Last week, Compass, the LGBT community center of the Palm Beaches, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the movement that ignited the LGBT community with its 18th annual Stonewall Ball. Over 500 people attended the event at the Harriet Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach in the heart of CityPlace.
In total, the ball raised $30,000 for Compass from its auction and sponsors including Smart Ride, The Beauty Lost, Healthier Lake Worth, and Wells Fargo, according to Compass Chief Development Officer Julia Murphy. Every year, the night raises funds for Compass' fundamental programs and services, including its youth support groups and HIV/AIDS services.
"As we honor the 50th anniversary of our movement, let me welcome you to the official West Palm Beach version of the launch party of New York City World Pride," announced Compass Executive Director Julie Seaver. "We do have much to celebrate, but we cannot forget that our pride is born out of activism, and our pride is rooted in our community and its resilience and ability to protect and uplift one another. So that is why we're here tonight. It's a party, but it's a party with a purpose.”
One of those purposes was to recognize active members of South Florida’s LGBT community. Pete Stewart from the Palm Beach County School District received the second-ever Michael Brown Memorial Faces of the Community Award and retired County Commissioner Paulette Burdick was honored with the Compass Leadership Award. The Stonewall Ball saw 19 local elected officials including Lake Worth Beach Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso, and Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant.
Throughout the evening, guests were encouraged to participate in a silent auction, which fundraised for Compass. Several note-worthy prizes included a two night stay at The Colony Hotel valued at $2,100, a six night Caribbean Cruise from Celebrity Cruise valued at $4,000, and super chic Prada sunglasses from Mittleman Eye valued at $600. Several local businesses donated items to support the auction.
Celebrity host Randy Fenoli from TLC's "Say Yes To the Dress" carried VIPs through the night while hosting the group’s reception.
There were several gold blazers, black and white cocktail ensembles, and endless red carpet style dresses. To recognize 50 years of the Stonewall Ball, Compass curated a gold theme for the evening that included centerpieces and gold sequin tablecloths.
Drag queens of Palm Beach County performed throughout the night, including Velvet Lenore, Melissa St. John, Rianna Petrone, and Miss Palm Beach Pride Kataleya Davenport Dupree
"I feel magical," said Tyreisha Jones, Palm Beach County resident and performer. "I can be my true self and I feel equal along everyone that is here. It feels good to feel welcomed and respected.”