PBCHRC to Donors: Don’t ‘Feel Obligated to Support Equality Florida Gala’

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The 2017 Palm Beach Equality Florida Gala, which took place at WPB Lake Pavilion. Photo via Equality Florida, Facebook.

If universal LGBT support for the upcoming Equality Florida Gala was something assumed, that assumption is wrong.

In an email, Rand Hoch, founder and president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council [PBCHRC], instructed recipients that they shouldn’t “feel obligated to support” Equality Florida’s Gala – Sunday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lakeside Pavilion, 101 S. Flagler, West Palm Beach.

“You may have received an e-mail from an organization called Equality Florida entitled ‘Join in support of Equality in Paradise!’ The e-mail solicits your contribution of at least $500 to support of the ‘Equality Florida Palm Beach Gala’ . . . PBCHRC does not want you to feel obligated to support Equality Florida by sponsoring, supporting or even attending this event,” Hoch wrote.

“Over the years, Equality Florida's staff has repeatedly marginalized the efforts of local volunteers to secure LGBTQ rights. As recently as last month, in a publication she co-authored, Equality Florida's CEO [Nadine Smith] intentionally diminished the LGBTQ progress made in Palm Beach County. (It is important to point out that Allan Hendricks has been a strong and valuable advocate for the Palm Beach County LGBTQ community for many years – despite his affiliation with Equality Florida.) If you want to contribute to an LGBTQ organization which actually works to help our community, please consider contributing to Compass, the LGBTQ community center in Lake Worth.”

SFGN reported on Hoch’s previous criticism of GLAAD and Equality Florida’s LGBT media guide.

In an email, Allan Hendricks and Nadine Smith said Equality Florida’s donors “are inspired to give because they understand” the importance of the organization’s work.

“Even more so now with a hostile administration seeking to push us backwards. 100% of the proceeds of our Palm Beach Gala will support our work with local school districts, including Palm Beach, to create Safe and Healthy learning environments for LGBTQ youth. Rand has complained that a Spanish-language focused media guide created by GLAAD in partnership with Equality Florida did not fully spotlight all of his contributions. The guide includes some key Florida milestones and is not a compendium. The guide focuses a great deal on Miami as headquarters to a range of Spanish-language media outlets. Our community is underrepresented in Spanish-language media and we are grateful to GLAAD for preparing this important online tool and for responding quickly to suggestions and updates. We encourage everyone to read the guide for themselves and share it with their media outlets. Equality Florida local steering committees host more than a dozen major events once a year all across the state and select the local honorees.”

They invited supporters to come to the event and watch the awards being presented. “In the past, we have recognized and honored Rand’s leadership at PBHRC. This is a time that calls us all to greater unity as we defend victories and push forward together against newly invigorated adversaries.”


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