MIAMI-DADE GAY & LESBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO CELEBRATE LGBT VISITOR CENTER GRAND OPENING
The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) will celebrate its new headquarters and the opening of one of the nation’s only gay Chamber-sponsored LGBT Visitor Centers at a community-wide event on April 15, 2010, co-hosted by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The focal point of the celebration will be the official dedication of the Michael Aller LGBT Community Conference Room within the new space. The public is invited to attend the free grand opening and dedication ceremony, which takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach. Among those expected to take part in the celebration are Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, city commissioners, former mayors, and business and community leaders.
Named for the City of Miami Beach’s Tourism and Convention Director and Chief of Protocol, the Michael Aller LGBT Community Conference Room will be a place of community and gathering, said Steve Adkins, president of the MDGLCC. Aller is affectionately referred to as “Mr. Miami Beach” for his many years of service, unwavering cheerleading and tireless championing of LGBT issues over the past two decades.
“No single person has contributed as much to this community as Michael Aller,” Adkins said. “He was ‘out’ when ‘out’ wasn’t ‘in,’ yet he managed to leave an indelible footprint for the rest of us to follow. It is our honor and privilege to name the community conference room after him.”
Aller has seen many changes within the community through the years. In 1992, he supported the adoption of a Miami Beach ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. He was active with the City when the Human Rights Ordinance passed in 1998. He championed domestic partner benefits for City of Miami Beach employees, which passed in 2001. In 2004, Aller advocated when transgender protection passed and the domestic partner registry opened for Miami Beach residents. Two years later, in 2006, he backed the Equal Benefits Ordinance and, just recently, he encouraged the City to strengthen its Human Rights Ordinance.
“I’ve been telling people for years our community is one of the most welcoming and diverse in the world,” Aller said. “And we’ve worked long and hard to get here. I am honored and deeply humbled by this wonderful gesture.”
According to Adkins, the Michael Aller Community Conference Room will contain modern conference room furniture and equipment, but what will truly give the space its personality will be a rotating display of Aller’s personal memorabilia that he has collected over the years. Visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and bold-face names from throughout the world have contributed to Aller’s collection, which includes a colorful portrait by renowned artist Romero Britto that will hang prominently in the Conference Room.
In addition to hosting official MDGLCC business inside the Conference Room, the Chamber will make the space available to any community organization, Adkins said. Potential uses for the space include charity board meetings, presentations, even small cocktail parties or catered dinners. The conference room can be rented out for an hour or a weekend for a nominal fee, and because it features a separate, street-front entrance organizations will be able to utilize the space beyond normal working hours.
“The LGBT Visitor Center and the Michael Aller Conference Room will still be works-in-progress at the time of the dedication event,” Adkins said. “We’re hosting the event sooner rather than later so we can get the buzz going and the community excited about our vision for this wonderful community space.”
About the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce