|Rainbow Seniors Hires New Director|
|03:10PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County has named Kenneth Mercure as its new director. Rainbow Seniors is the county's social and support network for LGBTQ elders.
Mercure, a Berkshire County native, was the driving force behind the Berkshire Pride festival and a lead organizer of the Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2017. A natural organizer, his earliest effort was the founding of an LGBTQ youth program in Great Barrington – at age 15! The group flourished for two years.
Mercure began working as a Lyme disease community organizer and patient advocate in 2010 and went on to found the Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires, which holds monthly meetings and workshops. He works directly with those affected to help them educate themselves and their families and to guide them in the direction of the care they need. To date he has moderated 70+ meetings and organized numerous public education events.
"I first became aware of Kenneth last year when asked whether Rainbow Seniors was planning a countywide Pride celebration," said Ed Sedarbaum, founder of Rainbow Seniors. "We weren't, so Kenneth assembled a large and enthusiastic volunteer team and they created one – last June's successful Pride Festival in the Pittsfield Common, attended by over 500 diverse people. It was a wonderful example of inclusivity that helped give the emerging LGBTQ community a voice. Berkshire Pride has since grown to be more than just a festival and is now working to help grow the community."
For the first two months, Sedarbaum and Mercure will work as co-directors, after which Mercure will assume sole leadership of the two-year-old organization.
"I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Ed Sedarbaum, and plan to dedicate my work towards preserving the vision upon which the organization was founded and expanding the services and programming available to LGBTQ elders in Berkshire County," Mercure said.
The membership of Rainbow Seniors will formally greet Mercure at their Holiday Potluck on Dec. 19.
Rainbow Seniors is funded through Title III of the Older Americans Act. Elder Services of Berkshire County helps guide the program and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition serves as the agency’s fiscal agent.