On the first Sunday of every month, a group of people gather in a local tavern with one purpose: helping those in need. These members gather under the name that some may find unsettling before taking a closer look. They’re a 501(c)3 called The Vampire Court of Dallas.
The court’s last public meeting was Aug. 5. During the meeting, they quickly dispelled all the common doubts and misinformation spread about their organization, saying that they’re not bad people, nor do they share any kind of religious affiliation. Afterward, they introduced the organization’s officers and outlined the agenda for the month, including their Rainbow in the Dark: Charity Event for homeless LGBTQ youth, some charter revisions and an officer promotion.
Mike Burgess, an officer for The Vampire Court of Dallas, says the organization is celebrating its two-year anniversary in September.
“The idea itself came really from a collective desire to serve the local community and build an organization of like-minded folks that want to lift each other up through the ups and downs we all experience in our day-to-day,” Burgess says.
The organization puts a strong emphasis “on being a positive influence, not only for our members, but for the landscape of Dallas-Fort Worth as a whole.”
Seeing as they are only 2 years old, a mere fledgling in the eyes of older charities, their voting members number around 65 individuals. However, they have more than 100 active volunteers and supporters throughout the community. Many people at the meeting came out of curiosity or interest in joining. They were mainly curious whether the organization was made up of people identifying as some sort of vampire.
“While a good chunk of our membership embraces their particular identification closer than others, to assume we all do is simply an incorrect generalization,” Burgess says. “We embrace everyone regardless of their identification and whatever depth that may be, accepting each person and path with an open mind as long as they do not violate any law or ethical guideline.”
The Vampire Court has a variety of identifications. Some members view vampirism as a spiritual identification, believing that everyone exerts an emotional energy. It's a type of identification known as psychic or psionic vampirism. To others, it's a cultural identification. These members like the culture of vampirism and typically enjoy role-playing as vampires and the fashion and history behind the species. Others just enjoy being part of a charity organization that focuses on helping LGBTQ youth and protecting domestic-abuse victims.
While the members all seem to share a love for the darker side of history, the organization celebrates a diverse group of people. Not at all the dark, gloomy goth look that most people associate vampirism with. There were members in jeans and band T-shirts, dresses, flower crowns and even a few kilts. These people, of all different races, political and religious backgrounds, come together to host charity events for the less fortunate.
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“We have many hard-working professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds,” Burgess says. “The only things that we all share in various degrees is a love of the DFW community and a desire to do good.”
They have helped many different charities, including domestic-abuse prevention, medical research, children with medical needs, suicide prevention and homelessness. Altogether their work thus far has raised more than $10,000 for several organizations, and the numbers keep growing. Throughout the two years they’ve been active, they have kept their efforts focused on aiding small businesses and partnering with other charities, such as Texas Heart Institute, Outlast Youth, Heart of Gold Foundation, Heroic Inner Kids and Carter Blood Care, maintaining a friendly and positive attitude to all who encounter them. While old-world vampires may be scary, these people are only trying to help the community in any way possible.
The organization as a whole appears to care deeply for the needs of DFW, and all of the members were open and friendly. This is an organization that is transparent in their desire to help others, even making their agenda public with their monthly meetings.
“Oftentimes during our charity events there is always at least one of my ‘Three sizes too big moments’ where it seems like my heart is going to beat out of my chest in pride and amazement,” Burgess says. “I am absolutely blown away every time that people come together for the sake of a great cause and celebrating what makes our community special in the first place.”