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D.C. Black Pride Award recipients to be honored July 21

Racine among local, national honorees

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Karl Racine, gay news, Washington Blade
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is the recipient of the Eleanor Holmes Norton Award.

The Center for Black Equity, a D.C.-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced on Monday it has named 11 individuals, one organization and one business as recipients of its 2021 D.C. Black Pride Awards.

The organization said in a statement that the awards recognize “exemplary members and allies of the Black LGBTQ community who have demonstrated true dedication to uplifting and advancing the community.”

The awards were scheduled to be presented at a 6 p.m. reception on Wednesday, July 21, at The Park at 14th nightclub located at 920 14th St., N.W. in D.C. The group’s statement says $10 admission tickets for the event could be purchased at dcblackpride.org/Reception.

The Center for Black Equity describes itself as a “global network of LGBTQ individuals, allies, community-based organizations and Pride organizations dedicated to achieving equality and social justice for the Black LGBTQ community through health equity, economic equity and social equity.”

The organization evolved from the group that founded D.C.’s first Black Pride event in 1990, which has led to the founding of annual Black LGBTQ Pride events throughout the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean, according to the group’s July 19 statement announcing the 2021 Black Pride Awards recipients, who are listed here:

• DeMarc Hickson, Ph.D., Executive Director of the D.C.-based LGBTQ organization Us Helping Us; Welmore Cook Award

• Angela Brown, Casa Ruby official; Welmore Cook Award

• Ernest Hopkins, longtime LGBTQ rights advocate and Director of Legislative Affairs, San Francisco AIDS Foundation; Ernest Hopkins Award

• Stephaun Wallace, Ph.D., nationally recognized research epidemiologist, public health, business consultant and social justice advocate; President’s Award

• J. Channing Wickham, Executive Director, Washington AIDS Partnership and longtime advocate for HIV/AIDS advocacy program; Curtis L. Etherly Jr. Ally Award

• TAG: The Alliance Group at the University of the District of Columbia; D.C. Black Pride Leadership Award

• Greg Evans Real Estate Group; D.C. Black Pride Small Business Award 

• Charmaine Eccles, longtime D.C. area transgender rights advocate who serves on the staff of the D.C. Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs; Earline Budd Award 

• D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine; Eleanor Holmes Norton Award

• Courtney Baker-Oliver III, Artistic Director of Restoration State, Inc., an independent theater production company; Alan Sharpe Award

• Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks, founder of D.C.’s Inner Light Unity Fellowship Church and current Bishop and Spiritual Director at the D.C. National Spiritual Science Center; Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks Award

• Jaye Wynn; Charlotte Smallwood Volunteer of the Year Award

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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Arts & Entertainment

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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Double L, Diego's Hideaway, Fourth, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade
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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