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March on Washington rally to feature prominent LGBTQ speakers

Two D.C. marches for voting rights, statehood set for Aug. 28

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U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) is among the speakers at a rally planned for Saturday.

U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who this year became the nation’s first openly gay African-American member of Congress, and Randi Weingarten, the out lesbian president of the American Federation of Teachers, will be among the speakers at a rally associated with one of two separate marches on Washington scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28.

Organizers say both marches, which are scheduled to begin Saturday morning in separate locations, were called to build support for voting rights at a time when Republican-controlled state legislatures were passing laws to restrict voting and for D.C. statehood.

The two marches and their associated rallies were expected to draw as many as 150,000 people, according to information organizers submitted to the National Park Service to obtain permits for the events.

Jones and Weingarten were scheduled to speak from a stage on the National Mall near 7th Street that’s associated with March On For Washington and Voting Rights, one of the two marches whose lead organizer is civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton.

That march was scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at McPherson Square Park in downtown D.C. following a pre-march gathering at the park at 8 a.m. The march was to proceed past Black Lives Matter Plaza at 16th and H Streets, N.W., and pass in front of the White House before traveling to the National Mall to the site where the rally and speeches are to be held.

The second march, called Dream March on Washington for D.C. Statehood, Green Earth, and Justice for All, was scheduled to begin with an 8:30 a.m. rally at Freedom Plaza, also in downtown D.C., where D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was expected to be one of several speakers.

Organizers say that march is set to kick off at Freedom Plaza at 10 a.m. and proceed to the Lincoln Memorial, where a “Make Good Trouble” rally was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Organizers named the rally after a slogan coined by the late civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

The Lincoln Memorial rally was also planned as a celebration of the 58th anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington organized by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which was also held at the site of the Lincoln Memorial.

Organizers of the Lincoln Memorial rally were also calling on participants to attend a candlelight vigil hosted by the group Veterans United for D.C. Statehood. The vigil was scheduled for 7-8 p.m. that same day near the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool at 3rd Street, S.W. 

The Capital Stonewall Democrats, D.C.’s LGBTQ Democratic club, announced its members and supporters would be joining the March On For Washington and Voting Rights set to begin at McPherson Square Park and travel to the National Mall at 7th Street.

In addition to Rep. Mondaire Jones and Randi Weingarten, others scheduled to speak at the March On For Washington and Voting Rights rally include Martin Luther King III, and King family members Andrea Waters King, Yolanda Renee King; Rev. Al Sharpton; and U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). Mayor Bowser was also among those on the speakers list for that rally.

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether any LGBTQ speakers would appear at the Freedom Plaza or Lincoln Memorial rallies associated with the Dream March on Washington. In addition to Bowser, a preliminary list of speakers released by organizers for the Freedom Plaza rally included D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), former D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, D.C. Shadow Rep. Oye Owolewa (D-DC); D.C. Shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown (D-D.C.), and D.C. statehood activists Hector Rodriquez and Anise Jenkins.

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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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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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McAuliffe participates in Virginia Pride roundtable

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

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Terry McAuliffe, gay news, Washington Blade
(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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