Dance buddies, best friends, boyfriends, fiances, girlfriends, bartenders, disc jockeys, mixers, lovers, hookups, “boos,” brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, roommates, co-workers, dancers, performers, artists, models, fundraisers, volunteers, Hispanic, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning, we lost 49 of them. One night in a club at 2 am, the people who were the life of party, the last to go home, the fun bunch, were taken. The most horrid crime against our community has rattled us to the core. It has shaken our sense of security, reminded us that we still have to educate, explain and defend our choice to love. This will become one of the moments in history when we tell each other where we were, what we were doing, when we heard, who we knew, how close to the core we were. We share not because of our need to be involved but because of our need to be comforted. Our community gathers immediately, connecting and communicating on what to do next, how to react, how to feel and most importantly how to help.
On Sunday, my wife Ilene and I split the duties. As outgoing Board Chair of the Pride Center at Equality Park, she attended the vigil beautifully hosted by Pride Center COO Kristofer Fegenbush while I tended to the final Shop with Pride event at Westfield Mall. Participants at the Pride Center included Terry Stone (Centerlink), Rabbi Noah Kitty (Etz Chaim), Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin (Sunshine Cathedral), Gay Men’s Chorus Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Ted Deutch, August Gold, Sheriff Scott Israel, State Senator Chris Stevens, Mayor Gary Resnick, Wilfredo Ruiz (Council for American Islamic Relation) and Dean Trantalis Fort Lauderdale Commissioner. Over 500 people attended. At Westfield, we built bridges. Supporters and strangers to The Pride Center stopped to talk, express disbelief, and offer support for the community.
We think we have been through this before, but we have not. This is a new horror and as the details unravel our emotions change. Thank god we are blessed to be different individuals and rich in our mixed reactions. We need the doers in a crisis to organize assistance. We need the compassionate to organize rallies and vigils. We rely on the skeptics to not accept first reports. We need the hopeful to keep us out of the closet.
June is our month. This issue of Agenda was to be our proudest to date. Our intention was to celebrate accomplishments and provide you with the most up-to-date information on Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride. We had planned far in advance for unique perspectives on the parade and event history. We wanted you to have a hand held guide to everything Stonewall. We will deliver that promise and more. Your team at Agenda is devoted to you, centered in the storm and connected.
We also consider you, our audience, on the team at Agenda. You have showed up on our doorstep, delivered us accurate updates, provided us with stories about your lost friends, information on blood drives, memorials, spiritual gatherings and fundraisers. Thank you and keep up the good work. Here are some of the events planned:
Thursday June 16 6 pm Sunshine Cathedral Service of Prayer and Holy Communion. Lawrence/Lewis Worship Center for Worship and the Arts. All invited for a memorial for the departed, prayers for the wounded and those seeking renewed commitment for the work of peace and justice in the days that follow the attack. 1480 SW 9th Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315 www.sunshinecathedral.net
Thursday June 16 12 noon – 5 pm One Blood More Love Less Hate Blood Drive. All donors will receive a t-shirt and a wellness check-up. Lexus of North Miami 14100 Biscayne Blvd North Miami, FL 33181 www.oneblood.org use sponsor code 7372
Friday June 17 1 pm Parker Playhouse United with Orlando-Standing for Equality City of Fort Lauderdale Special Memorial Service to honor the victims of the Orlando Tragedy. 707 NE 8th St Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 www.fortlauderdale.gov
Friday June 17 8 pm Sunshine Cathedral. A Gala Evening of Old and New to benefit Not In My Town: Opera Fusion Original based on the life of Matthew Shepard with special appearance by Romaine Patterson (Matthew’s best friend) “It is so imperative that works like Not In My Town be shared to ensure that people understand the real impact of bias crimes in America,” Patterson said. “Matthew wanted to live his life helping others. We must all learn from Matthew’s story, and strive to be more kind to one another. I am honored to be a part of Not In My Town because the fine arts serve as a strong and beautiful tool for education.” 1480 SW 9th Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315 www.operafusion.com
Saturday June 18 11am – 11 pm Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride. Support from local and statewide agencies will be provided for our yearly party. Over 30,000 are expected to show our pride. 11 am – 1 pm Community Groups Hagen Park 2020 Wilton Drive 3 pm -11 pm Wilton Drive Street Festival NE 20th to NE 26th Street Wilton Drive Parade 6 pm Five Points Plaza www.wiltonmanorsstonewall.com
Sunday June 19 2 pm Holy Angels Catholic Community will be holding a Memorial Mass for those who lost their lives at Orlando Pulse. If you lost someone you knew and were unable to attend their funeral service in Orlando, you are invited to come and remember them in the Catholic Funeral Mass 2917 NE 6th Ave. www.holyangelsfl.org
The team at Centerlink has set up www.westandwithorlando.com to provide access to credible fundraising for the victims and families as well as the most up to date gatherings and events.