Wednesday, June 8, 2016

President's Message - June 2016

June 1, 2016
This month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.  Around the world, LGBT people and our allies will be celebrating in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, the tipping point in the United States in our movement for equal rights.

On Tuesday, June 7, Palm Beach County Commissioners will proclaim June "LGBT Pride Month." Leaders and activists from PBCHRC, COMPASS, Metropolitan Community Church and other local LGBT organizations will be on hand to accept the proclamation.  Please join us at  9:30 a.m. in the 6th Floor County Commission Chamber at the Palm Beach County Robert Weisman Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach. Thanks go out to County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay for making this happen.

 As usual, we have a lot to be proud of and May 2016 was a fabulous month for PBCHRC!

PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall and Victor Espidol
Three high school seniors - Daniel Brassloff, Victor Espidol and Melanie Camejo Coffigny - were presented with the 2016 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards. Each year, PBCHRC awards the  scholarships to college-bound student advocates for the LGBT community.  Kudos to Daniel, Victor and Melanie.

PRCHRC Rae Franks (center) with her Diversity Honors Award
Longtime PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks was presented with one of the 2016 Diversity Honors Awards by the Harvey Milk Foundation.  Rae was recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of the county's LGBT community for more than 25 years.
Finally, Hillary Clinton's campaign staff appointed me, along with eight other Floridians, to serve on the Platform Committee for the Democratic National Committee. This appointment marks the third time the Democratic Party has called upon PBCHRC to help shape the party's platform.  In 2004, then-PBCHRC Vice President Deidre Newton served on the Platform Committee at the request of the John Kerry campaign.  PBCHRC research assistant Michael Ira Thayer also served in that capacity in 2008 at the request of Hillary Clinton.    

I am looking forward to participating in the Platform Committee meetings and attending the Democratic National Convention in July. (This will be my seventh convention!)
Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance has been screening candidates for public office, making endorsements and educating public officials for the sole purpose of amending and enacting LGBT-inclusive laws and policies.  Our endorsements are made upon consideration of how candidates have voted on LGBT issues and how they have supported the Palm Beach County LGBT community. 
Throughout Palm Beach County, it is illegal to discriminate against LGBT people with regard to employment, housing and public accommodation.  In addition, the following public employers have taken steps to prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and/or "gender identity or expression": Atlantis, Belle Glade, Boca Raton,  Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Haverhill, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Park, Manalapan, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, South Bay, Tequesta, Wellington and West Palm Beach. as well as for Palm Beach County, the School District of Palm Beach County,  Palm Beach State College, Florida Atlantic University,  the Port of Palm Beach, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Office of the Tax Collector, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of the State Attorney, the Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office, the Office of the Clerk and Comptroller, Seacoast Utility Authority, the Solid Waste Authority, Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County Children's Services Council and the South Florida Water Management District.
In fact, there are now more than 110 local ordinances, resolutions, collective bargaining agreements and policies providing Palm Beach County's LGBT residents and visitors with equal rights, protections and benefits.  A complete list  can be found by clicking on the "Laws & Policies" tab on the PBCHRC web site's home page.

Within the last few months, 11 candidates endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance have been elected to office. These include: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant, Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo, Lake Worth City Commissioners Andy Amoroso and Scott Maxwell, Rivera Beach City Councilwoman Tanya Davis Johnson, Wellington Village Councilmen John McGovern and Michael Napoleone and West Palm Beach City Commissioners  Shanon Materio, Sylvia Moffett and Paula Ryan.
Tanya Davis Johnson 

Newly-elected Riviera Beach City Councilwoman Tanya Davis Johnson is now the 11th openly LGBT person to hold elective office in Palm Beach County.  Over the years, five openly LGBT candidates we have helped elect have served as mayors.  Three others have served as vice mayors and three have served on city commissions or city councils.

In May, we began interviewing - and endorsing - judicial candidates.  Over the next two months, we will be interviewing more than 40 candidates whose names will appear on the ballots in Palm Beach County this year.  So far, the following candidates for upcoming elections have been endorsed:

President - Hillary Clinton 
U.S. Senator - Patrick Murphy 
U.S. Congressman (Dist.20) - Alcee Hastings 
U.S. Congresswoman (Dist.21) - Lois Frankel 
U.S. Congressman (Dist. 22) - Ted Deutch 
State Senator (Dist. 31) - Jeff Clemens
Public Defender - Carey Haughwout 
Supervisor of Elections - Susan Bucher 
Tax Collector - Anne Gannon 
County Commissioner (Dist. 5) - Mary Lou Berger 
Circuit Circuit Judge (Group 4) - Gregory Tendrich 
County Court Judge (Group 7) - Marni Bryson 
County Court Judge (Group 11) - Gregg Lerman

To learn more about the candidates, click on their names.

