There are five contenders for Broward’s Best New LGBT Activist award.
They are Howard Andrew, Mario Campos, Elijah Manley, Josie Smith-Malave and Alfredo Olvera.
Andrew is the owner of FabScout, an adult entertainment company. During the coronavirus pandemic, Andrew partnered with another business — Pink Sub — to provide meals for unemployed service workers.
“Howard is one of my dearest friends, he’s family,” said Pink Sub owner Dawn Holloway. “He’s just an amazing man. He’s always there to help, which I can’t say about a lot of people. He’s always there.”
Before emigrating from El Salvador, Campos was crowned as Miss Gay El Salvador. The 25-year-old has developed different projects to empower the Salvadorian LGBT community. Stephen Fallon, PhD., the Executive Director of Latinos Salud, notes Campos led a legislative initiative demanding fair treatment and equal employment opportunity for the LGBT community in the Central American country.
In 2019, Campos was selected by the U.S. Department of Health for a youth fellowship at the national convention for HIV. In 2020, the president of El Salvador awarded him the recognition of "Young Influencer El Salvador 2020."
Today, as a test counselor at Latinos Salud, Campos provides counseling services and support to undocumented people recently diagnosed with HIV.
Manley is a 21-year-old Black queer activist who has campaigned for the Broward School Board and Florida House of Representatives. His campaign for school board — following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — received 43,009 votes and drew the attention of safety and education advocates.
“I supported him very strongly when he did that,” said Kathleen M. Bonczyk, Esq., of the Workplace Violence Prevention Institute. “Elijah understands what needs to be done to prevent tragedies.”
Smith-Malave is a chef and restaurateur currently campaigning for Mayor of Wilton Manors. She has appeared on four seasons of the Bravo television show “Top Chef.” She is a host on “It’s Happening Out,” a local queer television show.
In a post on Facebook, Chef Josie supporter Angie Oz said this: “EVERY DAY presents a new challenge, and this moment requires BOLD leadership, COURAGE and COMMITMENT to SOLUTION. Josie Smith-Malave creates RESULTS we need NOW so vote for her this upcoming election as your 2020 mayor for Wilton Manors!”
Olvera is the president of the Dolphin Democrats, Florida’s oldest LGBT political organization. A realtor from Ecuador, Olvera insists he has rebuilt the Dolphins into a viable organization again and has tangled with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis about direction. Nik Harris, the Dolphins’ vice president, had nothing but praise for Olvera.
“I couldn’t be prouder to follow someone,” said Harris, LGBT consumer advocate at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Alfredo is a powerful leader with a unique lived experience that helps him connect with many different communities. He was raised by powerful Latin women who taught him the importance of listening and following and he knows when to speak up and knows when to fall back and let others speak. He has created spaces at the table for marginalized communities when no space was available.”
So there you have it, five qualified candidates. One to be crowned Broward’s best new LGBT activist. Voters have until Oct. 8 to cast their ballots.
Vote here: SFGN.com/BestOf