SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders.
Last week SFGN released its annual OUT50 list. Who would you like to spotlight?
Retired Police Captain Lillie Harris. Here is her bio: Harris is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Command Officer Course (FBI), and has extensive law enforcement training in key areas of specialty, including community policing, conflict analysis/resolution, crisis management, and succession management. She was raised during the McDuffie riot era, in the Liberty City Area, and was featured on a 1998 episode of the TV show 20/20 for her work as a sergeant in the Miami North End District, when she helped to get rid of one of the John Doe Boys, one of toughest drug gangs in the country. She retired from the force in August 2016, and is now a private consultant with her own company, The Community Policing Project, Inc. (COPP), where she serves as CEO and project manager. Recently she was in charge of security for local filming of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight. She will be one of the executive producers of the 2018 Black Women Rise conference in West Palm Beach.
— Toni Armstrong, Founder/Director of BLAST Women of WPB
Wilton Manors City Commission. As a member of the city commission I believe a highlight of the entire Wilton Manors City Commission would be appropriate given our progressive policies and actions from nondiscrimination policies, support of marriage equality, expansion of health insurance to be trans-inclusive, our city's consistent equality index scoring, support/sponsorship of events like Stonewall, being one of the first cities in the nation to permanently display the LGBT Pride Flag as the foundation to a monument/memorial honoring the contributions of the LGBT community in Wilton Manors and our larger society, etc. I say the entire city commission because no single member of our commission does anything on her/his own. It is a collective effort to which we all have endeavored to establish a more equitable quality of life in the Island City, one strengthened by and for those of us who are LGBT and our allies whose support of equality has been vital.
If it must only be one single person, then I would ask you to consider Judge Lisa Porter, who is a resident of Wilton Manors, was a recent honoree of our Women's History Month program, is open about being a lesbian, joined me in being officiants at our city's marriage equality ceremonies, and is a great role model for others. Because she is a judge she cannot promote herself directly, but if a newspaper were to seek information from her, that would permit her to respond accordingly.
— Justin Flippen, Vice Mayor of Wilton Manors
Dr. Fred Brugal. I learned of Dr. Fred Brugal when I was having my hair cut by his spouse, Will Breto. I asked Fred to coffee to see if he might be interested in doing volunteer work for the Stonewall National Museum & Archives. It turned out that Fred once worked for Merck, as a nuclear physicist, doing research on HIV drugs. Fred said "yes" to volunteering, and began by organizing the HIV/AIDS documents in our archives. It wasn't long before we coaxed him on to the Board of Directors, and then to be the Board's Chair. I've seen few people in my 43 years of activism who has plunged him or herself so completely into a project as did Fred Brugal, MD. His wise, patient, good-humored, all-in guidance and work helped make Stonewall the cultural jewel it is today.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
Me. I'm an unsung activist for LGBT, health and public (local government) issues. I also write a semi daily affirming message blog YouAreAffirmed.blogspot.com.
— Robert Hadley, community activist
Mark Ketcham, Executive Director of SunServe. Mark has been a longtime provider and advocate of LGBT Rights and Services in our community and state. SunServe’s Motto: “WE HELP PEOPLE,” exemplifies his attitude and goals for our agency. Mark has worked for HIV agencies in New York and Tampa always bringing his dynamic energy and foresight to the clients and agencies. A man who does not seek applause or accolades, but is definitely deserving of them.
— Tiffany Ariegus, Community Activist, Provider, Entertainer and Fundraiser
Former United States Congressman Mark Foley. Contributor - commentary and insight for "GET OUT! South Florida" LGBT Radio. Mark brings an open mind, tells it like it is whether we like what we hear or not! Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. He had a tremendous record of supporting the LGBT community. He voted no on constitutionally defining marriage between a man and woman, voted no on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and no on banning gay adoptions in DC. And, Mark is a fierce supporter of LGBT issues, organizations, and non-profits in South Florida.
— Tom Hantzarides, Host and producer of "GET OUT! South Florida,” an LGBT radio show