Metro Inclusive Health, The Dru Project to present ‘Stonewall to Pulse’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Inclusive Health and The Dru Project will present “Stonewall to Pulse: A Community Discussion” June 26, an inter-generational event featuring panelists who have experienced LGBTQ milestones firsthand.

The presentation “brings together individuals who experienced some of the most significant events, movements and moments in LGBTQ+ history,” the organizations announced June 1, “including the Stonewall Riots, Pulse Massacre, participation in ACT UP AIDS activism and the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard.”

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The Dru Project awards 2019 LGBTQ youth scholarships

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Dru Project announced the five recipients of the 2019 Spirit of Drew Scholarship ahead of the organization’s third year anniversary, which will be on June 14.

Drew Adams, who will attend the University of Central Florida; Emily Silverio-Williams, who will attend Florida International University; Dean Rooney, who will attend Florida State University; Evan Malzberg, who will attend Columbia University; and Dalton Vanderford, who will attend the University of South Florida, will each receive $5,000 toward their education.

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Equality Florida’s Brandon Wolf named a grand marshal for Capital Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Capital Pride, a nonprofit organization located in Washington, D.C. that produces a Trans Pride and Pride Celebration in the nation’s capital each year, named Central Florida activist Brandon Wolf among its list of grand marshals for this year’s Pride parade.

Wolf is currently the media relations manager for Equality Florida and is a co-founder of The Dru Project, a nonprofit LGBTQ advocacy organization dedicated to promoting Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) nationwide by providing curricula and scholarships to LGBTQ youth.

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Pulse survivor challenges Disney to cease support for NRA-friendly gubernatorial candidate

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Brandon Wolf is calling for Walt Disney World to “stop supporting NRA sellouts” such as Adam Putnam, a Republican running for Florida governor in the 2018 election.

Wolf denounced Disney’s contributions toward Putnam’s campaign in a video released with media company NowThis on June 12, two years after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Hope (and Thoughts and Prayers) for Our Gun-Totin’ Future

By : STEVE YACOVELLI
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Steve Yacovelli

The Parkland shooting has yet again re-ignited the great American gun control debate. Both sides of the coin have brought out their best arguments for control/freedom. It’s sadly yet another repeat of the same ol’ “thoughts and prayers” responses we have heard time and time again: from Sandy Hook to Virgina Tech to Las Vegas to our own Pulse massacre. Yet this time something feels a bit different; it feels like a tipping point of sorts.

While there was ample focus after Pulse within our community and beyond to look at common sense gun control, sadly we were constantly met with that “thoughts and prayers” shenanigans from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Some – like Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith – passionately reached out to lawmakers to change things. Groups like the Orlando chapter of Gays Against Guns and The Dru Project formed and shouted for gun reform. But nothing seemed to change. Some thought that, gee, if Washington wasn’t moved into action when kindergarteners were gunned down in their own classroom at Sandy Hook, maybe nothing could really turn the dial.

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The Dru Project officially launches at The Abbey

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Dru Project got its official launch at The Abbey June 11 among friends, family and supporters of Drew Leinonen, one of the 49 people killed at the Pulse tragedy last year.

The Abbey was packed with media and activist as some of the founders of The Dru Project, including Drew’s mother Christine Leinonen and his best friend Brandon Wolf, spoke to the crowd.

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Groups form in the wake of Pulse to better explain, correct our problem with mass violence

By : Billy Manes
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There have been numerous efforts to make sense – and sociological advancement – following the attack at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Look around you. There are murals everywhere, scenes of righteous indignations, ribbon-makers delivering rainbows to celebrities, candlelight tributes, attempts to curb the seeming necessity to take those out with whom you do not agree. Orlando is America’s tipping point on both the LGBTQ and gun-violence fronts, and many of those who are most affected are seeking change to make things better. You can say “intersectionality” in terms of protest all you want, but here, now, it is manifest. These are but a few of the bright spots to come from that dark night. Orlando is coming together; you can help.

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Sandwich Fundraiser for The Dru Project to be held at Pom Pom’s

By : Felicia Roopchand
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Head over to Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria this Valentine’s Day to help raise money for The Dru Project. They will be graciously donating $1 to The Dru Project from every Sweetheart Sandwich sold.

The Dru Project is an LGBTQIA advocacy organization on a mission to spread love across the nation and promote gay-straight alliances. They are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the state of Florida. The organization was created in memorial to Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen and his partner Juan Ramon Guerrero, who were among the 49 killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting.

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Watermark’s 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark has chosen those who stood out from the LGBTQ community – 16 remarkable individuals who made a mark in 2016; whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

It has been a difficult year for all of us, both politically and personally, and those we have selected have made the most change, been the most inspiring and helped to make our LGBTQ community that much stronger in the face of adversity.

Below, our 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16.

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Survival of the Kindest: After enduring the attack on Pulse, Brandon Wolf is living his life out loud and for his departed friends

By : Billy Manes
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It’s almost impossible to imagine the grief carried by Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor who lost his greatest friends. But there’s something about Wolf – some unexpected, well-versed resilience – that makes outside imagination seem ridiculous, anyway.

Wolf, who has become a voice against gun violence, and indeed a hero in his own right, lost friends Drew Leinonen and Drew’s boyfriend Juan Guerrero in June as he had run off to the bathroom. The details aren’t necessary, but Wolf is. Outside of Pulse six months later, he’s quick to turn ornaments around on a makeshift tree so that the faces of the 49 are shown.

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