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PHOTOS: A road trip during a pandemic and national reckoning

Blade international news editor recently drove from DC to South Florida

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Two men hold their fists in their air during an anti-police brutality protest in downtown Miami on June 1, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

It was eerily quiet at around 10:30 p.m. on June 8 when I drove into D.C. from Rosslyn. There were only a handful of cars on the streets as I drove through Foggy Bottom and around Farragut Square. I passed dozens of boarded up businesses and a handful of Metropolitan Police Department patrol cars before I arrived home in Dupont Circle and officially ended my 10-day road trip to South Florida.

It was also eerily quiet at around 6 a.m. on May 29, the day I left the nation’s capital. The city to which I returned was very different.

The stated goal of my trip to South Florida was to work with Yariel Valdés González, a Washington Blade contributor from Cuba who spent nearly a year in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody before his release from a privately-run detention center in rural Louisiana on March 4. My trip was also an opportunity to document a country in the grips of a deadly pandemic that also finds itself at a crossroads.

I had planned to go to South Florida at the end of March, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed this trip by more than two months. I am not yet comfortable on an airplane, so I decided to rent a car and drive. I left D.C. on the same day it entered the first phase of reopening. A then-Minneapolis police officer, who is white, four days earlier kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, for nearly nine minutes and killed him.

Reminders of the grim human and economic toll the pandemic has exerted in this country were clearly evident in the six states through which I drove. Signs of the national reckoning over racism in response to Floyd’s death that was underway were also palpable.

Here are some photos from my trip.

Driving over the 14th Street Bridge on May 29, 2020 (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Michael K. Lavers at the Virginia Welcome Center in Fredericksburg, Va., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sign at the Virginia Welcome Center in Fredericksburg, Va., on May 29, 2020, advises motorists not to take toilet paper, paper towels and soap from the men’s bathroom. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Headlines of newspapers from Richmond, Va., and Raleigh, N.C., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A Wawa convenience store in Chester, Va., on May 29, 2020, advises customers that Virginia law requires them to wear a mask inside the store. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Writing a story in the car while in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store in Chester, Va., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Gas at this gas station along Interstate 95 in North Carolina on May 29, 2020, was under $2 a gallon. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front page of the Wilson Times newspaper in North Carolina on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Traffic on Interstate 95 near Eastover, N.C., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A “Blessing Box” outside a store in Santee, S.C., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
River Street in Savannah, Ga., on May 29, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Several businesses in Savannah, Ga., have “Savannah Strong” posters in their windows as the city begins to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A store in Savannah, Ga., notes how it is protecting its customers and employees from the coronavirus. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A memorial to Ahmaud Aubrey at the entrance to the neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga., where he was killed on Feb. 23, 2020, while jogging. Travis and Gregory McMichael have been charged with murdering Aubrey, who was black. William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the shooting, also faces charges. The three suspects are white. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A street in St. Augustine, Fla., on May 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A nearly full parking lot near Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Fla., on May 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
This reporter enjoys a Corona Extra beer in St. Augustine, Fla., on May 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sign in support of President Trump’s re-election campaign in St. Augustine, Fla., on May 30, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The makeshift memorial at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on May 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Heavy traffic on Interstate 4 near Walt Disney World on May 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front page of the Orlando Sentinel on May 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A car fire on Alligator Alley near Ochopee, Fla., on May 31, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Watching an interview with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on “The Today Show” from the hotel in Miami on June 1, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A security guard at the Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami walks past boarded up storefronts on June 1, 2020. The businesses were damaged two days earlier during protests in response to George Floyd’s death. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Yariel Valdés González speaks with LGBTQ migrants who live at Jardin de las Mariposas, a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on June 3, 2020, from the hotel in Miami. The Washington Blade is working with the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration to encourage the shelter’s residents to share their stories with journalists. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A museum and performing arts center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood notes it remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A bar in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood notes it has reopened. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Downtown Miami’s skyline from the Rickenbacker Causeway that connects Key Biscayne, Fla., to the mainland on June 3, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)
The front pages of el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald on June 4, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front pages of Diario las Américas, a Spanish-language newspaper in Miami, on June 4, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Pride memorabilia for sale at a Target in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 4, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
From left: Yariel Valdés González, Sebastián Cabral and Michael K. Lavers at Serafina’s, a waterfront restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 4, 2020.
Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar in Wilton Manors, Fla., on June 4, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
From left: Yariel Váldez González, José Juan Blanco and Michael K. Lavers at a Venezuelan restaurant in Hallandale Beach, Fla., on June 5, 2020.
From left: Yariel Valdéz González, Carlos Alejandro Rodríguez Martínez, Michael K. Lavers, Ledier Armas Martínez and Norges Rodríguez in North Miami Beach, Fla., on June 5, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdéz González)
The intersection of Collins Avenue and 18th Street in Miami Beach, Fla., on June 6, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The road leading to the Krome Service Processing Center in Miami on June 7, 2020. Eight U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees at the Krome Service Processing Center, which is located in the facility’s grounds, had confirmed coronavirus cases as of June 14. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A Black Lives Matter protest in West Palm Beach, Fla., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago’s estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on June 6, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Support for the Black Lives Movement on a beach in Palm Beach, Fla., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A boarded-up storefront in downtown Palm Beach, Fla., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sign of the times while driving north on Interstate 95 near Daytona Beach, Fla., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Florida newspaper headlines on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The front page of the Daytona Beach News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Fla., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A hotel in St. Simons Island, Ga., takes precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Two men fish from a pier in St. Simons Island, Ga., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
T-shirts for sale at a store in downtown St. Simons Island, Ga., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A mural in Brunswick, Ga., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Ga., remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A church sign near Bowman, S.C., on June 7, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Two independent newspapers in Asheville, N.C., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A Black Lives Matter mural on a boarded-up restaurant in Asheville, N.C., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A tribute to Tony McDade in downtown Asheville, N.C., on June 8, 2020. McDade was a Black transgender man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Tallahassee, Fla., late last month. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
The Cherokee National Forest from a scenic overlook along Interstate 26 near Erwin, Tenn., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A monument to country music in Bristol, Va., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A sketch in the window of a spa in downtown Bristol, Va., on June 8, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Michael K. Lavers at the fence that surrounded Lafayette Square Park in D.C. on June 9, 2020. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
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PHOTOS: Dupont Circle fountain turns 100

