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LGBT groups evacuate buildings in bomb threat

D.C. police alerted to threat by Los Angeles police; buildings declared safe

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NGLTF, bomb threat, Metro DC Police, gay news, Washington Blade

Employees of several LGBT organizations sharing a Massachusetts Ave. building with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force were evacuated Tuesday afternoon as police inspected the building for bombs. (Washington Blade photo by Phil Reese)

Employees working for at least 11 national LGBT organizations in Washington evacuated the two buildings in which they are housed late Tuesday morning after D.C. police informed them of a possible bomb threat.

HRC, bomb threat, gay news, Washington Blade

HRC employees were allowed back into their offices after police declared the building safe this afternoon. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said special police personnel with bomb sniffing dogs walked through the HRC building before informing HRC the building was safe a little over an hour later.

Cole-Schwartz said D.C. police told HRC that they received an alert about the possible bomb threat from Los Angeles police.

“Early this morning about 8 O’clock [11 a.m. east coast time] our LAPD 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a caller who stated he was going to blow up the LGBT building in Washington, D.C.,” L.A. police said in a statement released late Tuesday.

“LAPD immediately made notification to law enforcement officials in Washington, D.C. to advise them of the possible threat,” the statement says. “We also immediately launched an investigation here into the threat since it appeared to have been generated by a local pay phone.”

HRC is located in its own office building at 1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and eight other LGBT groups, including the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Stonewall Democrats, were similarly advised by D.C. police to evacuate the office building in which they rent office space at 1325 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., according to Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE.

“We were given the all clear signal a short time later,” Keisling said. “It was a matter of being extra cautious.”

Other LGBT groups located in that building include the National Black Justice Coalition, Immigration Equality, Out for Work, and the National Coalition for LGBT Health.

At the request of D.C. police, employees with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce also evacuated their offices at 729 15th St., N.W.

Laura Berry, a spokesperson for the NGLCC, said police told her organization they received information of a possible threat against a national LGBT group and they were checking various buildings of LGBT groups in response to the threat.

Cole-Schwartz said D.C. police told HRC they were alerted to a possible threat against a “national gay rights organization” from the Los Angeles Police Department. He said D.C. police did not provide further details on how L.A. police were alerted to the possible threat.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, another prominent national LGBT group in Washington, was not contacted by police to evacuate its offices, which are located on 15th Street, N.W., said Victory Fund spokesperson Denis Dison.

Dison said the Victory Fund learned of the evacuation by the other groups through an email alert and contacted D.C. police to determine whether it should be concerned over a possible threat. He said police didn’t believe the Victory Fund was being targeted.

A D.C. police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said as a measure of extra precaution, D.C. police officials arranged for a brief evacuation of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit headquarters at Dupont Circle. The GLLU offices, which are part of the SunTrust Bank building, were searched and quickly found to be safe, the source said.

The evacuation of the HRC building, located at 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, resulted in backed up traffic after police temporarily closed part of 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. brian

    May 16, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Domestic terrorism can be an anti-LGBT hate crime, too. Let’s hope authorities bring the perp(s) to swift justice.

    Deterrence is one of the objectives of prosecuting hate crimes. It can not be a good thing if the nation’s capital is perceived as “soft” on prosecuting anti-LGBT hate crimes.

    If USAO-DC does not have sufficient resources (time, staff and money) to adequately prosecute anti-LGBT hate crimes in DC, then we should lobby USDOJ and the White House to get those resources to USAO-DC.

  2. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    May 16, 2012 at 7:03 am

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN “GAY” RADICALS PUSH AN UNWANTED AGENDA “DOWN THE THROAT” OF THE DISAPPROVING PUBLIC. IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THIS BOMB SCARE CAME AFTER THE PRESIDENT’S ACCEPTANCE OF “GAY” MARRIAGE. PEOPLE ARE ANGRY – THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE. UNTIL THE “GAY-RIGHTS” ISSUE IS RESOLVED [AT LEAST], EVENTS LIKE THIS MAY CONTINUE IN THE FUTURE.
    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    • Amber Thompson

      May 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      You mean you are a sympathizer of the terrorists, this makes you a terrorist too.

    • WalterPC

      May 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Well now, this is an excellent example of blaming the victim. Isn’t it funny, Christopher Allen Horton, that you in no way blame the violent extremists who are behind this, or try and distance yourself from them. Is it possible that you support violence against LGBT people?

    • Skyline

      May 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

      So, it’s the fault of the victims of discrimination, not the fault of the criminal who made the phone call? Get real.

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2021 Best of LGBTQ DC Readers’ Choice Award Finalist Voting

Vote for your favorite finalist in our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 3rd.

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It is Decision 2021! You nominated and now we have our Top 5 finalists. Vote for your favorites in our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 3rd. Our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ DC Awards Party on October 21st and our special issue will come out on Friday, October 22nd.

Thank you to our sponsors: ABSOLUT, PEPCO, Washington Regional Transplant Community.

