MAX DISPOSTI HONORED BY LOCAL NAACP CHAPTER
North County LGBTQ Resource Center Executive Director Max Disposti was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Award by the North San Diego County NAACP at a ceremony held Monday, Jan. 21. The award acknowledges outstanding civic leaders in the community, and is handed out at the NAACP’s annual community prayer breakfast. “This recognition is more than a personal achievement, it acknowledges the existence of our North County LGBT families,” Disposti said. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in our North County region.” Disposti founded the North County LGBT Coalition in 2008, which led to the current Resource Center. The organization opened a permanent location in 2011, serving all LGBT individuals and allies in North County. “There are so many people in our community that are dedicating personal time and resources in helping others,” Disposti said, “but many of these local heroes … are also LGBT people that often struggle to get their families and loved ones recognized and protected. Despite that, I believe change becomes possible everywhere, from the remote Africa villages where being gay is a death sentence to the heart of our communities, where persistence [and] perseverance, but also compassion for others, can make … a better quality of life a possibility.” Disposti also serves on the board of the Advancing Compassion Project and Main Street Oceanside.
CESCaL CONFERENCE DATES SET
Organizers from the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL) announced the dates of this year’s National Educator Conference, to be held at the Doubletree San Diego in Mission Valley. Now in its fourth year, the CESCaL conference, called Supporting Students – Saving Lives, will be held Feb. 15 – 17. The educator’s conference brings together national leaders in education and LGBT experts to provide the tools necessary for creating a safe and inclusive school environment for all youth. “It is important that school districts take preventative measures to ensure that LGBT students feel safe and that we do not have another teen death by suicide due to anti-LGBT bullying,” said Conference Project Director and Chair Vincent Pompei in the announcement. “It is imperative that we continue to train, encourage and empower educators, counselors, coaches and the entire community to ensure that all of our children are protected from the types of vicious bullying that could lead any young person to drop out of school due to safety concerns,” he said. A part of San Diego State University, CESCaL provides the only national conference focusing on LGBT youth. This year’s speakers include, among others, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Point Foundation Executive Director Jorge Valencia, and Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer, the parents of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old student who committed suicide. A keynote speaker from the Obama administration will be present at the Friday night awards ceremony, which will honor MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts and Betty DeGeneres. For more information on the conference visit lgbtqia2013.org.
ATKINS INTRODUCES AB 154, EXPANDING SAFE ACCESS TO ABORTION
Introduced Tuesday, Jan. 22 by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, AB 154 would broaden the types of health professionals permitted to provide abortion services in the first trimester of pregnancy. Responding to a shortage of health care professionals providing this procedure, a press release stated, the bill includes nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physicians’ assistants. “As a former health care administrator in women’s clinics, I know from first-hand experience that safe and ready access to abortion procedures makes all the difference in the world in women’s lives,” Atkins said in the release. Barriers to safe care in rural areas in particular have been created by a lack of professionals who are able to perform abortions, and expanding this number will reduce the pressure on the health care system, resulting in “improved heath and well-being for women” and families, the release stated. “I am pleased to introduce legislation that will increase the number of trained professionals who are permitted to perform early abortions and I look forward to discussing the bill with my colleagues as the bill moves through the legislative process.” AB 154 is sponsored by the California Women’s Health Alliance.
LESLEE EVANS RECEIVES L.I.O.N. AWARD FOR RESTORED CRAFTSMAN
Following a talk by Mayor Bob Filner, the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) handed out a Let’s Improve Our Neighborhood (L.I.O.N.) award to Leslee Evans for her work restoring the Craftsman building at 3734 Sixth Ave. Evans, who owns the Creative Futons and Furniture store in North Park, opened this second location in Hillcrest after years of renovation. “Every detail, for two and a half years, has been thought through,” Evans said when accepting the award at the Jan. 8 HTC meeting. “There’s not one thing I didn’t touch in that house – not one – down to the custom-made stained glass … chandeliers. It’s amazing.” HTC Chair Luke Terpstra said he thought the building was going to be demolished before Evans took over, and encouraged people to stop by and look at the renovations. “It used to be a run down … encampment for people who didn’t have a home. That was a blighted problem. Leslee moved in there … and turned things around. We want to recognize her for this with a L.I.O.N award,” he said. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new store held Dec. 15, 2012, Evans said she was proud to be able to restore the home. The Hillcrest location will carry items for small homes and apartments, in addition to arts and crafts furniture, lamps and futons. “The history of that house is incredible,” Evans said at the HTC meeting. “It was a church in 1952 and sat empty for over 10 years. … One man owned it and three women. I’m the third woman.”
CONGRESSMEMBER DAVIS ADVOCATES FOR JURY NON-DISCRIMINATION
Congressmember Susan Davis introduced legislation to prohibit a person from being removed from a jury because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Called the Jury Non-Discrimination Act, the legislation is in part motivated by a San Diego Superior Court ruling that prosecutors illegally dismissed jurors in the Equality Nine trial based on real or perceived sexual orientation. “Serving on a jury is one of America’s most cherished civic duties. It is unjust to exclude a particular group of people from participating in civil society because of whom they love or what they look like,” Davis said in a statement. Fourteen cosponsors introduced the act with Davis, and federal law currently prohibits juror discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status. “As we pursue greater equality for all Americans, I believe LGBT Americans should also be free from juror discrimination,” Davis said.
GLBT HISTORIC TASK FORCE LEADS CAMPAIGN FOR LOCAL AIDS MEMORIAL
After leading last year’s successful “Harvey Milk Street” campaign, the San Diego GLBT Historic Task Force will now focus on creating a San Diego AIDS memorial, in part to honor over 7,600 AIDS-related deaths in San Diego County. “It is long overdue that we commemorate and remember their lives, as so many other cities have done across this great nation,” City Commissioner and Task Force member Nicole Murray Ramirez said in a release. Ramirez founded the AIDS Assistance Fund, the first non-profit HIV/AIDS client services agency in the County. The AIDS memorial will be the main focus of the Task Force in 2013, with a coalition created to represent a diverse group from the County. “We will be establishing an AIDS Memorial Coalition to work on this campaign,” Ramirez said. “We have informed Mayor Bob Filner and Council President Todd Gloria of our resolve and commitment to make a San Diego AIDS memorial become a reality.” Early discussion of the memorial, including a permanent location, include a memorial garden in Balboa Park or a memorial wall along the Embarcadero, however all details will be decided on by the new coalition. The Task Force seeks wide community input in the process, as well as private funding and contributions.
CLEAN WATER ACTION CALIFORNIA RECOGNIZES TONI ATKINS
Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins was honored as a Clean Water Champion by Clean Water Action California. “Majority Leader Atkins has shown leadership on issues our members care about,” said Director Miriam Gordon in a press release. “We commend our Clean Water Champions for recognizing that protecting the environment moves California not only toward a more sustainable environment, but also toward greater economic sustainability.” Atkins was one of 13 legislators to receive an “A” on the organization’s scorecard, which tallied votes on 16 bills during the 2011-12 legislative session related to water, environmental justice and pollution prevention, among others. “I am very proud of having been recognized for my commitment to our environment with this award,” Atkins said in the release. “Protecting the water we drink and swim in, the air we breathe, and the health and diversity of our environment are critical to the outstanding way of life we enjoy here in California.”
YOGURT SHOP ROBBERY SUSPECT SOUGHT
Employees at the Hillcrest Golden Spoon yogurt shop were surprised by a man wielding a knife and demanding money on Jan. 8, at 9:30 p.m. San Diego Police Department Robbery Unit detectives are still investigating and are looking for anyone who might have information about the suspect, who was described as a white male with a thin build, approximately 6 to 6 foot 3 inches tall, in his 30’s. He was wearing a green turtleneck pulled up over the lower half of his face and had short, light brown or dark blond hair. He was also wearing jeans and a dark blue jacket. The suspect left the scene with cash from the safe and was walking westbound on University. The robbery was captured on video, and copies are available at the customer service desk of SDPD headquarters on Broadway customer service counter. Anyone with information is asked to contact the San Diego Police Department’s Robbery Unit at 619-531-2299 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.