Veteran Equality California Coachella Valley field manager George Zander and his husband were the victims of an apparent hate crime Sunday night. Zander, 71, was leaving Hunters Bar with his husband, Chris, at about 8:30 pm when a stranger began shouting anti-gay slurs at them.Shortly after, the attacker left, but returned with a second man. They attacked the couple from behind, hitting Chris over the head with a bottle and knocking George to the ground. The men fled in what Palm Springs police say was a sedan-type vehicle. The couple was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center, where Chris was treated and released for a possible concussion. George will undergo surgery for a broken hip on Tuesday.
“George is a core member of our team and our entire staff and board were horrified to hear of this terrible hate crime,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “This was an attack on someone who confronts bigotry and hostility as part of his job, and who works every day to make the world a better and safer place for LGBT people. If it can happen to George in a place that we think of as a refuge for the LGBT community, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. In spite of the victories of the past 10 years, we still have so much work to do.”
Palm Springs police are searching for two white males, one described as stocky, with red hair. Anyone with information is asked to contact Palm Springs police at 760-323-8116, or Valley Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP (7867).
littlefour is a new, smartly curated shop and design studio now open at The Barlow in downtown Sebastopol at 120Morris Street, at the corner of Morris and McKinley. We provide a well-curated selection of unique handcrafted housewares, clothing, accessories, jewelry, paper goods,
gifts, men’s goods, and fun things for children. In our shop, you will find local and independent artists and makers from the Bay Area and beyond, including in-house label littlefour by designer and owner Danielle Rodrigues.
She creates a fun and inspired shopping and community experience that connects our customers to the
artists and designers we carry. littlefour will be hosting monthly events such as workshops, movie nights,
trunk shows, and special gatherings. At littlefour, we want every purchase to have purpose. The items in our store are more than just products.
Every piece in the store has its own story and has been chosen because it is handcrafted, ethically-made,
well-designed, and beautiful. We are here to help tell the story of our artists. Who made it, how it was
made, and where it came from.
littlefour will have a Grand Opening throughout the day on Small Business Saturday, November 28th,
2015. We will have food, drinks, and discounts to celebrate our opening. This will coincide with the First
Annual Barlow Holiday Open House by many participating Barlow businesses on that same day.
In the back of the shop, you will find the design studio for my in-house label, littlefour, a handmade
clothing line for women and children. For ten years, I have designed and sewn every piece. It truly is a
one woman show!
Danielle Rodrigues is a Bay Area artist and designer, creating my women and children’s clothing line, littlefour, for over ten years. Trained at Apparel Arts in San Francisco, her designs have been featured in prominent nationa lmagazines, design and clothing blogs, and in stores across the US, UK, and Australia. She had a small store in downtown Vallejo, California called littlefour&friends. Her newest project is a brand new store and design studio now open at The Barlow in downtown Sebastopol, California. It’s simply called littlefour.
Danielle says, “As an independent artist and new store owner, I believe that the artists and makers
featured in our store can bring creativity to the community, support the local economy, and provide
meaningful and beautiful stories to the homes and lives of our customers. All my littlefour designs are
created and made at my in-store studio, and everything in the shop is handmade by independent designersand friends near and far. It’s so exciting to be open at The Barlow among so many other inspiring,women-owned businesses. For me, I’m just doing what I can, one stitch at a time, to support myself, myartist friends, and Sebastopol by opening my fresh, new handmade goods and studio at The Barlow. Join us for our Grand Opening on Small Business Saturday, November 28th, and if you’re lucky, you can meet littlefour’s mascot, my French Bulldog, Nolie!”
An 18-year-old man who fatally stabbed a co-worker after a sex act and fled the scene without his pants or shoes pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to voluntary manslaughter.
A murder charge was dismissed against Joe Andrew Cortez and Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Ana Espana indicated she would limit the maximum sentence to six years in prison for the death of Rene Macias Pressa, 44.
Sentencing was set for Feb. 5, 2016. Cortez remains in jail without bail. His attorney said he would present some psychological information at sentencing.
Cortez pleaded guilty to manslaughter just before a preliminary hearing was to be held where more details about the crime would have come out.
Pressa worked with Cortez, a new employee, at a Chula Vista restaurant. Cortez spent the night at his Third Avenue apartment April 23 in Chula Vista. According to what Cortez told police, Pressa had oral sex with Cortez before Cortez repeatedly stabbed him.
Deputy District Attorney Victor Ou said Cortez grabbed a knife off Pressa’s dresser and stabbed him in the abdomen, the base at the back of his head, and twice in the chest.
Cortez left suddenly without his pants and shoes. He accidently cut his fingers and Chula Vista police officers discovered a bloody trail with bare footprints leaving Pressa’s apartment for about a mile.
Pressa’s body was found outside his apartment by his roommate, and police initially thought that Pressa may have been attacked somewhere else and walked home. However, Cortez’s wallet was found inside his pants in the apartment along with his shirt and shoes.
Surveillance camera footage showed Cortez leaving barefoot in his boxer shorts and a tank top. He walked all night to his parents’ home. Cortez surrendered to authorities April 30.
GLAAD has announced it will honor Tyler Oakley at GLAAD Gala San Francisco at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Nov. 7.
The event will be hosted by Mean Girls and Looking star Daniel Franzese and will feature a special performance by Grammy Award-nominated recording artist and Selma star Ledisi. Additional special guests include Empire star Jussie Smollett and the cast of HBO’s Looking.
At the gala, Oakley will receive the Davidson/Valentini Award, which is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance for the LGBT community. The award is named after Craig Davidson, GLAAD’s first executive director, and his partner Michael Valentini.
With nearly eight million subscribers on YouTube, Tyler Oakley has become one of the most influential LGBT personalities on social media today, consistently using his platform to build understanding and acceptance of the LGBT community. His social media presence has launched a career in entertainment, with a podcast that has reached number one in the iTunes podcast chart and a national tour under his belt. Named one of Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet, Oakley has spoken with hundreds of media outlets about the importance of LGBT equality and acceptance, and he’s used his fame to raise over a million dollars for The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.
“Tyler Oakley has inspired countless young LGBT people to embrace who they are and live the lives they love,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. “As one of YouTube’s most recognizable names and a champion of LGBT youth, he’s proven time and again that digital media plays a crucial role in accelerating acceptance.”
Blasting aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1983 to become the first American woman—and at age 32, the youngest American in space—the late Sally Ride captured the nation’s imagination by breaking barriers. Her legacy also includes inspiring generations of students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through Sally Ride Science, a science education company she co-founded in 2001.
In a partnership agreement announced by the University of California, San Diego, future generations—especially girls and historically underrepresented K-12 students—will be motivated to continue with STEM in school and beyond through Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego. The newly created program aligns with the university’s Strategic Plan to expand existing initiatives and implement new approaches that result in accessible and affordable learning for all. The agreement was effective Oct. 1.
Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego will focus on the following target areas: professional development for teachers; K-12 STEM + Arts (STEAM) education including courses, lectures and events; and online programming via UCTV. The program will be implemented through the university’s Extension, Supercomputer Center and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These divisions will collaborate to provide the expertise, resources, leadership, support and oversight for Sally Ride Science based on the program’s guiding principles. Two of the Sally Ride Science cofounders, Tam O’Shaughnessy and Karen Flammer, will be part of the new program, providing continuity for Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego.
“Sally Ride was recognized throughout the world as a physicist, astronaut, professor and science education advocate,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We are honored to carry on her dream of Sally Ride Science to inspire future generations of students to get excited about STEM fields.”
In 1977, Ride was finishing her Ph.D. in physics at Stanford when she saw an article in the student newspaper saying that NASA was looking for astronauts—and for the first time was allowing women to apply. Ride was among the first six women chosen to join the astronaut corps. When the space shuttle Challenger blasted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983, she soared into history as the first American woman in space. She flew a second time aboard Challenger in 1984 and later became the only person to serve on the presidential commissions investigating both of the nation’s space shuttle tragedies.
After retiring from NASA, she joined the faculty at UC San Diego in 1989 as professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute, an initiative under the University of California system. She cofounded Sally Ride Science in 2001 and served as CEO of the company until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012 at age 61.
“We are thrilled to extend the wonderful legacy of Sally Ride—astronaut, scientist and UC San Diego professor emeritus of physics,” said Becky Petitt, vice chancellor for the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego also ties into our continuing work to diversify the STEM pipeline. By this agreement, our campus will be able to expand Sally Ride Science to even more students—including traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations.”
The cofounder and current CEO of Sally Ride Science, Tam O’Shaughnessy, will serve as executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego. Before becoming CEO, she served as chief creative officer of Sally Ride Science from 2001 to 2012, overseeing all content development, and as chief operating officer from 2009 to 2013. After earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in biology from Georgia State University, she received her doctorate in school psychology from UC Riverside in 1997. O’Shaughnessy is an associate professor emeritus of school psychology at San Diego State University.
O’Shaughnessy said, “It has been a great pleasure to work with Chancellor Khosla and his team to find a way to bring Sally Ride Science onto the UC San Diego campus. This is a golden opportunity to continue our mission of bringing science to life for generations to come.”
Karen Flammer, a UC San Diego research physicist who is also a cofounder of Sally Ride Science, will serve as director of education for Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego. Flammer also has been named director of education, outreach and training at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). She holds the two positions through a joint appointment with SDSC and the UC San Diego Extension.
Flammer has more than 20 years of experience directing large-scale STEM outreach and professional development programs. She served as Sally Ride Science’s head of professional development as well as principal investigator for Sally Ride EarthKAM, a NASA program that allows students around the world to capture images of Earth using a camera on the International Space Station. Flammer earned her doctorate in space physics from UC San Diego in 1988.
UC San Diego Extension will play a key role in the implementation of Sally Ride Science. The division is already involved in extensive efforts to reach out to youth in underserved communities, including our region’s tribal youth, Southeast San Diego and Barrio Logan. Extension also has a special focus in bringing women into STEM/STEAM careers. The division will bring together both of those efforts through programming that honors Sally Ride with the Sally Ride UCTV series on The STEAM channel as well as through outreach to teachers.
“Sally Ride Science will augment and expand UC San Diego’s expertise in K-12 outreach and science with a unique program to inspire teachers, students and the next generation of learners,” added Edward Abeyta, “Sally Ride Science will increase our reach in the community and online, offering up a rich clearinghouse of science, technology, engineering, math and arts resources. In addition, we will be able to provide additional educational access to key target groups, including girls, at-risk youth and first generation students.”
In a stroke of serendipity, Scripps Institution of Oceanography will take delivery in 2016 of America’s newest oceanographic research vessel: R/V Sally Ride. Under construction now by the U.S. Navy, the ship was christened Sally Ride by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in honor of Sally Ride’s remarkable legacy of scientific accomplishment, technical achievement, space exploration and commitment to science education. The state-of-the-art ship will use powerful sensors to conduct multidisciplinary scientific research worldwide, from coastlines to continental shelves to the deepest trenches, and will investigate the workings within, upon and above Earth’s oceans. Using satellite telepresence, students and teachers will experience ocean exploration while interacting with scientists at sea. R/V Sally Ride will provide an exciting new venue for Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego to demonstrate to students that STEM fields are meaningful, satisfying and accessible for everyone.
The campus expects to offer Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego STEM programs and activities for K-12 students beginning in winter 2016.
This Sunday, ahead of the anti-LGBT World Congress of Families (WCF) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, HRC will place a two-page ad in The Salt Lake Tribune, standing in support of all families and against hate, writes Hayley Miller on the HRC Blog.
“As the harmful and divisive World Congress of Families descends upon Salt Lake City, we stand in support of all families,” the ad reads. “ Hate is not an American value, it has no place in Salt Lake City. We fundamentally reject the World Congress of Families and its destructive agenda.”
The ad features the name of 14,000 Americans who added their names to HRC’s action to stand up for all families and against WCF.
Active across five continents, WCF has organized large international “pro-family” conferences that bring together a wide range of vehemently anti-LGBT activists. WCF’s activities range from holding conferences in Nigeria focused on denying rights to LGBT people to working to silence the Russian LGBT community.
“The best way to combat the hateful messages of rabidly anti-equality groups like the World Congress of Families and their affiliates is to simply let their track record speak for itself,” said HRC President Chad Griffin said earlier this year. “Try as they may to mask their views in sunshine and rainbows, their positions and support for policies that target and marginalize LGBT people and incite animus around the world are undeniable. As many Utahns have come to agree, LGBT people are their friends, family and neighbors and they deserve to be treated with love and respect. As we stand with these Utahns in support of families, the definition of family for WCF and other American extremists is divisive and dangerous, as it actively excludes.”
