Submitted by Jack Evans, February 2012
In the late 80’s, George Harris and I had our real estate office (Evans/Harris Realtors) at 4710 Lemmon Avenue, at Lomo Alto — commonly called Lomo Alto Shopping Center. Across the street (where Whole Foods Market now stands) was a Wyatt’s Cafeteria, along with Bloomingstock Florist. On the corner was the Magnolia Service Station. Wyatt’s Cafeteria was a frequent gathering lunch place for friends, coworkers, and other real estate agents.
On one such occasion, John Thomas, Tom Thornhill, John Rogers, and Bruce Monroe were also having lunch. George and I spotted them and joined their group, commenting, “Let’s have a Power Lunch!”
After lunch, George and I returned to our office and discussed getting a group together for lunch to form a GLBT networking group. A couple of weeks later, we invited several of our friends for the first “Power Lunch”. Nineteen people showed up for lunch at Baldera’s on Oak Lawn Avenue.
The idea quickly caught on. From January 1992, our group regularly met at a variety of locations: Mattito’s on Oak Lawn, TGIF on Lemmon Avenue, the AIDS Resource Center (now Resource Center Dallas) on Reagan, and at the Adams Mark Hotel (now the Sheraton Dallas) in downtown Dallas. Bruce Monroe gave us a name, Stonewall Professional & Business Association and Dick Peoples drew up our 501(c)3 documents.
We also met at the Sammons Center for the Arts on Harry Hines Blvd. and reached a membership of over 400. We were learning of GLBT Chambers of Commerce forming around the country, so we asked a representative from the Houston Chamber of Commerce to come to Dallas and advise us on how to start our own. We had numerous meetings at Mark Shekter’s beautiful home and determined that we should fold Stonewall Professional & Business Association into the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. This would align us with all the other GLBT chambers across the country. We were also visited by a young man from Berlin who had helped start their GLBT Chamber of Commerce. It was a very exciting time in our Dallas GLBT history.
Here is the original mission statement of the Stonewall Professional & Business Association:
To support, develop, and improve opportunities in and for the lesbian and gay professional community.
To promote the acceptance of, and create a positive image for, the lesbian and gay professional and business community.
To cooperate with similar businesses and/or professional organizations for the betterment of the lesbian and gay community.