The Allies Ball is the largest fundraising activity for Allies for Health + Wellbeing and is known for being one of the best parties in Pittsburgh. For a second year, Allies for Health + Wellbeing also will be using its event to honor 12 local young people as its 2023 constellation of Bright Young People.
The original Bright Young People were young socialites in the 1920s and -30s, known for throwing outrageous, over-the-top parties, as well as their attempts to change the status quo, especially within the arts Allies is reimagining the Bright Young People of today as a constellation of excellence – people who are making a real and tangible difference in our community and working toward a bright future, particularly in the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion. The Bright Young People are making their mark through their art, their careers and their activism.
The 2023 Bright Young People include:
- Rev. Michael Airgood, (he/him/his, they/them/theirs), pastor, Pine Run United Methodist Church and Glassport United Methodist Church
- Braeden Bash, (they/them/theirs), physician assistant, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
- Jaycee Brown, (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs), maternal addiction social worker,
Allegheny Health Network Perinatal Hope Program
- Rashod Brown, (he/him/his), peer engagement specialist, Community Human Services Corp.
- Lexi Byrom, (she/her/hers), student and founding member of Lebo Pride
- Donal Donovan, (they/them/theirs), business owner and trainer at Free Will Health and Wellness
- John Easter, (he/him/his), executive director, True T Pgh
- Deionte Harrilla-Gray, (he/him/his), physician assistant student, University of Pittsburgh
- Patrick Mayoral, (he/him/his, they/them/theirs), AKA “Miss Demeanor” (she/her/hers), student, Point Park University and founder, Be Gay, Do Crime
- Tana Pierro, (they/them/theirs), occupational therapy graduate student, University of Pittsburgh
- Nicky Ripley, (they/them/theirs), legal aid attorney, Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation
- Thomas Whitfield, (he/him/his), expansion and outreach coordinator, The Open Door
“In only our second year of honoring the Bright Young People, we nearly tripled the number of nominations,” said Sean DeYoung, CEO, Allies for Health + Wellbeing. “It was difficult to narrow down the field, but we believe we have a great group of people who are doing exciting things in our community. It’s a privilege to amplify their voices and showcase the remarkable work this year’s Bright Young People are doing.”
The Bright Young People will be guests at the Allies Ball itself and will be a prominent part of the Free for All festivities.
“The Allies Ball has always been an opportunity for us to honor long-time supporters of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and Allies,” DeYoung said. “Now that we have the Bright Young People as part of the event, we hope to build a new generation working alongside us to end HIV, as we amplify the work young people are already doing to make a more just, equitable world.”
The Allies Ball and Free for All takes place beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26 at the Children’s Museum, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh. Leading sponsors of the Allies Ball and Free for All include All Occasions Party Rental, CCN Pharmacy, Thommy Conroy, Duolingo, Mary McKinney Flaherty and Mark F. Flaherty, Gilead Sciences, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and UPMC/UPMC Health Plan.
The theme for this year’s Allies Ball and Free for All, designed by event architect Thommy Conroy, references the glam rock revelries of the 1998 film “Velvet Goldmine,” written and directed by Todd Haynes.
Photos courtesy of Allies for Health + Wellbeing.