Monday, September 13, 2021

President's Message - September 2021

 

September 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.
SPECIAL PRIMARY ELECTION FOR U.S. CONGRESS - 20TH DISTRICT

Primary Elections to fill the Congressional seat long held by Alcee Hastings will be held on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. The last day to register to vote or change party registration is Monday, October 4. (As these are partisan primaries, you must be registered with a political party to vote in the November 2 election.) To request a Vote-By-Mail ballot, go to www.votepalmbeach.gov/Voters/Vote-By-Mail. The deadline to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Early voting will be held daily from Saturday, October 23, to Sunday, October 31. Early voting sites will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The District includes most of the majority-black precincts in and around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, as well as much of the Glades.
On September 30, 2021, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance will conduct in-person endorsement interviews with the seven most viable candidates in the Democratic Primary. The candidates invited to be interviewed are healthcare executive Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Florida House of Representatives Minority Leader Bobby Dubose. State Representative Omari Hardy, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holeness, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, former Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor, and State Senator Perry Thurston.

PBCHRC Voters Alliance will keep you posted of the results of our interviews.

Although the General Election for the seat will be held on January 11, 2022, as this is a strongly Democratic District, the winner of the Democratic Primary is almost assured to be next Member of Congress.

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 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.

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
Jeffrey P. Ganek
Hierromat Development
Tom Holton
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
David Markarian
David Miller and Ray Wakefield
Lake Worth Beach Mayor Betty Resch
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf
State Representative David Silvers
Sutka Visual Design
Priscilla Taylor
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
James Watson
Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
A private reception sponsored by Mittleman Eye / Dr. David Mittleman and Michael Duquette Fowler to honor our major donors will be held in early January.

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.