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On Saturday, June 24, the Compass LGBT Community Center of Palm Beach County in Lake Worth will host the 16th Annual Stonewall Ball in the Harriet Himmel Theater in Downtown West Palm Beach. The event is open to the public. VIP tickets cost $75 and general tickets cost $35 and $40 at the door.

The ball commemorates the Stonewall riots of 1969, in which members of the LGBT community of New York City protested and demonstrated against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn. The protest is generally known as the turning point for LGBT rights in America. 

This year Andy Amoroso will receive the Compass Leadership Award.  The award is given to those in elected office who fight for inclusiveness and fairness. 

“As former Vice-Chairman of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Commissioner Amoroso is a longtime small business owner and active community leader. Andy has been integral in leading the way to creating new jobs, revitalizing the downtown business corridor, and highlighting the music, art, and cultural events we have all grown to love about Lake Worth,” said Ryanmarie Rice, Chief of Staff of Compass in a press release.

Another award winner, Theo Smith of West Palm Beach will receive the Michael Brown Memorial Faces of the Community Award, given to those who have done community work, organized programs or events for the LGBT Community in Palm Beach County. 


Related: Theo Smith - Gay Rights Activist


“Theo's years of dedication and volunteerism in numerous community outreach programs and fundraising include Compass, The SMART Ride, breast cancer awareness, autism, HIV/AIDS awareness and many other charitable events and organizations. Theo’s instinctual yet healthy empathy towards others continues to drive him in serving his fellow community members every day,” Rice said. 

The award was named after Michael Brown, a native of the area, manager at Rooster’s Bar in West Palm Beach and an AIDS Prevention organizer. 

Smith said winning the award is very humbling, especially as he was close to Brown.

“He was a close friend of mine so receiving the award 10 years after his death is very is humbling. He was a living hero to all that knew him,” He said.

The professional architect said that helping people has been important to him since he was a child. 

“Theo’s instinctual yet healthy empathy towards others continues to drive him to serve his fellow citizens today.  It is through his service towards others that each day he learns more about himself, thus gaining a greater acceptance and empowerment of him and others,” Smith wrote in his commencement speech for the event.    

Julia Murphy, the Chief Development Officer for Compass said they expect a large crowd of around 1,200 people. Last year 1,500 attended. 

Murphy said that the event happens in June to commemorate the LGBT community in Palm Beach County and the nation as well. 

“It’s the one ball that we have for the year for Palm Beach County and it recognizes individuals and leaders that have made strides within the LGBTQ Community locally so we’re able to do an award ceremony and we transition to a night full of fun and celebration for all the strides we’ve made.”  

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