Thursday, November 11, 2021

PBCHRC Voters Alliance Endorsements - Updated 11/12/21

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance has endorsed the following candidates for election or reelection in 2022:

U.S. House of Representatives (Dist. 21) -  Lois Frankel

U.S. House of Representatives (Dist. 22) -  Ted Deutch

State Senator (Dist. 29) - Tina Polsky

State Senator (Dist. 30) - Bobby Powell, Jr.

State Senator (Dist. 31) -  Lori Berman

State Representative (Dist. 81) - Kelly Skidmore

State Representative (Dist. 87) - David Silvers

State Representative (Dist. 90) - Joe Casello

State Representative (Dist. 91) - Emily Slosberg

County Commission (Dist. 2)  - Gregg K. Weiss

School Board (Dist 3) - Karen Brill

Boynton Beach Mayor - Ty Penserga

Greenacres City Council (Dist. III) - Judy Dugo 

Wellington Village Counsel - John T. McGovern


The following elected officials endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance currently hold office:

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch

U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel

Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services Nikki Fried

State Senator Lori Berman

State Senator Tina Polsky

State Senator Bobby Powell

State Representative Joe Casello

State Representative David Silvers

State Representative Kelly Skidmore

State Representative Emily Slosberg

State Representative Matt Willhite

County Mayor Dave Kerner

County Vice Mayor Robert S. Weinroth

County Commissioner Mack Bernard

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay

County Commissioner Maria Sachs

County Commissioner Gregg Weiss

Clerk & Comptroller Joseph Abruzzo

Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon

Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks

Public Defender Carey Haughwout

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

State Attorney Dave Aronberg 

Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link

School Board Member Marcia Andrews

School Board Member Alexandria Ayala

School Board Member Frank Barbieri, Jr.

School Board Member Karen Brill

School Board Member Barbara McQuinn

School Board Member Debra Robinson

School Board Member Erica Whitfield

 Port Commissioner Joseph Anderson

Port Commissioner Blair Ciklin

Port Commissioner Jean Enright

Port Commissioner Wayne Richards

Port Commissioner Katherine Waldron

Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen

Circuit Court Judge Jaimie Goodman

Circuit Court Judge Dina Keever-Agrama

Circuit Court Judge James Martz

Circuit Court Judge Lisa Small

County Court Judge Ted Booras County

County Court Judge Marni Bryson

County Court Judge Frank Castor

County Court Judge Edward Garrison

County Court Judge Debra Moses Stephens

County Court Judge Ashley Zuckerman

Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Rob Long

Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Eva Webb

Northern PBC Improvement District Member Ellen Baker

Boca Raton City Mayor Scott Singer

Boca Raton City Council Member Monica Mayotte

Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Justin Katz

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Ty Penserga

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Christina Romelus

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Woodrow Hay

Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia

Delray Beach City Commissioner Ryan Boylston

Delray Beach City Commissioner Adam Frankel

Delray Beach City Commissioner Shirley Johnson

Greenacres City Councilwoman Paula Bousquet

Greenacres City Councilwoman Judith Dugo

Greenacres City Councilman Jonathan Pearce

Haverhill Town Councilman Ray Caranci

Lake Worth Beach Mayor Betty Resch

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Carla Blockson

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Sarah Malega

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Christopher McVoy

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Herman Robinson

North Palm Beach City Council Member Darryl Aubrey

North Palm Beach Village Council Member Susan Bickel

North Palm Beach Village Council Member David Norris

Palm Beach Mayor Danielle Hickox Moore

Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Julie Araskog

Palm Beach Town Councilman Ted Cooney

Palm Beach Town Councilman Lew Crampton

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Rachelle Litt

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Mark Marciano

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Chelsea Reed

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Marcie Tinsley

Riviera Beach City Councilwoman Julia Botel

Riviera Beach City Councilwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson

Royal Palm Beach Village Mayor Fred Pinto

Royal Palm Beach Village Councilwoman Selena Samois

Wellington Village Councilman John McGovern

Wellington Village Councilman Michael Napoleone

Wellington Village Councilwoman Tanya Siskind

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina Lambert

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joe Pedruzzi

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shalonda Warren

This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.


