Artists Hilary Harp and Suzie Silver present two curated screenings. Out in the Woods features international short queer folk and fairy tale films. Over the Rainbow presents queer and experimental shorts for kids of all ages.
Out in the Woods includes nine queer interpretations of world folk and fairy tales including Filipino and Chinese mythologies exploring queer diasporic identities; same-sex love in a pre-hispanic Mexican ritual; a Samoan Cinderella; and a queer retelling of a Scottish folk tale about transformation and retribution. The films in Out in the Woods are both a reinterpretation of traditional folklore or mythology and the invention of a new queer folk culture.
From its inception CRITICAL MASS has always strived to create the best possible experience for its fans. They don’t just produce dance music events but rather create a sanctuary for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy incredible music, magical art, endless creativity, and of course…good vibes only.
Their upcoming festival, Technical, is no exception. The CRITICAL MASS team has come together to create the first ever 21+ only festival curated to serve a better experience for the techno and house music community of Arizona. The line up boasts artists from around the globe such as Doc Martin- the house music legend from Los Angeles, Volkoder- the Dirtybird Records artist who will be travelling from Brazil to perform at Technical, and Flashmob- who will be skipping across the pond from Italy to headline the show. Also amongst the headliners is Audiofly, the enigmatic Spanish duo.
In addition to these renowned headliners there will also be support from illustrious artists such as Justin Campbell- San Diego’s Desert Hearts ambassador, K4SH, Contessa as well as a loaded line up featuring some of Arizona’s hottest underground talents.
Technical will be an outdoor festival featuring two stages equipped with top notch production and sound, 10 hours of uninterrupted music, military art cars and more. CRITICAL MASS has also commissioned local artists to create custom art for the event and will feature various art pieces peppered across the landscape of the venue. To make this the ultimate fulsome experience, CRITICAL MASS has partnered up with eminent local vendors and food trucks from different parts of the valley who will be dedicated to serving up the finest culinary choices for their music enthusiasts.
With reasonable ticket prices, an impressive line up and a “Good Vibes Only” mentality, Technical Music Festival is sure to give fans the immersive experience they’re hoping for. For tickets and info visit: www.criticalmass.events
Centennial, Colorado—Jon Stetson and Noel Floresca of Tucson, Arizona, have been selected to receive the Center for Health and Hope’s 2019 Leadership Award for their extraordinary volunteer service in Southern Arizona’s HIV community.
The award will be presented during the 5th annual Swinging@AIDS Benefit weekend featuring a concert and golf tournament on March 22 and March 23, 2019. “They epitomize the highest values of compassion, care, and service,” stated the Rev. Dr. Donald E. Messer, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Hope. “Together they are a living witness of courageous advocates seeking to conquer HIV and AIDS in our time.”
Scott Blades, the Executive Director of the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN), commented, “Jon and Noel are among the most giving and caring volunteers our community has seen. Their efforts over the past 20 years have brought awareness, hope, and healing to so many. We’re so happy they’re being honored–this recognition is so well deserved.”
Jon (pictured above, right) and Noel (pictured above, left) have been life partners for 22 years, and through all that time, they’ve been a key part of Southern Arizona’s HIV community.
Jon spearheaded the reconciling movement at St. Francis in the Foothills UMC, and has also worked for inclusiveness and welcome in other congregations and within the United Methodist conference. When an HIV ministry began at St. Francis in the 1980s, Jon was a key of it, helping with HIV education and also serving on CareTeams helping people with AIDS in their final days.
Not long after they met, Noel Floresca joined TIHAN. Noel, who is HIV-positive, was experiencing a number of health concerns, even having to spend three months in the hospital. TIHAN matched him with a CareTeam of supportive volunteers, and as his health improved, so did his engagement with TIHAN. After a few years, Noel transitioned from being the recipient of the CareTeam to being one of the volunteers on the CareTeam, helping support other people with HIV. With the support of his partner Jon and family, Noel wanted to give back to express his gratitude.