Vote below or by clicking HERE.

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Veteran restauranteurs to open Drift in Rehoboth

Second Block Hospitality eyes 2022 debut for new raw bar

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A new raw bar is coming to Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Despite the generally anti-business positions of the current Rehoboth Beach Mayor and some members of the Rehoboth Beach Commission, there are still some entrepreneurs who have faith in Rehoboth Beach.

One such group is the newly announced Second Block Hospitality Group, which brings together local industry leaders Lion Gardner, Tyler Townsend, Bob Suppies, and David Gonce.

According to the partners, “The mission of Second Block Hospitality is simple…to deliver exceptional hospitality. Second Block projects will be designed to become places that matter; that bring the community together. They aim to create unique spaces that foster positivity, a creative atmosphere, and memorable experiences. Driven by this philosophy we are thoughtful in everything we do, down to the smallest detail. In all our endeavors we are committed to crafting unique guest experiences through innovative design, authentic flavors, and warm hospitality.”

Their first new venture, Drift, will be a raw bar and dining room on Baltimore Avenue. The new project, already underway, is a massive restoration designed to transform the existing building, originally built in 1890 and used as a camp meeting house, into a modern structure with historic charm. Drift restaurant will feature a refined design, open airy spaces and lots of glass for open vantage points with an indoor/outdoor bar area and intimate back patio that will add to the allure of Baltimore Avenue.

“We could not be more excited to be breaking ground on another passion project,” said Suppies. “Coming through the last year brought many new challenges to our industry, but we were able to get very creative and grow as a company, so this new venture is very exciting for us.”

Another of the partners, Gardner, brings his skill set as a longtime chef to the new venture.

“One of my roles in the company will be to oversee the menu and kitchen at Drift and all of our projects moving forward,” Gardner said. “The great thing about our ownership group is that even though each partner has his own area of expertise, there is collaboration across the board; we are all involved in all aspects of the business. I am excited to learn and contribute in other areas as well, and luckily for me I’m working with a group of really talented, experienced and passionate guys.”

Drift is slated to open sometime in early 2022, and things are in full swing for the new restaurant owners, including menu planning. Townsend said, “Drift will be a true raw bar focusing on the art of raw seafood and not just oysters, along with traditionally prepared dishes influenced by the sea. From a beverage standpoint we will feature craft cocktails and eccentric wine and beer offerings. Think small and intimate, rustic and classic, yet casual with a focus on culinary inventiveness and creative spaces.” and good times. For more information visit driftrb.com.

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McAuliffe participates in Virginia Pride roundtable

Gubernatorial candidate highlighted plans to keep Va. ‘open and welcoming’

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(Washington Blade photo by Lee Whitman)

Terry McAuliffe on Monday met with Virginia Pride in Richmond to discuss his plans to keep the state “open and welcoming” for the LGBTQ community.

“Great opportunity to speak with @VA_Pride in Richmond this AM,” McAuliffe tweeted following the roundtable that took place at Diversity Richmond’s headquarters. “VA is the #1 state for business because we are open and welcoming — but that’s all at risk this November. Glenn Youngkin’s far-right social agenda would harm LGBTQ+ Virginians and send our economy into a ditch.”

McAuliffe and Youngkin are running a close race for the governorship, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Saturday that shows the former Virginia governor leading by a 50-47 percent margin among likely voters.

The Human Rights Campaign endorsed McAuliffe, who was governor from 2014-2018, for his record of supporting LGBTQ rights, including supporting marriage equality and signing an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ state employees as his first action in office. 

“LGBTQ leaders in Richmond had a great meeting with Gov. McAuliffe where he was able to lay out his agenda for building on the tremendous progress Virginia has made towards equality,” said Virginia Pride Program Director James Millner in an email to the Washington Blade. “The governor talked extensively about his record on LGBTQ issues and promised to work with us to ensure that every LGBTQ Virginian is able to live openly and authentically.”

McAuliffe’s legacy includes welcoming businesses turned off by North Carolina’s passage of its anti-transgender “bathroom bill.” 

When North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law requiring students to use public restrooms and locker rooms aligned with the gender on their birth certificates, took effect in 2016, McAullife recruited CoStar, a real estate information company that operates databases for Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com and similar companies, to move its headquarters to Richmond. This recruitment brought 730 jobs to the state.

David Dorsch, a senior vice president at Cushman and Wakefield, which represented CoStar nationally, told the Charlotte Business Journal that CoStar’s primary reason for choosing “Richmond over Charlotte was HB 2.”

Youngkin is a former business executive who previously ran the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm named by the HRC in 2019 as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index. HRC, however, has called out Youngkin for “anti-LGBTQ and transphobic language” during his current campaign.

McAuliffe in April released an LGBTQ rights platform that includes a call to repeal the so-called “conscience clause,” which allows religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Governor Ralph Northam, who was McAuliffe’s former lieutenant governor and has signed historic LGBTQ-inclusive legislation during his time in office, also endorsed McAuliffe for governor.

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