 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Delray Beach Pride Intersection Vandal Going to Trial in February

https://southfloridagaynews.com/Local/pride-intersection-vandal-going-to-trial-in-february.html

By Christiana Lilly, South Florida Gay News

October 5, 2021


The case of the man who defaced Delray Beach’s pride intersection this summer will be going to trial on February 11, 2022.

Judge Scott Suskauer oversaw the plea conference Tuesday morning, where Alexander Jerich showed up in person with his attorney, Pedro Dijols.

“We want to resolve this case,” Dijols told the judge.

Jerich is accused of burning out his truck over the intersection during a birthday celebration caravan for former President Donald Trump just days after the intersection was dedicated. A video was posted to social media of the burnout, and a witness from the caravan came forward to report the incident to the Delray Beach Police Department.


Jerich was arrested on June 17 and charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving and evidence of prejudice (felony enhancement). However, in August, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg 
dropped the hate crime charge. He explained in a press conference that the case did not meet one of the requirements of the law to move forward with a hate crime — he explained that the victim was from the city of Delray Beach, which does not have a sexual orientation or gender identity. The office also looked into charging Jerich under Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new Combating Public Disorder statute, but Aronberg said that the case did not meet the requirement of the memorial honoring or recounting “the past or public service of a Florida or United States resident.”

“I was hoping it would go to trial simply because we live in a system where that is the fairest way to go,” said Rand Hoch, the president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

Richard Clausi, the deputy chief of the misdemeanor division with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, was not present at the plea conference due to a scheduling conflict. 

Hoch called Clausi an “A-plus attorney” and said that he does “very well in trial.”

Dijols told the judge that the office wanted Jerich to serve six months in jail “even though Mr. Jerich has no priors” and that his client was willing to pay restitution. Suskauer said the jail time was “not acceptable” and asked, “It’s not a complicated case, right?”

Dijols replied, “It’s complicated by outside issues.”

“I’m surprised that the judge doesn’t understand the severity of the impact on what this man did to the LGBTQ community,” Hoch said. “But then that’s why you have a trial, so he can understand the impact more fully … Now I guess it’s up to a jury to determine should this man be let go with a slap on the wrist or should he be held accountable for what he did.”

Jerich waived his right to a speedy trial and the groups agreed on February for the trial date.

Monday, September 13, 2021

President's Message - November 2021

 

November 2021

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We promote equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation and community outreach.
Since 1988, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 160 laws and policies providing equal rights, protections and benefits for the LGBTQ community. Our work never stops. Even during the pandemic, we were responsible for the enactment of seven new LGBTQ-inclusive municipal civil rights ordinances in Palm Beach County. For a list of the laws and policies enacted as the result of PBCHRC’s efforts, click here.

Our success in enacting pro-LGBTQ laws is directly related to our community’s participation in electoral politics. Over the years, PBCHRC’s leaders have conducted close to 1,000 face-to-face endorsement interviews — and close to 100 interviews via Zoom and phone — of candidates seeking public office. For a list of more than 90 elected officials endorsed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance currently holding office, click here.
Each year, we bestow Daniel S. Hall Public Social Justice Award scholarships in recognition of the achievements LGBTQ and allied high school seniors have made on behalf of our community,

To review the biographies of the 17 Daniel S. Hall Public Social Justice Award recipients and to learn more about the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation, click here. The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation also provides need-based scholarships to LGBTQ college students. This summer, the Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to establish the W. Trent Steele Legal Advocacy Awards for second- and third-year law students.
DELRAY BEACH LGBTQ STREETSCAPE VANDALISM CASE
Immediately following his attendance at an event sponsored by the Republican Party of Palm Beach County on June 14, 2021, Alexander Jerich vandalized the Delray Beach LGBTQ Pride Steetscape, using his pickup truck to create approximately 15 feet of skidmarks across the streetscape. A video of the event made by one of his colleagues went viral on social media. To watch a video of Jerich's crime, click here.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) also asked State Attorney Dave Aronberg to consider charging Jerich under the state's Combating Public Disorder Act, which would require Jerich, if convicted, to reimburse the City of Delray Beach the costs related to repairing the damage he caused.