Noel also started volunteering in the TIHAN office, and was one of a small group of people who founded Poz Café. TIHAN’s lunch program that has now served over 26,000 meals. Both Jon and Noel have been volunteering in Southern Arizona’s HIV community for more than 20 years. They’ve helped in multiple ways, including leading HIV education, training volunteers, answering phones, doing data entry, helping with handyman work, volunteering at Poz Café, helping with newsletter mailings, serving on TIHAN committees, presenting at TIHAN Living Well with HIV classes, volunteering at fundraising events, and being friends and providing emotional and social support for people with HIV.
For more than 20 years, Jon and Noel have shared their time, talents, and treasures in support of the HIV community in Southern Arizona, and the Center is honored to recognize their efforts with the 2019 Leadership Award.
Past recipients of the Center’s Leadership Award include Rev Charlie Arehart, Kevin Carmichael MD, and Linda Girard RN.
The 5th Annual Swinging@AIDS benefit Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, March 23 at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis at the Oro Valley Community Center, and the Benefit Concert featuring Heather Hardy and the Lil’ Mama Band will be at Monterey Court on Friday, March 22 at 7:00pm. Details are available at swingingataids.org
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS
The Center for Health and Hope (www.centerforhealthandhope.org), based in Denver, addresses the challenges of the global HIV and AIDS pandemic and related health needs in the world through programs of awareness, education, prevention, care, and treatment. The Center challenges attitudes and actions that contribute to stigmatization and discrimination of persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. For more information, contact Executive Director Rev. Dr. Don Messer (303) 877-1955 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 1994, TIHAN–the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (www.tihan.org), has been organizing volunteers, businesses, organizations, and faith communities to respond to the HIV/AIDS health crisis. In addition to HIV awareness and stigma reduction programs, TIHAN helps support people with HIV to live as well as possible. For more information, contact Executive Director Scott Blades at (520) 299-6647 ext 202 or email@example.com
Ryan A. Starzyk, CIPM, CSM
Phoenix, Arizona — January 23, 2019 — Ryan Starzyk of Phoenix, Arizona announced his candidacy for State Senate in Legislative District 24, challenging incumbent Lea Alston who currently holds Secretary of State Katie Hobbs seat prior to being elected to her new role. Ryan Starzyk is a Military Veteran and long-time Arizona resident, proudly residing in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ryan is an accomplished business professional with over 20 years of public and private sector experience. Ryan is a thought-provoking leader, dedicated community organizer and well recognized change agent. Ryan serves as a non-profit board officer, Director-at-Large and Chair, Education and Outreach Committee with Phoenix Pride Community Foundation. Ryan represents the integrity, values and strength Legislative District 24 needs and deserves from your elected official.
Ryan intends to bring forth an aggressive, grassroots campaign focused on enacting a statewide employment non-discrimination, universal health care, increased public education funding, creating business innovation centers in low-income areas, and expanding programs for military Veterans.
Ryan For Arizona is excited to announce John Mudzyn as the official Campaign Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Theresa Hernandez as the official Fundraising
Ryan Starzyk will hold his official launch party on the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (June 28th) here in Phoenix, AZ. Location will be announced in the coming weeks.
|Pride Guide® Arizona
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Get 2019 off to a great start with these exciting upcoming events in Tempe. For more information on Tempe visit www.LGBTInTempe.com.
Stray Cat Theatre Presents “Two Mile Hollow,” at Tempe Center for the Arts, Jan. 18- Feb. 2, 2019
In “Two Mile Hollow,” the Donnellys gather to divide their belongings after the sale of their oceanfront mansion. As this messy Caucasian family comes together with their POC personal assistant, Charlotte, some really, really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed while white wine spills. “Two Mile Hollow” explores the age-old genre of plays about affluent white families retreating to their waterfront homes to battle it out with brutality, awe and compassion.
Reah Butcher at Tempe Improv Comedy Theatre, Jan. 24, 2019
Rhea Butcher’s blue-collar brand of cool has endeared her to audiences nationwide. She performs standup and has appeared on shows such as HBO’s “2 Dope Queens,” “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” “@Midnight” and “Conan.” She was also named one of “Variety’s” Top Ten Comics to Watch 2017. In her podcast “Three Swings,” Reah reinvents America’s pastime with radically sensible thoughts on baseball, history, culture, gender, race and more.
