Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men celebrates 20 years

Lax Scholarship Committee and scholars at the 20th anniversary reception.

The Jonathan Lax Scholarship Committee and the 2015 Lax scholars celebrate the 20th anniversary of the scholarship at a reception at the William Way LGBT Community Center in October. Photo credit: Gage Beemish.

Twenty years ago, the late entrepreneur, inventor, and activist Jonathan Lax created a scholarship to support gay men in pursuing higher education. Since then, the Lax Scholarship Committee has awarded 166 scholarships to gay men in our region.

On October 9, Bread & Roses supporters and LGBT scholars and activists gathered at William Way LGBT Community Center to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the scholarship and to award 2015 scholarships to Jacob Adens-Cooke, John Christopher, Jordan Ostrum, and Ibrahim Vicks.

To mark the 20th anniversary, Bread & Roses produced a commemorative book featuring profiles of 15 past Lax scholars. Many past Lax scholars were present at the reception, including Kemar Jewel, who gave a voguing performance, and Antar Bush, who shared a story about how receiving the scholarship affirmed his sense of self.

During the program, Ibrahim Vicks spoke about the significant reduction in financial stress he has experienced thanks to the scholarship, and John Christopher described how the scholarship is helping him become a doctor and an advocate for LGBT health care. Both scholars expressed deep gratitude for receiving a scholarship that not only supports their education, but affirms their identity as out gay men.

The Lax Scholarship Committee also honored Gloria Casarez at the reception, remembering the 13 years she served as a committee member before she passed away in October 2014. Recently the committee welcomed two new members, Elicia Gonzales and Tiffany Thompson.

Close-ups of four faces of past Lax scholars.

Cover of the Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men commemorative book.