop Saturday will include an HIV Testing Center.

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