Harvey Milk Festival Postpones, announces Fundraiser Participation

The 11th annual Harvey Milk Festival’s logo by Sophie McTear Design, courtesy HMF

(WM) The 11th annual Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) has been indefinitely postponed in response to COVID-19.

The festival exists to honor the legacy of Harvey Milk by fostering the arts as a catalyst for social and political change. It was scheduled to welcome a variety of musicians, filmmakers, speakers and other artists to Sarasota May 1 and 7-9.

“We are grateful that our community is working together to stay informed concerning COVID-19,” Founder and Executive Director Shannon Fortner said a statement.  “Harvey Milk Festival prioritizes the health and safety of our community. For this reason, we have postponed all public events scheduled for May 2020.”

The celebration was scheduled to begin May 1 with a Queer & Trans Advocacy discussion and live performance. Its traditional multi-day festival highlighting art, dance and music continued May 7-9 at various venues, welcoming a wide array of entertainers and honoring the festival’s namesake.

Fortner advised that organizers are closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on Sarasota. They will announce rescheduled HMF programming as they are able to do so.

“During times like this we must keep one another safe,” she shared. “We must uplift other community members when they struggle and remember that virtual support services are available. We are a community driven, community focused organization!”

HMF subsequently announced they are participating in the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Giving ChallengeApril 28-29. The 24-hour giving event, held from noon until noon the following day, virtually supports more than 700 nonprofit organizations serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

The challenge exists to connect nonprofits with passionate donors in order to create transformative impact. It began in 2012 and set a new standard in 2018 when more than $11.7 million was raised for area nonprofits in just 24 hours.

“While we are monitoring the evolving situation in our community, the 2020 Giving Challenge is first and foremost an online giving event, and it remains scheduled April 28-29,” the Community Foundation shared. “The 2020 Giving Challenge will be one of several grant-funding tools available to help with our community’s evolving response to the coronavirus pandemic, as the unrestricted funds raised during the Giving Challenge provide our nonprofit partners flexibility to respond to community needs, especially as those needs evolve or change.”

“Thanks to these wonderful people for helping out the local community when we need it most!” HMF shared April 6. “But this is our call to you. We need your help on April 28. Will you be the one to stand beside us?”

For more information about HMF, visit their website. For more information about the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and to donate to its Giving Challenge, click here.