However, Aronberg dropped the hate crime charge and refused to charge Jerich under the Combating Public Disorder Act. (The Act was found to be unconstitutional by a federal judge on September 9, 2021. The governor’s office announced it will appeal the ruling).

Aronberg assigned his leading attorney on civil rights matters, Richard T. Clausi, Jr., to prosecute the felony. While a plea hearing was scheduled for September 13, 2021, it was postponed to allow the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation and other interested parties to file Victim Impact Statements to be considered by Circuit Court Judge Scott Suskauer.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel published an editorial calling for jail time for Jerich, which you may read by clicking here.

From PBCHRC’s perspective, only if Jerich is convicted of a felony, serves time behind bars, and reimburses the taxpayers of Delray Beach for the cost of repairing the LGBTQ streetscape, will justice have been served.
In October 2018, Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, filed suit in federal court on behalf of two local therapists seeking to nullify the bans on conversion therapy for minors enacted by Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton. However, in February 2019, Judge Robin Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied Liberty Counsel's motion for preliminary injunctions, which sought to prevent the bans from remaining in effect pending trial.

Having lost, Liberty Counsel immediately appealed the order to the U.S. District Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit and in November 2020, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the ordinances were unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County immediately filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing by the full Eleventh Circuit. To date, the Eleventh Circuit has not ruled on the Joint Petition. Fortunately, since the Eleventh Circuit has yet to issue a mandate, the panel’s decision has yet to take effect. PBCHRC will continue to keep you informed.

THE 2022 WINTER FÊTE

The 2022 Winter Fête will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at a private home in Palm Beach. Sandy James Fine Food & Catering and Echo will be providing the food and, as always, there will be a premium open bar.

Open Bar Sponsor: Micahel Kagdis
Sushi Sponsor: Echo
Vodka Sponsor: Pernod Ricard USA
Wine Sponsor: Table 26


Grand Benefactors
Dan Hall
The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A.
W. Trent Steele and Douglas B. Andrews

Benefactors
Bill Bone
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Congressman Mark Foley and Ryan Ruark
Jamie Todd Foreman
Peter Conn, Jr. and Oscar Garza
Michael Kagdis
Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias  
Mittleman Eye / Dr. David Mittleman and 
Michael Duquette Fowler
SandyJames Fine Food & Productions
Scott Rixford and Jose Mena

Sponsors
Alexandria Ayala and Rob Long
State Senator Lori Berman
County Commissioner Mack and Shawn Bernard
School Board Member Karen and Stuart Brill
Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes
Sean Cherry and Vincent Ruisi
David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo
Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais
Nicholas Coppola and David Crespo
Cornerstone Solutions
Palm Beach Town Council Member Lew Crampton
Shellie Crandall and Pamela Buchmeyer
Joseph Paul Davis
Arlen Dominek and A.J. Young 
Echo 
Florida Sugar Cane League
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christy Fox
Edith Hall Friedheim and Peter Cruise 
Jeffrey P. Ganek
Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon
Hierromat Development
Tom Holton
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and Lorna James
Gerald Jarosinski, Jr.
Bill Jones and Rey Hernandez
Charles Kidd
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina and Monte Lambert
Gregg S. Lerman
Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link
Wellington Vice-Mayor John McGovern
Michelle McGovern, Candidate for County Commission
Joseph Marino, Jr. and Anthony Sibilia 
David Markarian
Ross Meltzer
David Miller and Ray Wakefield
Rebecca Miller
Frank Morgan and Brent Feigenbaum
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi and Erin Peduzzi
Boynton Beach City Commissioner Ty Penserga
Steve Potanovic
Lake Worth Beach Mayor Betty Resch
Roosters
Michael Rubin and David Kamp
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf
State Representative David Silvers
Caryn Siperstein and Isaac Klein 
Sutka Visual Design
Eric Telchin and Logan Nolting
Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E
Gemma Torcivia and Kate McMahon
Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney
Cathleen Ward and Paul Skaar
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shalonda Warren
Don Watren and Tony Jaggi
James Watson
Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
State Representative Matt Willhite
Charles Williams
A private reception sponsored by Mittleman Eye / Dr. David Mittleman and Michael Duquette Fowler to honor our major donors will be held at Frenchman's Reserve on January 11, 2022.

