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Strang elected president of GLAA

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Bobbi Strang, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at [email protected].

Bobbi Strang, gay news, Washington Blade

Bobbi Strang (Photo courtesy of Strang)

Congratulations to Bobbi Elaine Strang on her election as President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance. Founded in 1971, GLAA is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of LGBT people in the nation’s capital.

GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council; monitors government agencies; educates and rates local candidates; and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health and equal rights of LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.

Strang previously served on the boards of GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence) and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. Currently she co-facilitates the DC Center’s Job Club and sits on both the boards of the Office of Police Complaints and Metropolitan Community Church. She was awarded the Engendered Spirit Award in 2015 by Capital Trans Pride for her advocacy on transgender issues in D.C.

She holds a master’s degree from Salisbury University and has worked at the D.C. Department of Employment Services since 2012 as the first openly transgender employee of the agency. In her spare time, she composes and performs music with a local punk rock band as a guitarist and vocalist.

Congratulations also to Sarah Lawson, the new staff social worker and therapist at the DC Center. There she works with individuals and groups to provide behavioral health support under the OVSJG grant. This position also oversees the D.C. Anti-Violence Project and engages in community outreach.

Lawson has a wealth of experience, including working as a Health Clinical Intern at Whitman-Walker Health and at Synergy Family Services of Langley Park, Md., as a social work intern. Prior to that she was the manager of grants and social media/contract communications consultant at Safe Shores, The DC Children’s Advocacy Center and as a Development Associate at the New Israel Fund.

She earned her bachelor’s in Journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, and her master’s of Social Work, Clinical Behavioral Health, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has her license as a LGSW.

Sarah Lawson (Photo courtesy of Lawson)

Congratulations also to Renée Rosenfeld who was recently awarded the 2018 Marc A. Levey Award for Distinguished Service to the Producers Guild of America New Media Council during the PGA’s Produced By Conference at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

She has more than two decades of experience in entertainment and strategic communications. She guided the strategic creative development and implementation for the first national broadcast PSA campaign for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, receiving more than 500 million media impressions in less than one year. A native of the District, Rosenfeld returned home to lead the strategy to create and build the AMW Safety Center for America’s Most Wanted, the television show’s brand extension into consumer and family safety. She has developed innovative media, content and communications strategies for the Kellogg Foundation, Phillips Sonicare, Boeing, Justice for Vets, and the Bill Gates led, American Energy Innovation Council, among others.

Prior to creating strategic content, Rosenfeld was a member of the production team for “The West Wing,” “Felicity” and many other theatrical movies and episodic series and worked with JJ Abrams, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Bochco. Having worked with some of the television and movie industry’s most celebrated filmmakers, she brings instinctive perspective and sensibilities to building story and character to create maximum impact.

She has served as Human Services Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood; on the Victory Fund board of directors and co-chair of the Victory Campaign Board; and as National Media adviser for Freedom to Work. She received her bachelor’s in history from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Renée Rosenfeld (Photo courtesy of Rosenfeld)

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District of Columbia

Accused drug dealer charged with fentanyl distribution leading to deaths of two D.C. gay men

June 13 indictment links previously arrested suspect to deaths

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(Bigstock photo)

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for D.C. has announced that federal prosecutors on June 13 obtained an indictment against one of two D.C. brothers previously charged with multiple counts of illegal drug distribution that now charges him with “distributing cocaine and fentanyl” on Dec. 26, 2023, that resulted in the deaths of D.C. gay men Brandon Roman and Robert “Robbie” Barletta.

In a June 13 press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jevaughn ‘Ledo’ Mark, 32, is charged in a new “secondary superseding indictment” linked to the Roman and Barletta deaths. It says he and his brother, Angelo Mark, 30, “previously were charged on April 9 in a 17-count superseding indictment for participating in a conspiracy that distributed large amounts of fentanyl and cocaine in the metropolitan area.”

The press release says Jevaughn Mark is currently being held without bond on charges that include eight counts of unlawful distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin and distributing 40 grams or more of fentanyl between Jan. 10, 2024, and March 13, 2024. According to the press release, the charges were based on six illegal drug purchases from Jevaughn Mark by undercover U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and undercover D.C. police officers.

Court records show that Angelo Mark was charged in a criminal complaint on March 22 with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and is also being held without bond.

D.C. police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services reports show that Roman, 38, a prominent D.C. attorney and LGBTQ rights advocate, and Barletta, 28, a historic preservation expert and home renovation business owner, were found unconscious when police and emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call and arrived at Barletta’s home on Dec. 27. The reports show that Roman was declared deceased at the scene and Barletta was taken to Washington Hospital Center where he died on Dec. 29.

A police spokesperson told the Washington  Blade in February that police were investigating the Roman and Barletta deaths, but investigators had to wait for the D.C. Medical Examiner’s official determination of the cause and manner of death before the investigation could fully proceed.

Both men were patrons at D.C. gay bars and their passing prompted many in the LGBTQ community to call for stepped up prevention services related to drug overdose cases, even though the cause and manner of death for the two men was not officially determined until early April.

In April, the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner disclosed that the cause of death for both men was an accidental consumption of several drugs that created a fatal “toxic” effect. The Medical Examiner’s office said Barletta’s death was linked to the consumption of at least four different drugs and Roman’s death was caused by the “combined toxic effect” of six drugs. The Medical Examiner’s office disclosed that cocaine and fentanyl were among the drugs found in the bodies of both men. And for both men, the manner of death was listed as “Accident/Intoxication.”

When the cause and manner of death were disclosed by the Medical Examiner, D.C. police spokesperson Tom Lynch said the police investigation into the deaths remained open but said, “There are no updates on the investigation that we are ready to release to the public.”

But the Medical Examiner’s findings prompted Johnny Bailey, the community outreach coordinator for HIPS D.C., an LGBTQ supportive organization that provides services and support for those who use recreational drugs, to say he strongly believed that Barletta and Roman did not intentionally consume some of the drugs found in their system.

“I’m going to say I do believe this was a poisoning,” Bailey told the Blade. “I think it is unfair to call some things an overdose because an overdose is when you do too much of a drug and you die from that drug,” he said. “This is like if you have a few glasses of wine every night and someone puts arsenic in your wine, no one would be like, ‘oh, they drank themselves to death.’ They were poisoned. And that’s what I think is happening here,” he said in referring to Barletta and Roman.

In announcing the new charges against Jevaughn Mark that link him to Barletta and Roman’s deaths, the U.S. Attorney’s press release discloses that he supplied fentanyl in the drugs he sold unknowingly to the undercover DEA and D.C. police officers when one of the officers, posing as a drug buyer, did not ask for fentanyl.

“In each instance, the DEA/MPD agents requested to buy ‘Special K’ or Ketamine from Jevaughn Mark,” the press release says. “In every instance, Jevaughn Mark supplied a mixture of fentanyl and other substances, including heroin, but not ketamine,” it says.

The release says that after the earlier indictment against Jevaughn Mark was issued, law enforcement agents conducted a search of his Southeast D.C. home and “recovered two firearms, cocaine, fentanyl, about $38,000 in cash, body armor vests, and drug trafficking paraphernalia.” It says on that same day authorities executed another search for a second residence linked to Jevaughn Mark, where they located a bedroom used by his brother Angelo Mark.

“From Angelo Mark’s bedroom, law enforcement recovered seven firearms, 900 rounds of ammunition, dozens of pills, cocaine, fentanyl, drug trafficking paraphernalia, and about $50,000 in cash,” the press release says, adding, “Based on the evidence, both brothers were indicted in the first superseding indictment.” 

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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