Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks during Monday’s LGBT Pride Month Reception at City Hall.
About 50 people attended Dallas’ first-ever official LGBT Pride Month Reception at City Hall on Monday afternoon.
Mayor Mike Rawlings was among six council members who appeared at the event, organized by Councilwoman Delia Jasso and her LGBT task force.
Standing before a Pride flag draped from the wall of the Flag Room on the sixth floor, Rawlings spoke briefly at the start of the reception and drew cheers when he pledged to have “open doors” to the community.
“I met many of you during the campaign,” Rawlings said. “Some of you were supporting me, others were not. But I’ll tell you this: I knew that this was a fabulous community that I wanted to partner with when I became mayor. Thank you for what you have done for this city.”
Prior to the reception, Rawlings told Instant Tea he has no hard feelings about the fact that both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance endorsed his opponents in the election — with DGLA even issuing a rare warning against him.
“Not at all,” Rawlings said. “We must all have a spirit of understanding. I don’t have anything like that [hard feelings].”
Rawlings didn’t specifically mention the LGBT community during his inauguration address at the Meyerson Symphony Center earlier in the day. But at the Pride reception, he told attendees that the community fits with the major themes he outlined in the speech: becoming a city of diversity, opportunity and excellence.
“As far as I’m concerned, you are right on with my plan, and I want to be right on with yours, and so we will continue to talk, and I am just pleased that we are here to honor gay and lesbian Pride Month in the city of Dallas,” Rawlings said.
UPDATE: Rawlings said the following in an email shortly after we posted this: “I’ll plan to be there unless [secretary] Sandy [Nelson] tells me I have a conflict. She will put it on my calendar.”
It remains unclear whether Mayor-elect Mike Rawlings will attend an LGBT Pride Month Reception at Dallas City Hall on Monday afternoon.
A press release announcing the reception sent out by the city on Wednesday indicates that Rawlings will be there. However, Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who organized the reception, said this morning that Rawlings hasn’t confirmed his attendance.
“I would list him as invited,” Jasso said, adding that she’s confident he’ll attend.
On Wednesday, Rawlings said in an email to Dallas Voice that he will “try to be there.”
“It’s not on my calendar right now but I will try to be there when I find the details,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings didn’t respond to a follow-up email providing details of the Pride Reception. He also didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail left on his cell phone this morning.
The Pride Reception would be Rawlings first LGBT event as mayor, and his attendance could be an indicator that he’s willing to mend fences with the two LGBT groups that endorsed his opponents in the election. During the reception, Jasso will present a Pride Month proclamation to the LGBT task force she created, which includes leaders from the the two groups, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.
Jasso said Monday’s Pride Reception, the first of its kind, will take place immediately after a post-inauguration photo session for council members in the same location, the Flag Room on the sixth floor.
“It’s as convenient as it can be for any council person to stay,” she said.
Jasso is hosting the reception along with Councilwoman Angela Hunt and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano.
Jasso said all current council members have been invited, but only Jerry Allen has confirmed he’ll be there. Jasso said she also plans to contact new council members who’ll be sworn in Monday to invite them.
Others listed on the city press release as attending are City Manager Mary Suhm, Assistant Chief of Police Vincent Golbeck and Assistant Chief of Dallas Fire Rescue Debra Carlin. Jasso said the police and fire chiefs had prior commitments.
“A special ceremony will be held at Dallas City Hall in recognition of June LGBT Pride Month,” the press release states. “The ceremony is to recognize June 28, 1969 as a historic turning point for LGBT’s struggle for equality.”
The event is open to the public and begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Flag Room, on the sixth floor of City Hall at 1500 Marilla.
Dallas city leaders will host what is believed to be the first-ever official LGBT Pride Month reception in the Flag Room at City Hall next week.
District 1 Councilwoman Delia Jasso organized the reception with the help of the LGBT task force she created after first being elected two years ago.
Jasso said she will read an LGBT Pride Proclamation from the city and present it to the task force during the reception, which is open to the public and will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday. Jasso is hosting the event along with District 14 Councilwoman Angela Hunt and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, who represents District 2.
City Manager Mary Suhm, Fire-Rescue Chief Eddie Burns and Police Chief David Brown are expected to attend, Jasso said. She also plans to invite Mayor-elect Mike Rawlings. The Pride Reception will take place on the same day a new mayor and council members are sworn in, so it’s likely others will be there as well.
“I think it’s the first time,” Jasso said. “I have no idea why it’s never been done before, but the task force took it upon themselves.
“It’s an important day in the gay community, and we wanted to be sure we did something for it,” she added, referring to the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, June 28.
Jasso said a banner marking LGBT Pride Month has been on display in the lobby of City Hall since June 1.
Beginning next year, she hopes the city can fly the LGBT Pride flag outside the building for the entire month. This year, organizers didn’t have time to obtain a flag large enough and determine the necessary steps for approval.
“The next step is to see what it would take to fly the flag next year,” Jasso said.
I just got off the phone with District 1 Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who was kind enough to step outside and call me during the City Council’s still ongoing budget briefing. Jasso reported that the council has voted down an amendment from Angela Hunt that would have reinstated $250,000 that has been cut from the budget for HIV/AIDS services.
Jasso said the amendment was defeated by a vote of 9-6 in a straw poll, over concerns that the funding source — collection of delinquent multi-tenant inspection fees — doesn’t really exist. Jasso said the amendment was supported by herself, Hunt, Pauline Medrano, Carolyn Davis, Linda Koop and Steve Salazar. Jasso added that a majority of the council supports the HIV/AIDS programs themselves, just not the proposed funding mechanism for Hunt’s amendment. She said councilmembers have directed City Manager Mary Suhm to identify another, more reliable funding source. Jasso said the city has also applied for two grants, totalling $500,000, to fund HIV/AIDS education and prevention. The council is expected to finalize the 2009-10 budget Sept. 23.
“We’ll find something out next week, but it is an ongoing thing in terms of how she [Suhm] can reprogram some money,” Jasso said. “It may be that we don’t get anything until January and it goes without for a few months.”
There’s no word on how a delay in funding would affect the HIV/AIDS programs at places like AIDS Interfaith Network and Resource Center Dallas, given that a large portion of the money is used to pay staff members’ salaries.