AIDS Walk Arizona at Tempe Town Lake, February 23, 2019
AIDS Walk Arizona & 5K Run is the largest gathering in Arizona to support people living with HIV and raise community awareness. AIDS Walk Arizona is proud to move to its new home at Tempe Town Lake!
The family-friendly event features Paws for the Cause – the dog-friendly portion of the walk, and Kids for the Cause where kids of all ages are invited to get involved and fundraise. All proceeds benefit community partner agencies in greater Phoenix that provide critical HIV services.
Join the movement to help end HIV on Saturday, February 23, 2019! Register now online, or on the day of the walk.
Platt and Westby, P.C.
People who marry later in life often opt to use a prenuptial agreement to preserve the sole and separate nature of the property each brings to the marriage. This is a good planning strategy. But, to give the help intended, a prenuptial agreement must be enforceable if it is ever needed, such as in a divorce. In Arizona, it is not enough to have an agreement signed by both spouses before their marriage. Arizona Courts are concerned with the fairness of an agreement and that it was signed voluntarily with no pressure or coercion. There are several things that are important. Each prospective spouse must make full financial disclosure to the other. The agreement should be signed well in advance of the wedding so that there is time for consideration and reflection by each party prior to signing. And each must be represented by independent counsel.
Should you have legal questions and need answers, please contact one of our experienced lawyers at email@example.com or call 602-277-4441 to schedule a no-charge consultation. To learn more about the firm and our lawyers, visit www.plattwestby.com Platt and Westby, P.C., serving the Greater Phoenix area since 1974.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Compete Sports Diversity Awards
Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, National Football League (NFL) and Out former NFL Player Ryan O’Callaghan, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Richmond Region Tourism Honored for Sports Diversity
9th Annual Petey Awards on November 10th
PHOENIX, AZ – October 24, 2018 — Compete Magazine and the Sports Diversity Leadership Council will honor the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, NFL and former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan among others at the 2018 Compete Sports Diversity Awards, also known as the 9th Annual Petey Awards, in Phoenix, Arizona area on November 10th. The event will be co-hosted by Eric Carlyle, Compete CEO; Jake Mason, USA Dodgeball president; Angela Smith, ASANA Softball commissioner.
“We are excited to be honoring these outstanding organizations and individuals who have made great inroads in sports diversity,” said Compete CEO, Eric Carlyle.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are being honored for their “D-backs Pride Pack,” the Arizona Coyotes are recognized for their Rainbow Pride apparel and the NFL is being honored for its work in diversity, including women coaches.
Ryan O’Callaghan, a former NFL player, came out last year has just launched a foundation that is inspiring many both inside and outside the LGBTQ+ sports community. Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia will be in attendance to accept an award. The Sin City Classic, the largest LGBTQ+ annual sports tournament willpresentLas Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority an award. Other award winners include Sam Lehman, Patrick Gamble and Conard Franz. Additional award winners will be announced.
Compete and the Sports Diversity Leadership Council (SDLC) will also host an important Conference sponsored by Experience Scottsdale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the awards. The Diamondbacks,Coyotesand O’Callaghan will be panelists at the Conference and former Olympian and Pan American Silver Medalist, Gale Fitzgerald will host a women’s panel.
The 9th Annual Petey Awards is being held on Saturday, November 10 at the DoubleTree Tempe/Phoenix. A VIP welcome reception sponsored by Tempe Tourism begins at 6:00 p.m. with dinner seating at 7:00 p.m. General admission tickets are currently available for $119 and VIP tickets for $149. Tickets and tables can be ordered online at www.sportsdiversityawards.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a limited amount of tickets to the Sports Diversity Leadership Conference. Please contact email@example.com for Conference information.
About Compete Magazine and the Sports Diversity Leadership Council
About Compete Magazine, Uniting the World Through Sports™
Compete Magazine was founded in 2006 as the world’s first and only gay sports magazine. Twelve years later we have evolved into the Voice of Sports Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We reach over 80,000 readers with each issue of Compete Magazine and receive more than one million website hits each month.
