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Matriarch of African-American LGBT Community Celebrated

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The woman who opened a storied African-American LGBT night club four decades ago was celebrated for her impact on the lives of countless people.

Jewel Thais Williams is the owner of Jewel’s Catch One on West Pico Boulevard and considered a matriarch of the community.

She learned about running a business from owning a dress shop, but she was interested in creating a club that was welcome to gay people.

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Jewel Thais Williams opened Jewel’s Catch One in 1972 for the African-American LGBT community.

“It’s been especially a sanctuary for our LGBTQ community,” Williams said.

Celebrities such as Madonna, Bette Middler, Julia Roberts and Halle Berry have all been to the club, according to Williams.

There is a non-profit alternative medical clinic, known as The Village Health Foundation, steps from the club that services people with HIV and AIDS.

Williams studied traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and practices at the clinic.

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