A complete list of the PBCHRC-endorsed candidates - including those who have already been elected this year - can be found by clicking on the "Endorsements" tab on the PBCHRC web site's home page.

Fortunately, it is not  "all work and no play" for PBCHRC's leaders and supporters.

On the evening of July 2, PBCHRC supporters, elected officials and candidates for office will gather for our Summer Soirée at the fabulous architecturally unique home of retired attorney and art collector Jeffrey P. Ganek. Thanks to the incredible work done by PBCHRC Treasurer and our Board Members, the Summer Soirée -- like this year's Winter  Fête -- SOLD OUT before we could even design printed invitations!

Special thanks go out to our Summer Soirée underwriters:  State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Paul Bernabeo and David Cohen, Christopher Caneles and Stephen Nesbitt, Echo, Daniel S. Hall, The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A.,Tony Jaggi and Donald Watren, Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias, Mittleman Eye, Stephen Mooney and Scott Velozo, George J. Palladino and Jerrold St. George, Randy Perkins, Joseph Pubillones Interiors, Sandy James Fine Food & Productions, David Silvers, Robert Simeone, Law Offices of W. Trent Steele, Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, and  Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E

Our next major social event will be the Winter Fête will be held on January 14, 2017, so please mark it on your calendar and watch for tickets going on sale after November's General Election.

Finally, special thanks go out to West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, who was the first mayor in Florida, and the second in the nation, to ban travel on city business to North Carolina and Mississippi - two states that have enacted horribly discriminatory laws.  Mayor Muoio also is working toward providing trans-related care to any municipal employees in need.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come.  And, as always, PBCHRC will keep you posted on our progress.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired), 
President and Founder
This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance. 
Post Office Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402 

Palm Beach County LGBT Activist Selected For DNC Platform Committee


When the Democratic Party holds its annual national convention next month, Palm Beach County’s LGBT community will be well represented.

Rand Hoch, founder and president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, is a member of the DNC’s platform committee. Hoch spoke to SFGN Monday morning, via telephone, about his duties on the committee.

“It’s an impressive process going on,” said Hoch, a retired judge.

When asked how the platform committee intended to reach out to supporters of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, Hoch said it requires patience and understanding.

“It’s listening to their concerns,” Hoch said. “We as Democrats have a lot more in common than we have differences. Bernie Sanders has brought a lot of new people into the party. How we integrate those new ideas with the party’s platform is what our committee will have to work on.”

Hoch said that while important, the platform committee is second to the rules committee in terms of power. Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, a gay man, is co-chair of the DNC rules committee.
According to Hoch, Florida’s delegation to the convention contains 29 delegates who identify as LGBT. Deidre Newton, a lesbian and state committeewoman for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, is joining Hoch in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention is July 25-28.

Hoch said currently there is a lot of drafting of party documents. He expected the “final crunch” of the party platform to occur during an October meeting in Orlando.

This will be Hoch’s seventh Democratic National Convention. His first time was in 1976 when the party nominated Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who went on to become the 39th President of the U.S.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Palm Beach County Commission Proclaims LGBT Pride Month

June 6, 2016

LGBT community leaders and activists were on hand this morning as the Palm Beach County Commission issued a proclamation marking the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and declaring June as LGBT Pride Month in Palm Beach County.

The proclamation, which was presented by Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, was co-accepted by PBCHRC Secretary Rae Franks, Compass CEO Tony Plakas and Metropolitan Community Church Pastor Rev. Dr. Lea Brown.

"We are all Americans. Period. We live in a country that stands for freedom, justice and equality for all.  We shall not discriminate on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation," said Commissioner McKinlay. "I am proud to support a resolution that stands for all of these things."

"The Stonewall riots in New York City served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States," said PBCHRC Founder and President Rand Hoch.  "On that night in June of 1969 when harassed by the police officers who raided the Stonewall Inn, beleaguered gay, lesbian and transgender patrons finally fought back."

Shortly thereafter, riots occurred as LGBT and supportive New Yorkers joined the fray, denouncing the longstanding and unwarranted actions of the New York City Police Department.

"The rest is history," said Hoch. "Our history."