About Sports Diversity Leadership Council, The Power of Sports Community™
Sports Diversity Leadership Council (SDLC) was founded by Compete Magazine in 2014. The SDLC represents 80+ organizational members with over 110,000 participating members. SDLC members host more than 400+ events and tournaments nationwide each year.
Follow us: FB – facebook.com/competemag | Twitter @competesports | www.competenetwork.com
Share sports experiences with the hashtags #competemag and #icompete
PHOENIX (May 10, 2018) —Thanks to a $750,000 donation from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS will now offer a “Test & Treat” program that will be the first of its kind in Arizona. The gift will enhance the agency’s already strong testing capabilities and provide additional resources for immediate treatment. The approach is aligned with the World Health Organization’s policy aimed at cutting HIV transmission by suppressing the virus in those carrying it, and in turn, decreasing their likelihood of passing it on to others. Since 2012, the Foundation has awarded more than $11 million to the Southwest Center through multiple grants, including the creation of The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness.
“Placing those who test positive for HIV on treatment early in their diagnosis, providing immediate access to both medications and behavioral healthcare, will help ensure that the virus is suppressed, undetectable and less likely to spread. This is an essential part of the fight against this disease. We sincerely appreciate the continued generosity and commitment from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to help end the HIV epidemic in Arizona,” says Kristin Kalla, executive director for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS.
The program builds on the Southwest Center’s existing services since the agency provides more HIV tests, and identifies more HIV positive individuals, than any other community-based organization in Arizona. The HIV Test & Treat program will increase the Center’s capacity to scale-up in-house medical care, including same-day medication prescriptions to those individuals who test positive. These services will be integrated into existing linkages to care, medical case management, behavioral health, pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis, AHCCCS insurance navigation, nutrition services and targeted community outreach initiatives.
“People are typically met with compassion when serious illness strikes. That’s not always the case for those impacted by HIV/AIDS,” said Bob Parsons. “Southwest Center provides compassionate, culturally-competent and immediate care at a time when those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are most vulnerable, both physically and emotionally.”
The Southwest Center has signed and is committed to the United Nations’ UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative with the goal of achieving the following targets by 2020: 90% of people living with HIV diagnosed; 90% of diagnosed people on antiretroviral treatment; and 90% of people in treatment have full viral suppression.
“The Southwest Center continues to build on the breadth of services they offer to clients here in Arizona,” said Renee Parsons. “Bob and I are dedicated to increasing access to medical care to those who are underserved, including those living with HIV/AIDS.”
Having HIV testing and care under one roof helps reduce the barriers to immediate care that those who are newly diagnosed with HIV often experience. It will be a critical contribution to the success of the City of Phoenix’s 90-90-90 Fast Track Cities Initiative aimed at ending AIDS as a public health threat in our community by 2020. Phoenix is the 10th city in the United States to sign on to the 90-90-90 initiative, and agency Executive Director Kristin Kalla is on the mayor’s ad hoc committee helping create action plans to achieve each of the initiative’s components.
“HIV/AIDS is a public health crisis that our community can and will eradicate,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “The City of Phoenix is committed to the health of our residents, so that every person can live a full life, uninhibited by illness. The community is grateful for this generous donation from Bob and Renee Parsons to work toward the mission of eradicating HIV/AIDS.”
About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture and nourish people during what is often the darkest times of their lives. Founded in 2012 by the philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people—regardless of race, roots, or economic status—deserve access to quality healthcare, education, and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media or visit TBRPF.org, to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.
About Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (www.swhiv.org) is located in downtown Phoenix at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, alongside Avella, an HIV specialty pharmacy, and the McDowell Medical and Dental Clinic, which provide care services to HIV-positive individuals. The Center provides prevention, testing, education, medical case management, linkages to care and navigational services, community outreach, family support services, behavioral health services, and health & wellness programs including, alternative therapies, primary medical care, nutrition services and an on-site vitamin shop.
Photo: Rachel Robinson
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Author, social and political activist, and syndicated sex advice columnist Dan Savage will be the guest of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) for a moderated conversation on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m.
