What do disco, a dress made out of condoms and Celia Cruz have in common? They are all part of COLOR’s seventeenth annual Viva la Diva fundraiser this Friday. COLOR, short for Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, hosts this event each year to raise awareness for reproductive health, rights and justice.
The theme of this year’s Viva la Diva is the 1970s, and COLOR communications and development director Victoria Gómez Betancourt describes the bash as fun and sex-positive. With prizes for the best ‘70s getup and a focus on “localized divas” and dancing queens such as Selena, the COLOR team expects to bring out more than 150 people to support of the organization’s mission. “This event is unique in that we’ll have fabulous entertainment, and you’ll also see things like sex toys in our silent auction and our condom dress being created,” Gómez Betancourt says. “We’re featuring anything that celebrates sexuality and breaks down taboos around sexuality.
The dress to which Gómez Betancourt is referring is a Frida Kahlo-inspired dress fashioned entirely out of condoms for the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center’s Condom Couture gala. Artist Cindy Loya will be working on the dress at Viva la Diva, and Gómez Betancourt says she hopes it will be a conversation starter that helps spread the word about COLOR's work. “COLOR is constantly involved in policy work, and we strive to inform the community on what the issues are, how they are talked about or not talked about, and how that impacts our community,” she says. “This will be an important effort in 2016 throughout the legislative session, and with it being an election year.”
Funds from this year’s Viva la Diva will go toward programming at COLOR, including year-round comprehensive sexual education in middle and high schools, and youth leadership programming and advocacy. The group's programs include Latinas Increasing Political Strength (LIPS) and the COLORado #1in3 Youth Council, which encourages student activists on college campuses to collect stories about abortion that move from stigma to healing and empowerment. “We have independent workshops that are training an adult audience on how to deal with these issues and be better prepared to navigate health care, talking with youth about sexual education and ending sexual taboos,” Gómez Betancourt says.
Viva la Diva is COLOR’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and Gómez Betancourt says the organization hopes to raise at least $15,000, surpassing last year’s total of $10,000. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 21, at the Holiday Event Center, 2644 West 32nd Avenue. Tickets cost $25 to $50 on a sliding scale that makes the event affordable to the community, and can be purchased at the door or by clicking here. For more information about COLOR, visit its website.