‘The whole point is community’: Indiana Pride of Color’s promise to LGBTQ+ Hoosiers

Belinda Drake, board president of Indiana Pride of Color, makes history as the first woman of color in this position of leadership. (Photo provided/Belinda Drake)
Belinda Drake, board president of Indiana Pride of Color, makes history as the first woman of color in this position of leadership. (Photo provided/Belinda Drake)

Indiana Pride of Color (INPOC) is working to create spaces for Black and brown LGBTQ+ Hoosiers to feel seen and heard.

The organization is the only BIPOC LBGTQ+ nonprofit organization in the state of Indiana. In December 2023, INPOC came under new leadership, appointing an entirely new board and Belinda Drake as president. In less than three months, the organization partnered with a handful of local organizations to create events and opportunities for underserved BIPOC LBGTQ+ young adults to be seen and heard, Drake said.

For nearly a decade, Indiana Pride of Color has worked to create Pride festivals and safe spaces for Black LBGTQ+ individuals and has leaned into educational spaces, Drake said. 

Drake is originally from Gary, Indiana, and said she was introduced to the inner workings of the criminal justice and health care systems and how they treat people of color early on. After high school, Drake moved to Indianapolis and became the first member of her family to attend and graduate college. She studied political science and legal studies at IUPUI before interning with State Rep. Andre Carson and pursuing a career in social services.

Belinda Drake, board president of Indiana Pride of Color, makes history as the first woman of color in this position of leadership. (Photo provided/Belinda Drake)

“That kinda opened my eyes to public service and really being a voice for marginalized communities and uplifting and also empowering the next generation,” Drake said. “That kind of propelled me into just a career in the human and social services sector, which I’m now just bringing full circle and to leading a beautiful organization like Indiana Pride of Color.”

Being a part of Indiana Pride of Color, especially in a role that comes with a high level of responsibility, was a thoughtful decision, Drake said. With her background in community service, leadership and nonprofit work, helping the Black and brown LGBTQ+ community to create safe spaces and provide essential resources is something she is passionate about.

Drake also made history as the first female board president of INPOC and said it is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility, especially when considering how far Black people have come over the years and the intersectionality of being Black, queer and a woman. 

Drake was happy to step up and lead but said she knew it would be a collective effort to make their dreams for the organization a reality.

“I want to just pay homage to all of the Black women-identifying queer people that came before me,” Drake said. “In any movement, a lot of them have been led by Black people, Black women specifically, and so just very honored, honestly, to be entrusted to expand what we’re doing and just take us to the next level but also create joy in the process.”

Part of Indiana Pride of Color’s strategic plan for the next two years is to host its first event, the Midwest All-Star Sneaker Ball Expo, a Pride festival in August, and a roundtable series and conference with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indianapolis.

INPOC also plans to continue advocacy work through building intentional relationships with the community and providing programming and services throughout the state. 

Since coming on board, Drake said INPOC has already partnered with Indy Pride, Indiana Youth Group, Center for Black Equity, the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, IceMiller Legal Counsel, LatinX Pride, AAPI Pride and the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indianapolis.

“Our vision is that Indiana becomes a place where fairness and respect are deeply ingrained values, not only for people of color, but also for the LGBTQ+ community,” Drake said. “We envision a future where every individual regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender feels a sense of belonging and acceptance within the Hoosier State.”

Previs Mosley, vice president of Indiana Pride of Color, split his life between Northwest Indiana and Indianapolis, having graduated from North Central before studying at Purdue University. Community is a big thing for Mosley, having grown up witnessing his own community — predominantly people of color — lack essential resources and access to testing and information.

“I figured I would do my part by kind of trying to bridge the gap between what other groups receive and what we need,” Mosley said. “We’ve been fortunate, I’ve been fortunate to be able to be in rooms and [be] exposed to environments, to be able to ask for those resources.”

“Integrity” is how Mosley defines Drake and said her leadership is diplomatic, reflecting her desire to center the community to make sure everyone wins. Beyond that, each of the new board members are equipped with different skill sets and diverse backgrounds, Mosley said, which allows everyone to bring something new and unique to the table.

Long term, their goals for the organization are the same: to make sure the community knows they are seen and heard. 

“We have multiple great organizations here in Indianapolis, wonderful queer organizations, but what separates Indiana Pride of Color from any other organization is we’re gearing toward people of color, and that is a demographic of people who typically get overlooked,” Mosley said.

Upcoming events

Indiana Pride of Color is hosting its first event of the year during Black History Month and the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend. The Perfect Match: Midwest All-Star Sneaker Ball Expo takes place Feb. 16 from 7:30-11:30 p.m. at The Speakeasy, 5255 Winthrop Ave. 

READ MORE: NBA All-Star Weekend 2024: Things to do

The event is 18+ and features health care and mental health services, such as free HIV/STD testing, as well as opportunities to win more than $5,000 in cash prizes. INPOC will also be accepting sneaker and shoe donations for Wheeler Mission’s Women’s Shelter.
Tickets start at $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit inpoc.org/events.

This story has been updated.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.