Savage, editorial director of Seattle’s weekly alternative newspaper, The Stranger, is known for his take-no-prisoners attitude in his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships. He tells it like it is. “I tell people to communicate,” he says. “Put your needs out there, and if they reject you, then you know you’re not compatible.”
His appearance is part of Out@SMoCA, the museum’s ongoing, original series that champions diversity in Scottsdale and Arizona by featuring public conversations with nationally recognized personalities who demonstrate the positive role that thoughtful and committed individuals play in our society. This is the sixth event in the series designed to encourage laughter, as well as frank dialogue. Previous speakers include punk legend and anti-bullying activist Henry Rollins and U.S. Women’s Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe. Signed copies of one of Savage’s books will be raffled to benefit ONE Community, a member-based coalition of socially responsible businesses, organizations and individuals that support and promote diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans.
Savage’s sex advice column, “Savage Love,” is syndicated in newspapers and websites in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone and The Onion, as well as on Salon.com. He also has been a guest on CNN, MSNBC and The Colbert Report, as well NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and ABC’s 20/20. He is a frequent and popular speaker on college campuses across the United States and Canada.
His books include Savage Love; The Kid: What Happened When My Boyfriend and I Decided to Get Pregnant (PEN West Award for Creative Nonfiction, Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction); Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America; and The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family. In his most recent book, American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics, published in 2013, he shares his thoughts on such topics as marriage, parenting and the gay agenda, the Catholic Church and sex education. Commenting on the book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote that Savage is, “America’s most in-your-face sex columnist and gay rights activist.”
In 2010, Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, founded the Its Gets Better Project to provide hope, encouragement and support to LGBTQ youth. It began as a social media campaign with a YouTube video and has evolved into a multi-media platform capable of reaching millions of young people every year through inspiring media programming, a growing network of international affiliates and access to an arsenal of community-based service providers.
$35 / (M $30)
This moderated discussion will take place in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Out@SMoCA is presented in partnership with the City of Scottsdale Office of Diversity, Scottsdale Human Relations Committee and media partner Echo Magazine.
Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through three acclaimed divisions – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art – serving more than 400,000 participants annually.
Founded in 1999, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) explores the best of contemporary art, architecture and design. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s collection, along with SMoCA Lounge, a living, functional art installation and space for community engagement. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, readings, performances, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s Knight Rise, one of the renowned artist’s public skyspaces, and Scrim Wall, a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum’s retail store, Shop@SMoCA, offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books, and imaginative gifts for all occasions.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251
HOURS AND ADMISSION
Tuesday – Wednesday, noon – 5 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday, noon – 9 p.m.
Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Admission: $10 adults, $7 students, free for members and children under 15
Free on Thursdays and after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
The crosswalk at 7th and Glenrosa Avenues will be painted
rainbow if approved by the City Council. Photo Credit: Brian Mori
A rainbow crosswalk in Miami Beach.
Photo Credit: Phoenix Pride
Metro Phoenix L.G.B.T.Q. activists want to honor the Melrose District’s legacy of leadership by painting the existing crosswalk at 7th and Glenrosa Avenues all the colors of the rainbow.
“Melrose has always been the place to go sit down and have dinner with your (same-sex) partner, and not worry about holding their hand,” said Mark Leeper, President of Phoenix Pride’s Board of Directors. “This is a great way to increase the visibility of the community and it’s also going to be good for tourism.”
Crosswalk in Melrose to be painted, if approved. Photo Credit: Phoenix Pride.
Leeper, 31, leads the organization that hosts Phoenix Pride week in April. Glenrosa is one of two crosswalks Pride wants to paint right now, the other is in the arts district at Central Avenue and Roosevelt. Eventually, Pride wants to paint several existing crosswalks in both neighborhoods.
“Even Tucson now has done this,” Leeper said. “The feedback we’re getting is ‘why hasn’t Phoenix?”
He also said it’s not as easy as just grabbing some volunteers and paintbrushes. Pride is still reviewing traffic studies, and meeting with neighborhood associations to make sure this is something they really want.
Next, Pride will ask the City Council to approve the idea. Only then can a public plan be released which will detail the cost of the work, probably perfomed by City crews.
