At last Saturday’s game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, at the Wells Fargo Arena in South Philly, the home team took a special moment to honor a local veterans’ advocate for her work housing straight and LGBT troops.
Former Army sergeant Dr. Remolia Simpson is the CEO of My Brothers House, a nonprofit organization which provides counseling and housing for homeless veterans and their families. She was recognized for her efforts, especially the group’s efforts to shelter LGBT veterans in a safe residence of their own, the first in the country. “I really believe all veterans matter,” says Dr. Simpson, “and we need to thank our troops for their service, in a real, meaningful way.” Dr. Simpson was escorted onto the court during a break in the action, for sponsor Toyota’s “Salute Of The Game”, during which she was presented with a silver medallion commemorating the occasion.
Dr. Simpson’s appearance at the game was arranged by Lee Cary, the team’s Community Engagement Coordinator, who was apprised of her achievements by Amber Hikes, who is Mayor Jim Kenney’s citywide LGBTQ liaison. “We are pleased to honor Dr. Simpson tonight,” said Cary, “and the 76ers are proud of her service.” Philadelphia figures prominently in My Brothers House’s activities, as the City of Brotherly Love is the planned site of the upcoming LGBTQ residence.
Dr. Simpson also spoke out in support of transgender soldiers and sailors last summer, at Kenney’s City Hall rally, just after Donald Trump tweeted their removal from the armed forces. With Trump’s implementation of that order last Friday, Hikes says her city is prepared to help any returning transgender troops that are put out of the military. “We will welcome them with open arms,” she stated.
The 76ers have been reaching out to the LGBTQ community, with team members marching in the annual Pride Parade, hosting LGBT game nights, and actively promoting LGBT inclusion in professional sports. “We certainly hope more players like [openly gay former Nets center] Jason Collins will join the league,” said one 76ers official, escorting Dr. Simpson to an exclusive video shoot, where she spoke about LGBT veterans and her work. “I’m so happy to be here, and I thank the 76ers for a really wonderful night,” Dr. Simpson said.
Oh, and the Sixers beat the Timberwolves, 120-108, setting them on the road to the playoffs.