Wednesday, March 10, 2021

President's Message - March 2021


March 10, 2021

First and foremost, I hope you are safe and well, riding out the pandemic as best as you can.
Throughout 2020 — despite the pandemic — the officers, directors and supporters of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the PBCHRC Voters Alliance and the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation continued to donate our time and talent to help the organizations move forward with our initiatives.
For years, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) encouraged supporters to vote by mail. However, in light of the pandemic, last year we redoubled our efforts. We did not want any of our supporters to take unnecessary risks.

As a result of PBCHRCVA's get-out-the-vote campaign, a record number of LGBTQ and allied voters participated in the March 9 municipal elections General Election — and almost everyone voted by mail!

The following PBCHRCVA-endorsed candidates were victorious in their elections:
Boca Raton City Council Member Monica Mayotte
Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia
Delray Beach City Commissioner Adam Frankel
Delray Beach City Commissioner Ryan Boylston
Lake Worth Beach Mayor-elect Betty Resch
Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner-elect Sarah Malega
North Palm Beach Village Council Member Susan Bickel
North Palm Beach Village Council Member David Norris
Palm Beach Town Council Member-elect Ted Austin Cooney
Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Marcie Tinsley
Riviera Beach City Council Member Julia Botel
West Palm Beach City Commissioner-elect Shalonda Warren
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi

Congratulations to all!

Since PBCHRCVA-endorsed Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Carla Blockson did not receive more than 50% of the vote in yesterday's election, she will be in a run-off election on March 23.

PBCHRC will hold our “Winter” Fête Under the Stars on Saturday evening, April 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach.

Passed hors d'oeuvres will be provided by Sandy James Fine Food & Catering, who also will set up food stations and several premium open bars throughout the grounds and gardens. Pernod Ricard is our Champagne Sponsor, Michael Kagdis is our Vodka Sponsor, and Table 26 is our Wine Sponsor. And as always, Echo will provide sushi stations.

As we are concerned with the safety of our supporters and event staff, gates to the “Winter” Fête will open at 6:00 p.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. The number of guests will be limited to 200. The extended time, limited number of guests, and the venue’s spacious grounds and gardens will enhance safety and social distancing. We have ordered event masks, as masks will be required to be worn at the event.

We have a very limited number of individual tickets for $350.00 per person. As we are sure to sell out, if you are interested in attending, please go to to secure your tickets. Checks also may be sent to PBCHRC, P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402.

Thanks go out to the following PBCHRC supporters who have joined the Host Committee for the “Winter” Fête:
Presenting Sponsors
Congressman Mark Foley and Ryan Ruark, R.N.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

Champagne Sponsor - Pernod-Ricard
Vodka Sponsor - Michael Kagdis
Wine Sponsor - Table 26
Entertainment Sponsors - Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais

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

Peter Conn, Jr, and Oscar Garza
Jeffrey and Frances Fisher
Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias
Mittleman Eye / Dr. David Mittleman and Michael Duquette Fowler
SandyJames Fine Food & Productions
John Tatooles, Victor Moore, Dr. Rick Pollock and David Dowd
Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E

Alexandria Ayala and Rob Long
State Senator Lori Berman
Mack Bernard and Shawn N. Bernard
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Palm Beach County School Board Member Karen Brill
Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes
Shawn Cherry and Vincent Ruisi
David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo
Sean Conklin
Nicholas Coppola and David Crespo
Cornerstone Solutions
Palm Beach Town Council Member Lew Crampton
Joseph Paul Davis
Arlen D. Dominek and A. J. Young
Florida Sugar Cane League
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christy Fox
Charlie Fredrickson (In memoriam)
Wayne Galli
Jeffrey P. Ganek
Edith Hall Friedheim and Peter L. Cruise
Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen
Howard A. Grossman, MD
Tom Holton
Integrity Palm Beach
Michael Judd and Ben Small
Michael Kagdis
Koi Design Group
Mayor Myra Koutzen
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina and Monte Lambert
Palm Beach Gardens Vice Mayor Rachelle Litt and Dr. Jeffrey Litt
Sarah and Dawn Malega
Palm Beach Gardens Councilmember Dr. Mark Marciano and Dr. Brandee Marciano
David Miller and Ray Wakefield
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi and Erin Peduzzi
Richard and Ellen Rampell
Scott Rixford and Jose Mena
The Rev. Burl Salmon and Robert Henkel
Joseph Marino, Jr. and Anthony Sibilia
James Swope and Scott Robertson
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf
Table 26
Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney
James Watson
Javier Weicman and Wayne Lewis
Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
Commissioner and Mrs. Robert Weinroth

If you are interested in helping underwrite
our "Winter” Fête Under the Stars,
please go to

Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, filed suit in federal court on behalf of two therapists seeking to nullify the bans on conversion therapy for minors enacted by Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton. The lawsuit is virtually identical to one Liberty Counsel filed against the City of Tampa.

Last year, 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 appealed the order to the U.S. District Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit and on Nov. 20, one three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the ordinances were unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County promptly filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing by the full Eleventh Circuit. The City of Miami filed an amicus brief in support of the Joint Petition , which was joined by numerous local governments around the county, including Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth Beach, Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach.

We await a ruling on the Petition and we will keep you informed.

In Delray Beach, Nicholas Coppola, the Downtown Development Authority and Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston are working on a project to install a Progress Pride crosswalk to the city’s downtown in time for LGBTQ Pride in June.

In Boynton Beach, longtime LGBTQ activist Allan Hendricks and openly gay City Commissioner Ty Penserga are brainstorming with Glenn Weiss, the city’s Public Art Manager, about bringing Pride artwork to the city.

We are still awaiting work to be completed in Northwood Village on permanent Pride crosswalks using the traditional rainbow colors.We hope the installation will be completed in 2021. PBCHRC and community activists in West Palm Beach continue to work with ArtLife WPB on additional crosswalk locations using the colors of the Progress Pride Flag.

While there has been discussion of Progress Pride crosswalks in Lake Worth Beach, no formal action yet has been taken.

The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation was established to fund scholarships and other charitable endeavors. As Chair, Joseph Garcia directs the Foundation. Jasmin Lewis heads the Foundation's Social Justice Awards Committee.

The Social Justice Awards are named after longtime PBCHRC treasurer Dan Hall, a local attorney who manages a financial counseling company. As the father of three grown children, Dan always has had a strong interest in education. Over the years, he has mentored several LGBTQ students.

ILast year, three college-bound high school seniors were presented $2,500 scholarships in recognition of their advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community as part of the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards program. The Foundation has paid for the meal plan for an LGBTQ college student, provided tuition assistance for a Palm Beach State College student, and has made contributions to Compass, the ACLU of Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, and the Movement Advancement Project. In addition, the Foundation provided dues assistance and T-shirts for the members of the Palm Beach Gardens Community High School GSA. This year, the Charitable Foundation has expand ed our initiatives to include college scholarships to openly-LGBTQ athletes.

To apply for one of the 2021 Social Justice Awards, click here. (The application deadline is midnight April 23, 2021.)

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.


  • The Historic Board of the City of West Palm Beach has moved forward with H.G. Rooster’s application for designation as a West Palm Beach Historic Preservation Site. The City Commision is expected to vote on the designation in the next few weeks.
  • PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin Lewis was presented the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Black History Community Award.
  • The Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination campaign - Realtors® for Equality.


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 prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" ,
  • The State of Florida to ban conversion therapy, and
  • The State of Florida to include crimes based on an individual's "gender" or "gender identity or expression" in Florida's hate crimes laws

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.

Stay safe and keep healthy.

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 Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance, P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402.

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