Iconic landmark site of protests, vigils and meetings for decades

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Two young men read a copy of the Washington Blade at the Dupont Circle fountain on May 31, 1991. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

The 100th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the iconic Dupont Circle fountain is to be held from noon until sundown today. The fountain has long been considered a center for the LGBTQ community in Washington, D.C. The park in the circle has been the site of many protests, vigils and a place to meet people. Here are some photos from the Washington Blade archive documenting Dupont Circle through the years.

A group of Russian and Ukrainian activists hold a rally on Feb. 22, 2014 at Dupont Circle to bring light to the abuses of the Putin regime against the LGBTQ community before the Sochi Olympics. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The fountain has long been a gay cruising spot and a place to meet up with friends. Here is a scene from Nov. 3, 1990. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Members of the community gather at the fountain on June 15, 2016 to mourn the deaths of dozens of people at the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A view of Dupont Circle taken from above on July 22, 1985. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Revelers cool off in the fountain following the 2012 Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Ruby Corado, executive director of the LGBTQ services organization Casa Ruby, stands with fellow trans activists at the fountain on June 21, 2019 to mourn the violent deaths of transgender women over the past few years. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker holds an observance for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, 2009 at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ+ marching band D.C. Different Drummers perform in a surprise flash mob at the fountain on Aug. 15, 2011. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Jane Gamble and Priscilla Hayner enjoy a meal at the fountain on Feb. 1, 1989. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Religious and civic leaders attend a 20 year memorial ceremony for the death of Matthew Shepard on Oct. 25, 2018. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Distenfano Kitchens dips his toes in the water at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin speaks at an anti-violence rally at Dupont Circle on June 19, 2012. (Washington Blade file photo by Blake Bergen)

