Friday, January 8, 2010


The Adodi Movement…

We were started on a sunny day in May in Philadelphia in 1983. I actually had the same idea simultaneously with the real founder of Adodi, but I didn’t attend the first meeting, which happened long before we were ever really called Adodi. We were Brothers coming together to express our dismay and other raw feelings at seeing so many of our Brothers and friends dying from AIDS / HIV in the early 1980’s. We were beginning to realize what was happening to us. We were being taken by a disease that wasn’t taking any prisoners at the time. We were just losing our lives at a miraculous rate and we wanted comfort, some answers and a safe space to meet, talk and fellowship. The church didn’t provide that space for us. That place was at Clifford Rawlins’ apartment in West Philadelphia, on Springfield Avenue. There were four of us then 10 then 20 then 30. The news of establishing a healing process and the armor to make it through life spread like wild fire across Philadelphia’s Same Gender Loving [Gay] community. We were surrounded by the meticulous and ever-improving art work of our founder, mentor and first President—art therapist Clifford Rawlins—a strong Black Same Gender Loving man bent on healing as many Brothers like himself as He could. He knew our pain, sorrow and it was very apparent that He also knew how to bring about something that was desperately needed. We met consistently--weekly on Sunday--and talked about the problem at having to face our lives without people we had come to love and respect as our friends, lovers and Brothers. Eventually we talked about other issues such as: the Black church and homosexuality; the Down Low; our families; our Coming-Our stories; our heartaches. We were a place to meet other Black SGL men and a safe place to seek solace, understanding and usually a warm, home cooked meal prepared by the hands of our founder-n-chief Clifford. We were not only encircled by the art work of our host and founder (Brother Clifford) but also His sometimes cold-water-in-your-face methods of therapeutic healing. ``This is your shit,’’ he would tell us. We all have baggage, we all have issues, he would explain. Because many SGL brothers don’t want to seek professional help when problems become overwhelming—this was a stop gap release eventually called Adodi and eventually spreading to New York City, Chicago, D.C. and other parts of the Nation.

The weekly meetings went on for a year and then it was time for us to try our hand at an annual retreat where some 60 Black SGL men got together and expanded the healing process to other parts of the country. The retreats were a place for growth, love and self discovery. Eventually a Brother named Darrell Waters took the ADODI concept to New York City, where it flourished for years and where it still holds court from time to time. (See the Web Page by looking under www.ADODINewYork.Com). Those brothers fine tuned and honed the concept & the process and would go on to lead many retreats with their hard work and dedication. Philadelphia’s Michael Otis came up with the name after much research, which I helped with. Michael was small in stature, but smart as a whip. He was a sweet young man who had made it through college at Drexel University (Master’s Program) and moved, eventually to California and met someone who he really loved.

Adodi Brothers came up with principles and concepts that helped us all through this experience of being SGL Black men—not easy in a mostly White world that didn’t care about or understand our issues, demands, concerns or feelings and emotions as Black people.

Some Brothers in Adodi felt overexposed. I was one of those. After I gave my coming-out story I couldn’t attend meetings for several years—that’s right--years-- because what I shared was too much—even for me who had been in (and remains in therapy.) So I took a hiatus from ADODI and got more heavily involved in political solutions to what I felt was and still feel is my oppression as a Black man. I would come back and be elected Vice President of ADODI Philadelphia and serve in that capacity for many years. Under Bruce Harvey as president, I would help organize and lead meetings, but none of them held a candle to what Clifford provided in the early days. . . For more information about Adodi, go to or


  1. Hello Brother Tracy,

    I was one of first few members in the beginning as well. In fact, Brother Clifford and I were lovers before he started the group. I still have some of his artwork.

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