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Voices



VOICES 2019, presented by Cadillac, is Ruth Ellis Center’s signature gala, providing critical funding to the organization’s operations while also recognizing its many dedicated supporters. This year celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Ruth Ellis Center’s mission is to “create opportunities with LGBTQ+ young people to build their vision for a positive future.”

REC has established a national reputation for quality and innovation in providing trauma-informed services for runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and young adults of color. What began as a 500-square-foot safe space in Highland Park, MI has evolved into a multi-faceted organization, operating two facilities in Highland Park totaling more than 21,000 square feet, and an additional two facilities in the City of Detroit. The Center provides outreach and safety-net services, integrated primary & behavioral health care and case management, skill-building workshops, HIV prevention programs, and family preservation programming; as well as the operation of the only State licensed and contracted residential foster care program specifically for LGBTQ youth in the Midwest, Ruth’s House located a short drive from the Center in Detroit.

Roughly 500 hundred guests including community members, volunteers, staff, youth, and corporate sponsors are expected to attend this year’s VOICES gala. The event will include A VIP reception, strolling dinner, silent auction, and dynamic program- to include the presentation of the 2019 Ruth Ellis Legacy Award to Emmy Award-winning actor, comedienne, and writer, Wanda Sykes. Previous Legacy Award recipients include the legendary Lily Tomlin (2017), and LGBTQ icon, Margaret Cho (2018). The Ruth Ellis Legacy Award honors individuals who embody the spirit, grace and generosity of the Center’s namesake, an African-American lesbian woman who opened her home and heart to members of the LGBTQ community in Detroit as early as the 1930s.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the Gem Theater?

The Gem Theater is located at 333 Madison St. Detroit, MI (across from Comerica Park)

2. What is the start time and end time?

VIP Ticket holders should arrive at 6:00 PM
Main Event Ticket Holders should arrive between 6:45-7:00 PM
The event will conclude around 10:00 PM

3. What is included with each ticket level?

VIP tickets include all of the benefits of the Main Event ticket PLUS an exclusive VIP reception with passed hors d'oeuvres, champagne, and "first look" at the Ruth Ellis Portrait Gallery ($295). Main Event tickets include a strolling dinner, complimentary bar service, silent auction, VOICES program. ($195)

4. Do I need a physical ticket?

No. VOICES is an electronic ticketed event. If you purchased your ticket online, sent in the mail, or via a ticket captain or board member, your name has been added to our guest list. Please check-in under your name. If you are a sponsor of VOICES, you may be listed under the sponsor’s name.

5. What is the attire?

Semi-formal, Cocktail reception or business attire is recommended. VOICES is NOT a black-tie event.

6. How is seating organized?

VOICES 2019 includes a strolling dinner in the dining rooms adjacent to the actual theater space. There will be open seating and tables available during this time (no assigned seating). When dinner is over, all guests will make their way into the theater. Main Event ticket holders will have access to the balcony area which is general admission or “open seating”. If you are a sponsor, you will have assigned seating on the main floor. If you are a VIP ticket holder (not a sponsor) you will be given priority open seating on the main floor OR in the first 3 rows of the mezzanine (you will be assigned main floor or mezzanine at check-in). The Gem Theater is an intimate theater space. There isn’t a bad seat in the house!

7. What is the age requirement?

Guests of VOICES 2019 must be 18 years of age or older. No one under the age of 21 is permitted to drink alcohol. Bartenders will ID.

8. What is the parking situation?

Complimentary and exclusive parking for VOICES is located in the Gem Theater Garage (on the side of the theater. The theater does have ADA accessibility directly from the garage. Please consider Lyft or another rideshare if you will be consuming alcohol.

9. Do you sell tickets at the door?

Generally VOICES does sell out. In the event tickets are still available on the day of the event, we will sell at the door. Please do not count on this though!

10. What is included in the program?

The VOICES program includes dynamic speeches AND performances from our special guests, and REC leadership.

11. What time does the actual program start?

The VOICES program will begin at 8:30 PM, just following our strolling dinner. The event will conclude around 10:00 PM.

12. What is the accessibility like at The Gem Theater?

The Gem Theater is ADA accessible and does have elevators on every floor. If there are considerations that should be made ahead of time to accommodate any guest, please let us know and we will be happy to make those arrangements.

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