For more information about joining these major donors in supporting the 2022 Winter Fête, please go to pbchrc.org/events.

OTHER NEWS

  • The City of Boynton Beach and Florida International University have invited PBCHRC to participate in the Boynton Beach Racial and Social Equity Initiative.
  • PBCHRC has been nominated for “Small Nonprofit of the Year” by Nonprofits First.
  • Attorney Gemma Torcivia has been elected to PBCHRC’s Board of Directors.
  • Emmy Kenny, PBCHRC’s representative on the School District’s Diversity and Equity Committee, has been elected to serve on the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
  • Following the art auction held at The Box Gallery, the Pajaro Pride Project made a significant donation to PBCHRC. Thanks go out to Rolando Chang Barrero for making this possible.
 
 CURRENT INITIATIVES
 
PBCHRC is currently working to persuade:
  
  • The Health Care District of Palm Beach County to provide trans-specific healthcare services to indigent patients;
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to adopt a resolution opposing conversion therapy on students;
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to cease doing business with Chick-fil-A and other companies that discriminate against LGBTQ people and other minorities;
  • The State of Florida to enact a law to prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression”;
  • The State of Florida to enact a law banning conversion therapy; and
  • The State of Florida to amend Florida’s Hate Crime law to specifically include crimes based on an individual's "gender" or "gender identity or expression" and to ensure that hate crimes against public properties are covered.
For more than three decades, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBTQ community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come. As always, we will keep you posted on our progress.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. PBCHRC'S Registration Number is CH46486. To obtain registration information, you may consult the website or call 800-435-7352.

Friday, August 20, 2021

President's Message - July 2021

 

July 2021

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We promote equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation and community outreach.
Since 1988, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 160 laws and policies providing equal rights, protections and benefits for the LGBTQ community. Our work never stops. Even during the pandemic, we were responsible for the enactment of seven new LGBTQ-inclusive municipal civil rights ordinances in Palm Beach County. For a list of the laws and policies enacted as the result of PBCHRC’s efforts, click here.

Our success in enacting pro-LGBTQ laws is directly related to our community’s participation in electoral politics. Over the years, PBCHRC’s leaders have conducted close to 1,000 face-to-face endorsement interviews — and close to 100 interviews via Zoom and phone — of candidates seeking public office. For a list of more than 90 elected officials endorsed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance currently holding office, click here.
Each year, we bestow Daniel S. Hall Public Social Justice Award scholarships in recognition of the achievements LGBTQ and allied high school seniors have made on behalf of our community,

To review the biographies of the 17 Daniel S. Hall Public Social Justice Award recipients and to learn more about the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation, click here. The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation also provides need-based scholarships to LGBTQ college students. This summer, the Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to establish the W. Trent Steele Legal Advocacy Awards for second- and third-year law students.

PRIDE IS BUSTING OUT ALL OVER
To mark the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month, the Nancy Graham Centennial Fountain and Square were illuminated in Progress Pride colors on June 1. The inspiring display was repeated on June 28 to commemorate the anniversaries of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre and the Stonewall Uprising. Thanks go out to Hierromat Development and Creative Arts Enterprises for underwriting and producing these events.

Palm Tran rolled out a “Ride with Pride” bus wrapped in the 11 colors of the Progress Pride flag. Throughout June, Palm Tran’s bus operated along the most visible route in Palm Beach County, running along U.S. Highway 1 from Palm Beach Gardens to Boca Raton.