Pride estimates $6k-7k for the initial painting of the Melrose sidewalk, but much less for maintenance. “We’re basing (price) off of other cities,” he said. “The (heat) here is brutal, so the materials are different.”
Leeper said the funds are being raised from donors and other organizations. “We’ll accept a donation from anybody,” he said. “But we’re not asking for City money.”
Leeper said he expects a relatively quick turnaround once approved by the Council. Pride is aiming for March (Pride Week) for both crosswalks. Those who wish to support the idea should contact Phoenix Pride, their neighborhood and City representatives.
Story by Brian Mori
FIVE-YEAR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OWEN ACCEPTS NEW POSITION
PHOENIX – The board of directors of Phoenix Pride has announced that the organization’s executive director of nearly five years, Justin Owen, will be departing his professional role at the agency on December 31st. Mr. Owen has accepted the position of executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy in Scottsdale, beginning on January 1, 2018.
Concurrently, the board is pleased to reveal that Phoenix Pride has hired veteran business owner, Pride board member and community leader Michael Fornelli to serve as interim executive director upon Mr. Owen’s departure.
Under Mr. Owen’s nearly five years of leadership at Phoenix Pride, the organization has undergone tremendous growth, and 2017 will stand as one of the most successful years in the agency’s history, with record attendance and revenue at the Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade, as well as phenomenal turnout at last month’s Rainbows Festival and an incredibly successful local Unity Rally for Equality and Pride held in June. In addition, the agency awarded more than $80,000 in community grants and scholarships during the 9th Annual Community Spirit Awards held over the summer.
“While we are certainly sad to see Justin depart the organization which he has so successfully led for us on the professional level over the past four-and-a-half years, we are extremely excited to see him pursuing this new and exciting opportunity in his career,” Phoenix Pride President of the Board Mark Leeper said. “Under Justin’s leadership, we have experienced tremendous growth in multiple areas, and he is leaving us in a position of strength and stability, with significant leaps in our presence, reach and credibility in the community. We are also very happy to announce that Justin will remain involved in Phoenix Pride on a volunteer basis, and we are thrilled that he will continue to share his skills, contacts and experience with our organization and our community.
“At the same time, we are excited to announce the appointment of Michael Fornelli as our interim executive director, effective upon Justin’s departure,” Leeper added. “Mike’s long presence in our community as a business owner, community leader and local icon for LGBTQ rights, provides a phenomenal platform from which to continue the momentum Phoenix Pride has built as an agency, and we look forward to writing the next chapter in our history with Mike at the organization’s professional helm.”
“For more than 20 years, the Pride Movement has been a home and an extended family for me, and serving as the executive director of Phoenix Pride over the past four- and-a-half years has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career to date,” Justin Owen added. “I fully intend to remain connected to Pride in a volunteer capacity, and to stay active in pursuing equity and parity for Arizona’s entire LGBTQ community, even as I move into my new role beginning in January.”
“I am truly honored and humbled to be entrusted with the professional leadership of Phoenix Pride, an organization that I have loved, admired and supported for many, many years, and I am especially excited to continue working with Mark and the entire Phoenix Pride Board through this critical next phase of the organization’s existence,” Michael Fornelli stated. “We are facing an era of challenge and change for the LGBTQ community, with uncertainty surrounding policy at the federal and state level, and increased incidents of anti-LGBTQ bias and violence. However, our community is at its strongest when we come together and stand boldly, and Phoenix Pride will continue to be the touchstone for that unity, by providing the two largest public LGBTQ community events in the State of Arizona and continuing to lend our voice to advocating for equity for our community, including the push for anti-discrimination protections at the Arizona Legislature.”
Mr. Fornelli, has been the Owner and President of popular Scottsdale LGBTQ bar/nightclub BS West, since 1992. His experience includes extensive background in financial management, staff leadership, community engagement and event production. He has served as a festival entertainment manager and pageant director for Phoenix Pride since 2013, and joined the Phoenix Pride Board of Directors earlier this year. In addition, he serves as board director and chief of staff for USofA Pageantry, and he previously held a three-year term on the board of directors of local LGBTQ youth support organization one•n•ten.