Local media covers a snowball fight at the fountain on Jan. 24, 2016. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A march for transgender rights kicks off from a rally at Dupont Circle on May 17, 2015. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The DC Dyke March begins with a rally at Dupont Circle on June 7, 2019. (Washington Blade file photo by Molly Byrom)

Members of the community hold vigils for the slain of the Orlando massacre for several days at the Dupont Circle fountain. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Youth Pride Festival is held at Dupont Circle on May 2, 2015. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: ‘Pose’ Season 3 Red Carpet

Cast and crew attend premiere in New York City

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'Pose' star Dominique Jackson attends the red carpet premiere of season 3 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/Picture Group)

The red carpet premiere for the third and final season of FX’s “Pose” was held on Thursday at JAZZ at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Cast in attendance included Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar, Dyllón Burnside, Angel Bismark Curiel, Sandra Bernhard, Jason Rodriguez and guest stars Angelica Ross, Jeremy Pope, and Jeremy McClain.

The event was produced by FX Networks and the red carpet was designed by Nicholas Calhoun of Look Design Studios, LLC.

(Photos by Anthony Behar and Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pray Tell’ Billy Porter. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Candy Ferocity’ Angelica Ross. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/Picture Group)

‘Lil Papi Evangelista’ Angel Bismark Curiel. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Ricky’ Dyllón Burnside. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Lulu’ Hailie Sahar. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Cubby Wintour’ Jeremy McClain. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PhotoGroup)

‘Lemar Wintour’ Jason Rodriguez. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Judy Kubrak’ Sandra Bernhard. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Archie’ Jeremy Pope (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Angel Evangelista’ Indya Moore. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

Alexis Martin Woodall, executive producer of ‘POSE.’ (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Executive Producer Sherry Marsh. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Executive Producers Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson of Color Force. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Pose’ Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Writer/Director Steven Canals. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

(Photo courtesy of FX/PictureGroup)

‘Elektra Abundance’ Dominique Jackson. (Photo by Anthony Behar; courtesy FX/PictureGroup)

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PHOTOS: Our lost year

As D.C. inches toward normalcy, a look back at the year of COVID in photos

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As COVID-19 became a new reality, someone erected a “HOPE” sign in a neighborhood in Virginia. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In March of 2020, the nation went into lockdown with the COVID-19 pandemic. (Washington Blade photos by Michael K. Lavers and Michael Key)

Riots erupt near the White House following the death of George Floyd. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Peaceful protesters gather in Black Lives Matter Plaza to call for police reform. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Peaceful protests against police brutality are held throughout the nation following the murder of George Floyd. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health erects a mural on 14th Street, N.W. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The lion statue at the National Zoo sports a rainbow tie-dye mask. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

No Justice No Pride holds a rally on June 13. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The No Justice No Pride-run ‘Pride2020 March’ is more of a protest than Pride events of the past few years. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

No Justice No Pride holds a protest in front of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s House calling for the ‘defunding’ of the Metropolitan Police Department. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Local restaurants convert to outdoor dining to comply with restrictions during the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The far-right Proud Boys march in a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally after Donald Trump loses the presidential election. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag Queen Goldie Grigio serves to-go food at Duplex Diner. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Grocery stores across the country experience shortages on basic items early in the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The streets of D.C. are empty and quiet during lockdown. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Blade holds it’s singles issue again this year, though COVID restrictions make dating a challenge. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ruby Corado has her temperature taken at the entrance to Casa Ruby LGBTQ Community Center. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to give press briefings, though new restrictions involve social distancing and the use of masks. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Downtown D.C. goes on lockdown following the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Restaurants and small businesses struggle with new restrictions during the pandemic. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mikko, gay news, Washington Blade

Mikko Kosonen opened Mikko almost two years ago and has been getting creative while coping with COVID restrictions. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Supporters of Donald Trump march on the U.S. Capitol in a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Thanksgiving in 2020 looks different for many families compared to family celebrations pre-COVID. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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