Three permanent public LGBTQ art installations in Palm Beach County were dedicated in June. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on June 3 for the Pride Crosswalks in West Palm Beach’s Northwood Village. On June 7, the Progress Pride Flag Intersection was dedicated in Boynton Beach and on June 8, the City of Delray Beach celebrated the dedication of its Progress Pride Intersection with a full day of festivities."
Unfortunately, by June 15, the Delray Beach streetscape had been vandalized. Thanks to the excellent work of the Delray Beach Police Department, on June 17, Alexander Jerich was arrested for using his truck to “burnout” the intersection. To watch a video of Jerich's crime, click here.

The police charged Jerich with criminal mischief, reckless driving and evidence of prejudice based on sexual orientation — a hate crime. Jerich, who faces felony charges, has retained a private attorney and is currently out jail on bond.
PBCHRC has asked State Attorney Dave Aronberg to consider filing an additional charge under the state’s recently enacted “Combatting Public Disorder Act.” If convicted under this law, Jerich would have to reimburse the City of Delray Beach for the cost of restoring the streetscape.


PBCHRC’S PRIDE HAPPY HOUR AT MEAT MARKET PALM BEACH

On June 28, more than 100 PBCHRC supporters celebrated at our annual Pride Happy Hour at Meat Market Palm Beach. The restaurant donated 10% of attendees’ dinner proceeds to PBCHRC and held a business card drawing for a Meat Market gift certificate. Thanks go out to Meat Market and Maribel Alvarez of Altima Palm Beach for sponsoring and producing the event. To view the Pride Happy Hour photos, click here.


PAJARO PRIDE WALL PROJECT RECEPTION AND AUCTION

Earlier this year, local artist and activist Rolando Chang Barrero asked dozens of artists, friends, allies, and community leaders to donate embellished works of art on a woodcuts of his Pajaro design to create a cornucopia of styles, vision and color exemplifying the diversity and intersectionality of the LGBTQ community. The works were on display throughout Pride Month at the Office of the Consul General of Mexico in Miami.

From 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, there will be a reception and auction of many of the artworks at The Box Gallery, at 811 Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach. A portion of the auction proceeds will be donated to PBCHRC and SAVE. For more information and to RSVP to attend the event, please click here.


DANIEL S. HALL SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARDS
Daniel S. Hall and Ekko Greenbaum
Throughout May, the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation presented Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards to Ekko Greenbaum of Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Sol Lima of Jupiter Community High School, and Vanessa Whittle of Royal Palm Beach High School. Each student received a $2,500 college scholarship for their advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

If you would like to donate to the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation, checks may be sent to P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402. Since the Foundation was established in accordance with Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, your contributions may be tax deductible.


CONVERSION THERAPY BAN COURT CHALLENGE
In October 2018, Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, filed suit in federal court on behalf of two local therapists seeking to nullify the bans on conversion therapy for minors enacted by Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton. However, in February 2019, Judge Robin Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied Liberty Counsel's motion for preliminary injunctions, which sought to prevent the bans from remaining in effect pending trial.

Having lost, Liberty Counsel immediately appealed the order to the U.S. District Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit and in November 2020, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the ordinances were unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County immediately filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing by the full Eleventh Circuit. To date, the Eleventh Circuit has not ruled on the Joint Petition. Fortunately, since the Eleventh Circuit has yet to issue a mandate, the panel’s decision has yet to take effect. PBCHRC will continue to keep you informed.


THE WINTER FÊTE
Photo by Gail Haines
On April 10, more than 200 people attended the 2021 “Winter” Fête at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. Thanks to the generosity of an incredible group of donors, this was our most successful fundraising event in PBCHRC’s 33-year history. To view photos of the event taken by Gail Haines, click here (www.pbchrc.org/events)

PBCHRC will hold our next Winter Fête at a private home in Palm Beach on Saturday evening, January 15, 2022. Details to follow.
OTHER NEWS

  • Palm Beach County Commissioners establish an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • The School District of Palm Beach County requires public schools to require gender-neutral caps and gowns for graduations.
  • Sean Conklin, Rae Franks and Meredith Ockman were elected to four-year terms on the Board of Directors of the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation.

