Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

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Paintball shooting in Lake Eola linked to potential LGBTQ hate crime

By : Jeremy Brener
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WARNING: This story contains an image of a sensitive nature.

ORLANDO | Police are investigating a possible hate crime at Lake Eola Park in Orlando after several LGBTQ individuals were attacked by a paintball gun being shot from a moving vehicle on July 27. The attacker also shouted homophobic slurs at the victims.

Orlando resident Sully Wellington was shot in the leg with paintballs while playing the popular app game “Pokemon Go” with a friend at Lake Eola Park. Wellington says he was not the only person who was involved in the hate crime.

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07.26.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we head into the final summer month of 2018, I have been thinking a lot about the summer season from two years ago. All eyes were turned to Orlando as we were trying to make sense of a senseless act that left 49 people dead at Pulse. It was also a time when one of my college professors, Ken Carpenter, was battling for his life after a cancer diagnoses earlier in the year.

Ken was the journalism professor at Valencia College, and as I enrolled in more and more journalism classes he became a person that I started to see every single day. He became more than just a teacher to me. He became a friend and mentor, and not just to me. I can’t think of a single student who walked through those glass doors at Valencia College’s West Campus, passing by the mannequin wearing a suit made entirely out of newspaper, into the newsroom, who didn’t feel a connection with Ken that surpassed the word teacher.

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Point Foundation to honor Barbara Poma at National Leadership Dinner

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | Point Foundation will present its Leadership Award to Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, at its 2018 National Leadership Dinner in Lake Buena Vista on July 27.

Since the Pulse shooting, Poma has been serving as the executive director of the onePULSE Foundation. onePULSE has worked with the Central Florida community to establish a permanent Pulse memorial and to give scholarships to the LGBTQ community.

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Openly gay teacher runs for Seminole County School Board

By : Colton Adkins
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WINTER PARK, Fla. | Openly gay Lake Howell High School English teacher Bobby Agagnina is running for Seminole County School Board District 4.

Agagnina, who was born and raised in Central Florida, has been teaching at Lake Howell for nine years. After graduating from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree of English, Agagnina knew he wanted to teach where he grew up.

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MBA Orlando’s 2018 Pride in Business Gala

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | The MBA Orlando LGBT Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual Pride in Business Gala on Aug. 4 at the Hard Rock Live Orlando. Up to 350 LGBT & Allied business, civic and community leaders will be attending to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Central Florida.

This unique event will feature a red carpet entrance, six award categories and a VIP reception. According to the Pride in Business Awards Gala social media, awards will be presented by distinguished community leaders and and business professionals during a full course dinner. The Gala will also include a silent auction where all proceeds will go toward the non-profit Come Out With Pride, who hosts the Orlando Pride Parade every October.

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Transgender woman found dead in Orlando apartment complex parking lot

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | A 27-year-old transgender woman was found dead in the parking lot of an Orlando apartment complex on the morning of July 19.

The victim was identified by multiple members of the LGBTQ community on social media as a Central Florida trans woman named Sasha Garden.

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onePULSE Foundation seeks ideas from community for permanent memorial

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the Pulse shooting, which at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. From this tragedy the Orlando community grew together, and organizations such as the onePULSE Foundation were introduced to ensure that “hate will never win.”

The onePULSE Foundation is the only non-profit created by, Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse. According to their website, it was established to create “a sanctuary of hope around this tragic day in American history which honors the 49 lives that were taken, the 68 injured victims, the affected survivors and the first responders and healthcare professionals who cared for the victims.”

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Pride Fund re-endorses U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | Pride Fund to End Gun Violence announced its re-endorsement of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park, July 12.

Murphy has served Florida’s 7th Congressional District since her 2016 election in which she beat 12-term Republican incumbent John Mica. Murphy’s district covers all of Seminole County and a portion of northern Orange County, which includes Winter Park and most of downtown Orlando.

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‘I’m dedicated to keeping the arts alive’: Harriett Lake dies at 96

By : Layla Ferris
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Harriett Lake, a philanthropic lover of Orlando’s arts scene, died July 10. She was 96.

With the establishment of Harriett’s Charitable Trust, Lake has given millions of dollars to organizations that help keep Orlando’s art world alive.

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Trump supporter holds up homophobic sign in front of College Park man’s house

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | A Trump supporter laughed as local College Park resident Fernando Sosa recorded him sitting outside of Sosa’s home with a homophobic and racist sign July 9.

In the video, the man — identified as Matt Sherman — is holding up a sign that says, “A gay Asian with AIDS who hates America + fireworks lives here!” on one side and, “A butt hurt Trump hater lives here, who’s the keyboard warrior now?” on the other.

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Central Florida candidates describe differing enthusiasm levels among young volunteers

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | A push for stricter gun laws, among other prominent issues, has politically mobilized Florida’s youth; however, Central Florida candidates say they have conflicting experiences with the enthusiasm levels of young volunteers and voters.

Three Central Florida candidates — Eric Rollings, Susan Makowski and Anna Eskamani — discussed how national enthusiasm has translated at the local level during a June 27 Pride & Allies Meeting held at the Orange County Administration Building in downtown Orlando.

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