On Sunday, May 26, 2019, L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson designated the intersection of Jefferson Blvd. and Sycamore Ave. in South Los Angeles as Archbishop Carl Bean Square.
Bean, a leading national advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons, was recognized for founding Unity Fellowship Church of Christ (UFC) in 1982 and the Minority AIDS Project (MAP) in 1985. He died in 2021.
Unity Fellowship is often noted as the first Black church for LGBTQ persons. MAP offers prevention, care and treatment services for low-income African American and Latino individuals at a high risk or living with the HIV/AIDS virus.
Recalling his long association with the minister, Wesson said he first met him in 1982 when Bean was striving to bring attention to the lack of services for minorities with HIV/AIDS.
“I learned from the then-Rev. Bean that services to Black people were not being provided and he felt that there was a need. He used to go pick up things for the pantry himself. It started out with him and half-a-hand of volunteers and they serviced about 12-to-15 families,” said Wesson.
“You look at MAP today and there’s 40+ staff serving 1,500+ folks. With little-to-no resources, he was just a person who was determined and he is my friend.”