 
 CURRENT INITIATIVES
 
PBCHRC is currently working to persuade:
 
  • The Health Care District of Palm Beach County to provide trans-specific healthcare services to indigent patients.
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to adopt a resolution opposing conversion therapy on students.
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to cease doing business with Chick-fil-A and other companies that discriminate against LGBTQ people and other minorities.
  • The State of Florida to enact a law to prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."
  • The State of Florida to enact a law banning conversion therapy.
  • The State of Florida to amend Florida’s Hate Crime law to specifically include crimes based on an individual's "gender" or "gender identity or expression." 
For more than three decades, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBTQ community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come. As always, we will keep you posted on our progress.

Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
President and Founder

State Attorney Dave Aronberg Drops Hate Crime Charge Against Pride Intersection Vandal

 

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses the media in West Palm Beach after filing charges. Photo by Christiana Lilly.
The Palm Beach County state attorney's office filed charges of criminal mischief and reckless driving against the man who allegedly defaced the pride intersection in Delray Beach in June.

The felony and misdemeanor charges were announced in court Thursday morning; the Delray Beach Police Department had originally charged Alexander Jerich with a hate crime.

A plea hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

“Everyone who was part of this case was disturbed by the defendant’s conduct and as prosecutors we have to file charges based on the law and the law has some gaps in it,” Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a press conference. “We don’t want to violate our oaths as prosecutors and we don’t want to jeopardize the case by charging inappropriately.”

Jerich, 21, was arrested on June 17 after a video surfaced online of him burning out over the intersection, leaving behind large skidmarks. The intersection had only been dedicated two days prior. A witness also came forward to police, who explained that they were gathered to celebrate former President Donald Trump’s birthday and were driving through the city as a part of the festivities. However, when they reached the intersection, someone yelled out, “Adam, tear up that gay intersection.” Jerich, or “Adam,” was picked out of a lineup by the witness; he said he came forward “not only as a community member but as a gay man.”

Aronberg explained that his office had looked into charging Jerich with a hate crime, but that it did not meet one of the requirements of the law. He said that the victim in this case was the city of Delray Beach, which does not have a sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I encourage the state legislature to review this area of the law to allow local government to be a victim in a crime that evidences prejudice so that prosecutors can utilize the hate crime enhancer in cases like this,” he said.

The state attorney’s office also looked into charging him under Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new Combating Public Disorder statute, but Aronberg said that the case did not meet the requirement of the memorial honoring or recounting “the past or public service of a Florida or United States resident.”

“The streetscape itself names no specific individuals or groups with any memorial signs or plaques and does not specifically recognize or acknowledge any individuals' past or present, which makes it different from the examples of memorials listed in the statute,” he said.

The police report states that the cost of street space was $16,720, paid for with private money, and the city is working with the vendor to have the intersection repainted. Richard Clausi, Jr., assistant state attorney, said that the cost to fix it has been estimated around $8,000.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) released a statement denouncing the office’s charges.

"Although I was not surprised that State Attorney Dave Aronberg shied away from charging Alexander Jerich under the new Combating Public Disorder Act, I was shocked that he refused to seek enhanced penalties under Florida's hate crimes law,” wrote Rand Hoch, the president of the PBCHRC.

“If surveillance cameras caught someone carving anti-Semitic slurs in the sidewalk in front of a store owned by a Jewish person in Delray Beach, don't you think State Attorney Aronberg would charge the person with a hate crime?”

During his press conference, Aronberg said he imagines that moving forward, how memorials are done and honored will be changed in order to protect them from vandals in the future.

“Make no mistake, we are appalled by the defendant’s actions. Hate has no place in our community and we intend to hold the defendant accountable for his crimes,” Aronberg said. “Any punishment must also include restitution that will pay for the Pride streetscape to be fully restored to its original form.”