Largest crowd ever expected
Compass, the gay and lesbian community center of Palm Beach County, will host its 14th Annual Stonewall Ball Black and White Party on June 27. The Ball honors 44 years of accomplishments of the LGBT rights movement.
The event takes place at the Harriet Himmel Theatre CityPlace, 600 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach. VIP reception begins at 7:30 p.m., while general admission will start at 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door, and VIP reception with admission is $75.
The Stonewall Ball was created in 2002 as a way to pay tribute to the Stonewall Riots that began the last weekend in June of 1969 in New York City. These riots mark the beginning of the LGBT civil rights movement.
The Ball is considered a targeted outreach event aimed toward decision makers, such as organization leaders and appointed and elected officials, and the people who speak, walk, vote or donate to support them. It is one of the only events in the county that brings the LGBT community together with their elected officials.
“It is a fun way to enjoy the evening for everyone,” said Jimmy Zoellner, Compass’ Development Director. “You can meet your elected officials and maybe make business connections or just come to meet old friends, make new friends, dance and party in one of the coolest spaces in Palm Beach County that has been transformed by International Party Designer, Bruce Sutka of Sutra Productions.”
This year organizers are expecting 1,200 to 1,500 attendees. The ball features a silent auction and dancing and Compass encourages casual, cocktail and costumed attire, black and white themed.
“Silent auctions are a fun part of the evening! Hosting a silent auction helps to fund the evening as well as other Compass programming,” Zoellner said. “It is also an amazing way for our Compass Pride Business Alliance Members as well as other establishments to show their support and appreciation of Compass and the entire LGBTQ community.”
Each year at the event, Compass presents the Leadership Award to an elected or appointed official who has demonstrated a commitment to honoring and forwarding social justice initiatives that are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Senator Jeff Clemens will be this year’s recipient.
Additionally, this year’s recipient of the Michael Brown Faces of the Community Award is Debbie Frazier. The award was established in 2008 to recognize an outstanding community member whose dedication to grassroots organizing promotes LGBT pride, diversity and public awareness.
When asked what Compass hopes to achieve with this year’s Ball, Zoellner said “we want everyone to enjoy an amazing evening but at the same time remember why we are here; to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of NYC in June of 1969, remembrance of our family and friends that we lost to AIDS, and the continued importance of HIV Prevention and awareness for our entire community – especially since the event falls on National HIV Testing Day this year.”