Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal nominees and Equality Florida’s record-breaking fundraising

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St. Pete Pride makes decision on move, Grand Marshal finalists

St. Pete Pride announced March 2 via Facebook that the annual parade will move to the downtown area, but will keep the street festival in the Grand Central District. The new parade route begin’s at Albert Whitted Park and proceeds along Bayshore Drive to Vinoy Park. The compromise will allow St. Pete Pride to keep that city funding.

The night before St. Pete Pride met with the city to discuss parades and festivals, they announced the finalists for Pride’s Grand Marshals.

This year the nominees are Rev Dr. Candace R. Shultis of King of Peace MCC, Equality Florida’s Ed Lally, Beacon House Director Milly Taylor, Tampa Bay entertainer Kori Stevens, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith and Florida Transgender Alliance’s Director of Communications Grant Drain. Project No Labels, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and ACLU Pinellas Chapter are the nominees for organization Grand Marshal.

Go to StPetePride.com to vote.

Lightning finds a hero

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a very successful first ever Pride Night, despite losing to the Calgary Flames. Balance Tampa Bay volunteer Parker Hormans, Lightning Foundation head Elizabeth Fraiser and director of group sales Ryan Niemeyer sparked the idea of hosting a Pride Night with the Lightning last year.

Homans suggested bringing Equality Florida, Balance Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce together, which they successfully did. At each game, the Lightning Organization donates $50,000 to someone nominated as a community hero. Thursday’s Lightning Community Hero was Nadine Smith, the executive director and co-founder of Equality Florida.

Records Gala-ore

Speaking of Equality Florida, the organization went above and beyond to break a fundraising record on Feb. 25 at its annual Tampa Gala held at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre. The community succeeded in helping Equality Florida to raise the record-breaking $401,000.

HOT 101.5’s Miguel Fuller hosted the event, which featured live and silent auctions, musical entertainment and a spoken word performance from Equality Florida’s own Samira Obeid.

Several awards were also presented that night, including the Voice for Equality award presented to Tech Data Corporation’s John “JT” Tonnison, the Youth Voice for Equality award to Ariel Zavala and the Charlie Hounchell Spirit of Service & Leadership award to Scott Moore.

Equality Florida’s (and have you heard a Lightning Community Hero!) Nadine Smith spoke to the crowd, giving the State of the State address.

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