A transgender woman in New Jersey has filed suit accusing a Walmart store and one of its managers of firing her due to anti-trans bias, after instances of harassment that saw her called “he/she” and “that fucking tranny.”
The woman, Samantha Azzarano, began working at a Walmart in Deptford, N.J., in September 2012, ThinkProgress reports. The following January, she told a manager that she is transgender, and later that year she began presenting in her female identity at work, and had the name on her ID badge changed to Samantha, replacing her birth name.
According to her suit, filed October 2 in Camden County Superior Court, there were no problems with Azzarano’s job performance, and no coworkers complained about her until manager Sheena Wyckoff joined Azzarano’s team in January 2014. Wyckoff, the suit says, referred to Azzarano as “Samantha, Robert … he/she … whatever” and “that fucking tranny.”
Wyckoff also began unjustly reprimanding Azzarano, yelling at her, and accusing her of undermining Wyckoff’s authority, according to the suit. In a meeting with a team leader, Wyckoff told Azzarano, “We are always walking on eggshells for you,” the filing states.
Wyckoff obviously “had a problem with Samantha being Samantha,” Azzarano’s lawyer, Kevin M. Costello, told ThinkProgress. He noted that the use of the term “tranny” was particularly objectionable. “It’s as unacceptable as a racial epithet to describe a black person,” he said.
Azzarano says she complained to a higher manager, who failed to inform the human resources department about the problems. Azzarano then went to human resources herself, after which Wyckoff warned her not to go to higher management again. In December 2014, Azzarano was fired, “ostensibly, for conduct that she had been performing since July of 2013,” although such conduct was “allowed, and encouraged” in other departments, according to the suit.
“Any proffered reason by the defendants for the termination would be pretext,” the suit says. “The plaintiff was terminated for her transgender status,” in violation of New Jersey’s antidiscrimination law. The suit accuses Walmart of violating this law and Wyckoff of aiding and abetting in the discrimination, and Azzarano seeks “compensatory and punitive damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, enhanced attorneys’ fees, equitable back pay, equitable front pay and equitable reinstatement,” reports legal news website Law360.
At least two other major discrimination suits have been filed against Walmart recently. One alleges denial of benefits to same-sex spouses of employees, while the other claims racial and age-related discrimination.
New York City will host WorldPride in 2019, it has been confirmed – 50 years on from the Stonewall riots.
The city has been chosen as the latest host of the international LGBT Pride event, which celebrates equality in cities around the world.
WorldPride was last held in 2014 in Toronto, and has previously been held in Rome, Jerusalem and London.
However, the organisers revealed this week that WorldPride will be heading back to the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement in New York, to mark 50 years since the Stonewall Riots.
The Stonewall riots took place in 1969 to protest police brutality and crackdowns on LGBT people – with some of the first Pride marches beginning on the anniversary in 1970.
David Schneider of NYC Pride said: “The Stonewall Uprising is considered the most significant event that ignited the modern LGBT rights movement, so it makes perfect sense to bring WorldPride to the birthplace of Pride in 2019.
“We are so grateful that our fellow Pride organizers from across the globe have chosen New York City for this momentous occasion.”
An upcoming gallery exhibit at the Occidental Center for the Arts (OCA) will feature two nationally and internationally known sculptors Bruce Johnson. (www.formandenergy.com) and, Riis Burwell, (www.RiisBurwell.com) . The work of these two sculptors has a synergy derived from their similar response to the energy of the natural world. Johnson works primarily in wood and Burwell works in various metals. The juried paintings that accompany the sculpture exhibit are selected to enhance the abstract forms created by these two sculptors. The harmony between paintings and sculptures makes this show a viewer’s delight.
Bruce Johnson has installed his work in such far-away places as Italy, Spain, Taiwan, and Alaska. For a look at his local installations, Bruce Johnson’s large-scale redwood sculptures can be seen at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, at the Santa Rosa Hyatt Hotel’s garden walk, and in front of the OCA. To read about his abundant experience and prolific work, go to: http://formandenergy.com/new/resume/ The OCA gallery exhibit will feature his smaller, but equally unique sculptures. His work with salvaged old growth redwood has made him acutely aware that he uses uniquely beautiful and rapidly vanishing material. While it may appear that he has made little intervention with the wood, such is not the case. Every surface is worked and every texture is intentional. He views each sculpture as a small act of preservation.
