Brenda Risch

Brenda Risch by Oralia Loza

“It’s beautiful to see a person blossom with hope and purpose when they see the evidence of how they can make a difference,” says Brenda Risch, founding member and Executive Director of the Borderland Rainbow Center (BRC) in El Paso, Texas. “Folks don’t need to have a fancy education or a lot of money to help others, they just need the will to help.” The BRC fosters healing, empowerment, and growth for LGBTQ+ people and allies wanting to live substance free. Risch helped launch the organization out of a desire to provide concrete solutions to problems faced by those living in the region including, but not limited to, substance abuse and addiction. She’s also brought visibility for the queer community in El Paso by founding the Frontera Pride Film Festival and Engendering Community, the first museum exhibit focused on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the Paso del Norte region. Her message to the LGBTQ+ community at large is simple: every single person can create change. “Everyone needs something, and everyone has something to offer,” Risch tells GO. “Never turn away someone who shows up saying, ‘I want to help.’ We have built a strong network and a vibrant community organization by using whatever resources we can find, building individual and organizational relationships, and honoring each person’s contributions.” —IL

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