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.
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.
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.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Inc. is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The Council promotes equality, through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach.