BUSINESS NEWS: GLBT Chamber celebrates 10th anniversary

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 at 1:14pm

Tony Vedda

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 10th anniversary on Friday night, April 24, with its Celebration of Excellence Dinner, held at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.

Chamber officials presented a number of awards during the dinner, including presenting Mark Arthur Shekter with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shekter owns Surrealty Corporation, a real estate agency, and Graphic+Design+Group+International. He is known for his work as an architectural and interior designer, but he is also known for his years of volunteer work in Dallas’ LGBT community. Shekter founded Meals on the Move, or MOM, which for several years delivered meals to people with HIV.

Other individuals recognized for their contributions to the community were Capt. Kathi Durst, chief pilot for American Airlines; Andy Smith, executive director of the Texas Instruments Foundation; Roger Thomson, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Brinker International; and Zack Hicks, chief information officer for Toyota Motors North America.

The 2014 Business Excellence Awards were also presented at the event. Business of the Year honors went to Liberty Burger, founded by Mariel Street and sponsored by Prudential Financial. The Extra Mile Award went to Pride Pharmacy, led by President John Shero and sponsored by American Airlines. The Community Impact Award went to ilume Management Services, led by President Luke Crosland and sponsored by Raytheon.

The Corporate Ally Award went to Haynes & Boonem LLC, with Theo Foster as LGBT diversity chair. Det. Christopher Gorrie of the Fort Worth Police Department, sponsored by Allied Stone, won the Emerging Leader Award. Robin Pulford with American Airlines accepted the Supplier Diversity Award, sponsored by Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. And the Member Service Award with TravelOUT owner Michael Henshaw, sponsored by Pride Pharmacy.

In the final award presentation of the evening, chamber Chairman Larry Paschall named the chamber’s president and CEO, Tony Vedda, as winner of the Chairman’s Award.


Two ways to help with Nepal disaster relief

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 at 10:38am
Shannon Haiti

Shannon Shepard, left, in Haiti in 2011 building houses with Habitat for Humanity

Over the weekend, an earthquake hit Nepal and at least 3,600 are believed dead at this time.

Here’s a way to help.

Shannon “Shep” Shepard is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. He’s done a number of local builds in the U.S. and spent time in Haiti after their earthquake on a build with Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. When he lived in Dallas, Shep was a member of Congregation Beth El Binah, a volunteer at Ranch Hand Rescue and a producer of Robert Camina’s film Raid of the Rainbow Lounge.

Shep works for Microsoft and was transferred several years ago from the Irving office to Seattle. His fundraising page indicates he’s still raising the $5,000 to participate in this build. He told me this morning he’s already paid for his trip and anything raised now will go directly to Habitat for Humanity to help with immediate needs.

His trip is scheduled for Nov. 1 when there will still be a need for housing. Recovery from a devastating disaster takes years. Obviously, with the current situation, the need for housing has suddenly grown exponentially. I can think of no other organization better prepared to provide housing than Habitat for Humanity.

Shep has been working on raising money for this build for over a year. I know him personally, and I know that he funds the cost of his trips himself. His volunteer work helps give people their lives back.

By the way, he’d hate this kind of coverage, which is why I’m not telling him I’m making this appeal until after it’s out there.

Here’s another suggestion for donating to Nepal disaster relief:

An LGBT organization that will get your money directly to those doing relief work is The Rainbow Fund. Founded in 2000, Rainbow World Fund is the world’s first and only all-volunteer, LGBT-based humanitarian aid organization. All money donated to The Rainbow Fund goes directly toward relief work and no money toward administrative costs.


This is why marriage equality matters

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 4:30pm

Here’s a video from the Liberty Education Forum. Nothing else needs to be said.


Ted Cruz: I still hate gays, and here are 2 bills to prove it

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 3:34pm
Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Declared 2016 presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in his ever-vigilant efforts to save the United States from the horrors of marriage equality, has filed two pieces of legislation to protect states’ ability to discriminate against LGBT citizens. The bills are intended, obviously, as an end-run around the U.S. Supreme Court, which will be hearing oral arguments in four marriage equality cases next Tuesday (April 28), and which is expected to rule sometime in June, likely in favor of marriage equality.

One of Cruz’s bills would establish a constitutional amendment shielding states that define marriage as between one woman and one man from legal action, according to Bloomberg News. The second would ban federal courts from weighing in on the issue again until such an amendment is adopted.

Cruz, a Tea Party darling here at home in Texas, is trying to “broaden his appeal to evangelical voters in early voting states, namely Iowa, by sending a message to the court,” Bloomberg News suggested. The newspaper also notes that Cruz’s anti-equality marriage bills would face “solid opposition” in the U.S. Senate, but that his intent is “to force his competitors [in the 2016 Republican primaries] to keep the issue alive even if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.”

Or perhaps, this was just part of his effort to reaffirm his anti-gay credentials after attending a fundraiser Monday night (April 20) in Manhattan at the home of gay, white, rich real estate developers Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, owners of Parkview Developers. That event, he claimed, proves he is “’a big tent Republican’ instead of a panderer.” He issued his statement making sure everybody knows he is an anti-gay bigot who opposes marriage equality just a couple of hours before introducing his two bills.

Earlier this month, on his first trip to Iowa as a declared presidential candidate, Cruz declared that any Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality nationwide would be “fundamentally illegitimate.”

Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee filed similar legislation last year, but those bills died when the session ended.

Just in case anybody wants to send good ol’ Ted a note to let him know what you think of his bills, click here.


About one in six married same-sex couples’ state doesn’t recognize their marriage

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 11:34am

Same-sex couplesThe number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has tripled in the last year, according to a new poll by the Williams Institute’s research director Gary Gates and Gallup’s editor in chief Frank Newport.

The new estimate suggests that 390,000 out of nearly 1 million same-sex couples are married. Estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey had the figure at 130,000.

While there’s no way to know exactly how many same-sex couples there are in the U.S., the research suggests about one in six married same-sex couples live in states that currently don’t recognize their marriage. Only 12 states do not offer marriage equality and do not recognize out of state marriages. Missouri recognizes marriages but on St. Louis and Kansas City perform them.


ADL leader to speak at Beth El Binah at Resource Center

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 10:53am

Roberta Clark

Roberta Clark, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League for North Texas and Oklahoma, will speak at Congregation Beth El Binah shabbat service, which takes place at Resource Center, 2701 Reagan St. at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Friday, April 24). Clark’s topic will be Rules, Civil Rights, and Jewish Values.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now national civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

Throughout her ADL career, Clark has developed and implemented the first Interfaith Security Conferences for the Florida and Austin ADL offices; has trained well over 1,000 law enforcement professionals in ADL resources and programs as well as worked closely with them on cases concerning hate groups, extremism and terrorism; worked with dozens of educational institutions and school districts to successfully negotiate church/state issues and to provide trainings in the areas of bullying and cyberbullying; and provided guidance and assistance to community members who believe they have been the victims of discrimination and/or hate crimes.

Clark came to the ADL Dallas office as an Associate Regional Director in September 2008, was appointed Community Director in January 2012 and Regional Director in July 2014.

Everyone is welcome.


Outrageous Oral 15

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 10:10am

Four story tellers added to The Dallas Way’s history project as they told their stories at S4 last night (Thursday, April 23).

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who has been in office for more than a decade, talked about what it was like to become the country’s only Hispanic lesbian sheriff.

Former Dallas city Councilman Ed Oakley talked about his run for mayor and how the media (not us) sabotaged his campaign.

Kathy Bowser told her story of going from nun to lesbian fundraiser to pastor at Celebration on the Lake church in Payne Springs on Cedar Creek Lake.

Finally, Mark Shekter told funny stories about his years of fundraising for dozens of LGBT groups over the years and documented a group he created, Meals on the Move — MOM, which was the first group to provide daily meals at home for hundreds of people living with AIDS.

Steve Atkinson was Master of Ceremonies and Kay Wilkinson begged, pleaded and scrounged for money to help The Dallas Way continue its work documenting the LGBT community’s history. A fundraiser will be held on May 27 at the Rose Room in S4 with a special edition of Outrageous Oral documenting drag in Dallas.


Staff writer James Russell on the Funkytownpodcast this Sunday

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 9:43am

10665302_416813328465635_8970774519307121026_nI’ll be the featured guest at 8 p.m. this Sunday, April 26 on the Funkytownpodcast. The weekly podcast, hosted by Jeffrey Lord with assistance from Zach Zeintech, features interviews with a wide variety of Fort Worth’s creative types.

Props to a buddy of mine, Fort Worth freelance writer Eddie Brown, who told Lord it’d be a good idea to host me.

I have an hour to an hour and a half to talk about myself. Besides my work on the “AIDS, drag queens and hate crimes” beat (otherwise known as the LGBT beat), I haven’t decided what I’ll exactly discuss just yet. But — shameless plug ahead — I imagine talking about attending a college that closed or being a Quaker or writing a crazy personal essay may, along with describing what it’s like to be on the Sen. Konni Burton beat, may take up a good chunk of time. Or maybe I’ll just stick to talking about the Imperial Court.

Regardless, I hope you’ll listen to the show on Sunday or if not, later in their archives.


Cox named one of ‘Five Kickass Women’ by Dallas Observer

Posted on 23 Apr 2015 at 4:52pm

Looking presidential in her blue pantsuit, Cece Cox kicks off her presidential campaign

In response to that woman from Dallas who’s the self-proclaimed CEO who thinks women shouldn’t be president because of, you know, hormones, the Dallas Observer named “Five Kickass Women Who Could Totally Be President.”

Not on the list is the woman CEO who has a company of 1 who thinks women shouldn’t be president because of hormones.

However, topping the Dallas Observer’s list is Cece Cox, CEO of Resource Center, who is unconcerned with hormones. Great choice.

Among her credentials, Cox wore a blue pantsuit to Resource Center’s groundbreaking ceremony earlier today. Her exploratory committee took hours today to study whether she should run for president. Cox agreed this morning that, if elected, I’d be her press secretary. Sorry Rafael, Resource Center’s current press secretary, but I drive a hard bargain. To keep me from jumping from Team Cox to Angela’s Angels, I needed a quick commitment.

Second on the list is Angela Hunt. Best known as a thorn in Mayor Mike Rawlings’ side when she served as District 14 councilwoman, Hunt singlehandedly stood in the way of bulldozers and stopped the Trinity Toll Road from being built. The Angela Hunt Hill Bridge that crosses the Mighty Trin is the city’s lasting memorial to her service to the city.

Another great choice of a Dallas woman who could totally be president is Catherine Cuellar. You probably know her best from her KERA days, but today she’s CEO of the Dallas Arts District. That means she’s the boss of art, sculpture, symphony, chorale, ballet, theater and lots of parking spaces. Catherine, I can still be bought. Secretary of State?

The final choices are Matrice Ellis-Kirk, who has been Dallas’ first lady, and Charlotte Jones-Anderson, who chairs the NFL Foundation. I’m sure Ms. Jones-Anderson is a great choice, but I’m not sure what to think of a former first lady running for president.


Resource Center breaks ground for new building

Posted on 23 Apr 2015 at 12:23pm

County Judge Clay Jenkins, Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Dallas City Council members Adam Medrano and Jennifer Gates helped Resource Center officials break ground for the new Resource Center facility at 5714 Cedar Springs Road at 10:30 a.m. this morning (Thursday, April 23). Current and past board members gathered along with representatives of many of the groups that meet at Resource Center. Among the early board members who attended were Bruce Monroe, Deb Elder and Ron Allen. Omar Narvaez was representing Dallas County Schools as a Trustee.

Resource Center CEO announced the capital campaign is 28 percent away from its goal with about $2.5 million left to raise over the next year.

Rain threatened but mostly held out through the ceremony that included leaders of more than half a dozen groups that have used Resource Center through the years for meetings, religious services, support groups and as a source of legal information.

Once the new building is completed, the old buildings at 2701 Reagan St. will be renovated as offices.

The new building is adjacent to Cathedral of Hope.