Riis Burwell has several large scale installations in Hong Kong and in distant places such as London and Boston. To view his monumental size works locally, visit the Santa Rosa Hyatt Hotel’s garden walk and the Sonoma County Airport, as well as the front of the PG&E building and at the Manly Honda dealership on Corby Avenue. His table-top-size work can be seen at Arthaus Gallery in San Francisco, and will be the principle size exhibited at the OCA. He also creates wall sculptures, and these can be viewed on his web site at http://www.riisburwell.com/gallery/#/wall/ Burwell does not cast any part of a sculpture, but rather hand-fabricates all shapes for each particular piece. He finds that metals—bronze, steel, stainless steel, and aluminum– are utilitarian yet graceful, strong yet yieldingly flexible to the well-trained artisan, and have the ability to evoke a variety of textures through surface treatment: from naturally rusted to smooth and gleaming; from a soft natural patina to deep brown or black.
The juror for this extraordinary show is Paul Mahder, owner of the expansive, new Paul Mahder Gallery in downtown Healdsburg. An artist photographer himself, Paul began his gallery directorship career in San Francisco. In 2001, he became the founding director of the Blue Room Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery that soon became one of the largest and most respected galleries in San Francisco.
For over 13 years, Paul Mahder has represented established and mid-career artists from around the world. (www.PaulMahderGallery.com).
The OCA is a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation and all proceeds go toward the continuation and expansion of the Center’s public-service mission. The gallery is located at 3850 Doris Murphy Ct, Occidental, off of Bohemian Highway near the intersection with Graton Road. (707) 874-9392. Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted.
An artists’ reception will be held on November 6, Friday, from 5-7 p.m. Wine and appetizers will be served. Donations appreciated. The exhibit will continue from November 6 through January 3. For this exhibit, the gallery will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Jonathan Crutchley, founding partner and owner of the world’s largest gay brands that includes Manhunt and Jack’d, has joined the advisory board of The National Coalition of Rent Boys & Allies, an organization advocating for the legal rights of male escort workers. The group formed in response to the Aug. 25 raid on Rentboy.com in New York City by the NYPD and Homeland Security.
“It is no business of the government at any level— be it federal, state, or local— to enter the bedrooms of consenting adults and tell them what they may or may not do within that private setting,” asserts Mr. Crutchley on his decision to join NCORB. Last week, he made a financial contribution to the legal defense team representing Jeffrey Hurant, founder of Rentboy.com. “Such matters are certainly not the business of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created after September 11, 2001 to protect citizens from foreign terrorists.”
Federal agents joined the NYPD in shutting down Rentboy on the assertion that Rentboy was using interstate commerce to violate local New York laws.
Mr. Crutchley is not alone in believing that federal agents violated the constitutional rights of U. S. citizens. The editorial board of The New York Times even called the raid ‘peculiar’.
“I founded my company in the name of individual privacy and sexual freedom,” Mr. Crutchley continues. “In the name of individual liberty, the Federal government needs to do the job it was given to do by the Constitution.”
The National Coalition of Rent Boys & Allies was created as a not for profit corporation by attorney Norm Kent, a well known First Amendment advocate.
“The Department of Homeland Security has initiated a questionable legal action which has terrorized thousands of men who were lawfully trading their time and companionship for legitimate compensation,” said Mr. Kent via a press release issued earlier this week. “There is a need for these men to have a collective voice and open forum to speak out against the raid and for their rights.”
NCORB aims to fill the need. Its website contains a media outpost of news articles, columns, reactions and information about the Rentboy raid. The site will also soon provide unfettered access to legal advisories and ‘know your rights’ forums for rent boys remaining in the industry, as well as regular updates on the status of the federal case against the principals of the Rent boy prosecution.
“Public pressure may not stop the prosecution, but it will certainly let the US attorney know where the LGBT community stands on targeting our population and our partners,” says Mr. Kent.
Mr. Crutchley joins Mr. Howard Andrew of Fab Scout Entertainment, an agency that represents many of the world’s leading gay adult talent, on the advisory board of NCORB.