Author Rob Sanders revolutionizes picture books with ‘Stonewall’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Self-described “writer who teaches and teacher who writes” Rob Sanders appreciates anniversaries. In celebration of the LGBTQ pride flag’s 40th in 2018, he released “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” the first picture book detailing the LGBTQ symbol’s origin. Now, just ahead of the Stonewall Uprising’s 50th, he’s made history again with “Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.”

The openly LGBTQ author’s follow up is the first picture book to detail the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Its story of strength, unity and equality was released April 23 from Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books; the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher.

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05.15.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Change scares a lot of people. You get so comfortable with the way things are—whether they are ideal for you or not—and you figure why change it up? What if you make things worse? What if the payout isn’t what you thought it would be in the end?

I have always been a fan of change. I’ve rarely lived in the same place more than a few years, opting to pack up and change homes, roommates and, in some cases, entire states for a change of scenery. It’s why I always fit well in the military lifestyle, a lifestyle I would most likely still be a part of if not for that pesky “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” thing. No, I wasn’t discharged because I was gay but the hardship of hiding who I was and having to come up with inventive, new ways to explain to my commander why my “roommate” accompanied me to all work functions, family gatherings and annual vacations was more work than I wanted to put into a lie.

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05.15.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I despised many things as a child. Some were warranted—like corn, which remains my arch nemesis—but others not as much, like doing nothing on a Saturday. Of the many things that cultivated my childhood angst, however, one in particular stands out: Easter.

I didn’t hate the holiday. There wasn’t much to hate in my family because we rarely did anything for it; gatherings were reserved for “major holidays” like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I wasn’t even aware families congregated for Easter until I was in college, and I was still surprised this year when Publix was closed for the day.

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Harvey Milk Festival holds 10th annual celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | The Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) will hold its 10th annual celebration May 9-11, honoring the life and legacy of activist Harvey Milk by fostering the arts as a catalyst for change.

“It feels comforting,” founder and HMF Executive Director Shannon Fortner says of entering the festival’s 10th year. “I feel proud of our community that we’re able to sustain festivities.”

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Gay man leaves D.C. Stonewall exhibit, told he’s ‘going to burn in hell’ by Lyft driver

By : Kevin Naff OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A gay D.C. man claims his Lyft driver told him he was “going to burn in hell” after being picked up at the Newseum leaving a new exhibit on the Stonewall riots and the LGBTQ rights movement.

Greg Alexander attended a private dinner opening of the “Rise Up” exhibit on March 7 as a guest of the Washington Blade, which is a sponsor. At about 9 p.m., he says he called the Lyft car service to pick him up at the Newseum. He began talking to the driver, who asked what exhibit he’d seen. Alexander responded, “It’s for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots … which helped launch the gay rights movement.”

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Washington’s Newseum features Watermark, other LGBTQ publications in new exhibit to honor Stonewall 50th anniversary

By : Jeremy Williams
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WASHINGTON | Newseum, a museum located in the nation’s capitol dedicated to increasing the public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, will unveil a new exhibit dedicated to the LGBTQ community March 8.

“Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement,” will explore the modern fight for LGBTQ equality. It began 50 years ago when a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village turned into riots and protests from the community due to the treatment by local police.

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United Arts of Central Florida names new manager of grants and art education

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | United Arts of Central Florida has named Rafael Torres as the new manager of grants and art education.

“This is my dream job and something I’ve wanted to do since graduate school,” says Torres, who immediately applied for the position the day it was posted.

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Rival group to hold competing Pride march in NYC

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A New York City-based group called the Reclaim Pride Coalition announced last week that more than 50 LGBT rights organizations in the U.S. and other countries have endorsed its plans for a “non-corporate, grassroots” civil rights march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Organizers say the “Reclaim Pride” march will take place on June 30 on the same day and at the same time but along a different route than the official New York City Pride March, which has been organized for more than 20 years by the group Heritage of Pride or HOP.

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Stonewall Orlando hosting inaugural comedy showcase

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | Stonewall Orlando is bringing the laughs to the party with the debut of its first stand-up comedy showcase Jan. 30.

Hosted by Heather Shaw, the free showcase starts at 9:30 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes beforehand. The inaugural event will feature comedians Shaw Smith, Simon Nash, Christophe Jean, Chris Alexander, Krystal Tholen and Ariana Garcia-Chow.

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Watch: Madonna gives surprise NYE performance at Stonewall Inn

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Madonna gave a surprise performance for partygoers at New York City’s historic Stonewall Inn on New Year’s Eve.

The 60-year-old pop star stopped by with her son David Banda, 13, to give a speech on the LGBT movement and to treat the crowd to two musical performances.

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PHOTOS: ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ steals the show at Stonewall Orlando’s Halloween night

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | It was FUN HOUSE Happy Hour at Stonewall Orlando for Halloween Oct. 31. Hosted by Erica Roberts, the event was filled with fun games and fantastic prizes, including theme park tickets!

The FUN HOUSE wrapped up with its Halloween Costume Contest at 9 p.m., where Kurt Kors and CJ Clontz won dressed up as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” King of Halloween Jack Skellington and his love Sally … with their ghostly pooch Zero in tow, of course.

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New York Yankees announce LGBT scholarships for Stonewall’s 50th anniversary

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The New York Yankees will launch an LGBT initiative in 2019 that will provide scholarships to high school students to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative will award five $10,000 scholarships to one graduating public high school student from each of the five boroughs who” have demonstrated academic achievement, a commitment to equality and impactful support for the LGBTQ community.”

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