Tampa Bay’s Overheard: SMART Ride, the Pink Triangle and Ybor shows the love

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RIDE FOR A CAUSE

After a two day track full of blood, sweat and tears, across a 165-mile stretch from Miami to Key West, the 2016 SMART Ride is done. At the end of the ride, which was held Nov. 17-18, organizers raised $1,037,140, about $45,000 of which came from right here from Tampa Bay area cyclists.

SMART Ride got started in 2003 with less than 100 riders and raised $169,000, all of which went to HIV/AIDS organizations in Florida. Fast forward 13 years, and with SMART Ride now raising more than $8 million in total, all going back to HIV/AIDS groups in the state, they are the second-largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country.

Tampa Bay rider Marc Retzlaff took to Facebook after completing the ride to say, “Everyone who planned and participated this year left an indelible mark on our lives this weekend, reminding us how true are the words we borrow from Margaret Mead as our motto for the SMART Ride: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.’”

REMEMBERING THE PINK TRIANGLE

Most people are familiar with the human tragedy suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany in the ‘30s and ‘40s known as the Holocaust, but some may not know that it wasn’t just Jewish people who were sent to the concentration camps. The Nazis gathered up any group they felt threatened their pure Aryan race, including gay men who they marked with a pink triangle.

The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is seeking to educate on the atrocities that gay men suffered during this time with a new exhibit they recently announced: Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933‐1945. The exhibit, which will feature photos, items and stories from that time, will come to St. Pete’s FHM next year starting April 30 and will run through to July 2.

For more information visit FLHolocaustMuseum.org.

WALL OF LOVE

With all of the fear, anger and hate flying around these days, the people of the GaYbor District in Ybor City decided to hold a protest for love. For anyone who has been down to Ybor City on a Friday night you know that a handful of hate spewing, fake Christians stand outside of the 7-11 shouting messages of hate while holding signs condemning anyone different then themselves to hate.

Well, the purveyors of truth and love had a different message Nov. 25 when dozens of people gathered across the street with a GaYbor District banner, rainbow flags and signs reading, “We choose love,” and, “Ybor loves LGBT,” among other loving phrases. They also chanted “Our God chooses love,” “One Pulse-One Love,” and at one point even sang “It’s Raining Men.” This “Wall of Love Ybor” allowed the visitors of Tampa Bay to see that there is so much more love than hate in Centro Ybor.

The Wall of Love Ybor was so well received that they will be back out there Dec. 2 spreading their message of love.

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