LOS ANGELES – In a sad announcement, the leadership of the Unity Fellowship Church Movement announced the death of its founder, Archbishop Carl Bean on Tuesday.
Since its founding in South Los Angeles in 1982, the denomination has had open arms and embraced Black LGBTQ Angelenos and many members of the LGBTQ movement and beyond consider it the first Christian church in the United States to welcome black LGBTQ people.
Tributes to Bishop Bean began to pour in from across the country as people remembered the vibrant and engaging man of faith.
“Archbishop Carl Bean was an inspiration. Bean cared about LGBTQ + / same-sex people than few others – and constantly dedicated his life to improving the lives of people in our community. To remind all of us that we were “born that way” in his music and movement and ministry Unity Fellowship Church in founding the first organization in Los Angeles focused on helping Black and Latino patients with HIV / AIDS when no one else would – Bean’s legacy will live on. forever, “ said David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition
We are deeply saddened by the loss of the Archbishop #CarlBean.
Barbara Satin, Director of Faith Work at @LaTaskForce says, “We honor and are grateful for his historic work as an openly gay black pastor, who for decades lived a life of faith and service.”
– LaTaskForce (@TheTaskForce) September 8, 2021
Bean’s work in the areas of combating the AIDS / HIV pandemic alone was remarkable. According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, “Archbishop Carl Bean started the Minority AIDS Project (MAP) in Los Angeles. MAP was the first community-based HIV / AIDS organization that focused on the prevalence of HIV / AIDS transmission in the black community at a time when the disease was considered relatively new.
In an emailed statement to Blade, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization today, which began its journey providing care and services to HIV patients / AIDS 35 years ago in Los Angeles, providing palliative care to people dying of AIDS. , mourned the passing of Bishop Bean.
“Archbishop Carl Bean has been my brother in wrestling for the past 35 years. We walked through the fire together in the height of pain and death. Whatever pressures might have divided us, we have always been there for each other, ”said Michael Weinstein, AHF President. “An irreplaceable part of our history is taken away with his death. However, a small part of his legacy of service lives on at the Carl Bean House, which began as a hospice and still serves today as a sacred land and place of healing. Rest in the peace you richly deserve dear friend and comrade. “
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Archbishop Carl Bean and thank him for his deep and visionary compassion and dedication to marginalized populations, be they people with AIDS, people of color, people of LGBTQ color and more, ”said Cynthia Davis, MPH, AHF Board Member.
Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean wrote;
“Today, the Center joins the people of Los Angeles in mourning the loss of Archbishop Carl Bean. Through Unity Fellowship and the Minority AIDS Project, Reverend Bean has been a guide in the fight to end the AIDS pandemic, in the effort to support people living with HIV, and in his advocacy to end the AIDS pandemic. long standing in favor of LGBTQ people.
His mission was animated by a sense of justice and a deep faith. Her work, particularly on behalf of black people living with HIV, has been an inspiration not only to those who provide services to people living with HIV / AIDS, but to all of us in the LGBTQ movement for equality.
We have lost a leader, but his presence will live on and serve as a beacon for all who believe that we can make the world a better place through love and a shared commitment to social justice.“
Robert Boller, the program director of Los Angeles-based Project Angel Food, sent a tribute in memory of the late prelate;
Archbishop Carl Bean passed away in Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. This is the death of a legendary LGBTQ + AIDS activist, founder of Unity Fellowship Church in South Los Angeles and visionary pioneer behind Minority AIDS Project. His 1977 Motown hit, “I Was Born This Way,” became an ode to LGBTQ + empowerment in the late 1970s and inspired Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”.“
This is how the world remembers Carl Bean.
Project Angel Food has a more personal connection. We remember him as a friend and as a partner to bring vital meals to people living with HIV / AIDS, no matter where they live and whatever their skin color. Her staunch commitment to the ideal that love is for everyone, and caring for people with AIDS aligned with OUR vision, values and calling.
Much of our history is oral history; hear how our relationship with Archbishop Bean and the Minority AIDS Project came about. Today 76% of our customers are people of color, but that hasn’t always been the case. From what I understand, when we were founded in 1989, many of our first clients were gay white men from Hollywood and West Hollywood. In 1994, with the Ryan White CARE Act, we had to take a close look at who we served and recognized the need to reach out to other communities, especially communities of color.
This was when Project Angel Food first partnered with Archbishop Carl Bean and the Minority AIDS Project. The Minority AIDS Project was led by Carl and operated from his Unity Fellowship Church on Jefferson Boulevard between La Brea and Hauser. They helped us expand into South Los Angeles and all the way to Long Beach.
When I joined Project Angel Food in 1997, another church served as a distribution point for South Los Angeles, but with the death of that congregation’s AIDS minister in the early 2000s, we had to find a new home. It was then that we reunited with Archbishop Bean, who was happy to welcome us to the Minority AIDS Project. Their community center has become our South Los Angeles distribution center.
Here’s how it worked: Our driver from Project Angel Food dropped off meals at the Minority AIDS Project, and then a volunteer from that area, whom we called “Mr. Chris,” made deliveries to our customers from there. Rarely was a delivery day missing for nearly 15 years; he said it was his personal mission.
One day the regular driver was away, so as the expedition manager I jumped into the field and had meals at Unity Hall to meet Mr. Chris. As I entered the lobby, a tall, handsome, charismatic gentlemen greeted me with a smile and a deep “hello and welcome”. I still hear that booming voice in my head echoing the power of love.
I returned him his salute and went about my business. When I saw Mr. Chris, he laughed and said, “I see you have met the big boss. This is how I met Archbishop Carl Bean.
Project Angel Food, Los Angeles and the world have lost an icon in the AIDS movement. Archbishop Dean has been instrumental in our growth and in the inclusive agency that we are today. His legacy reminds us that we are all worthy of love and hope “Love IS for everyone”.