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Schiff inspires, candidates charm at California Democratic Convention; Buttigieg surges in Iowa

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For several minutes on Saturday, the California Democratic universe stopped jousting for their favorite candidates and gave a rousing vote of confidence to Rep. Adam Schiff, who is steadily leading the House Intelligence Committee’s historic impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.

Introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal as “our protector,” Schiff opened his remarks to the three-day California Democratic Party (CDP) Endorsing Convention in Long Beach by acknowledging the one minute/20 seconds standing ovation.

“I feel like I should just stop there,” Schiff said wryly in a strained voice. “You will forgive me if I’m a bit exhausted. It’s been an eventful week.”

Schiff has been sounding the alarm about the Trump presidency since before he became chair of the Intelligence Committee, recalling to the Los Angeles Blade the despondency he saw Election Night 2016 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “The reality of the next two years proved every bit as bad, in some ways worse, than what we feared,” Schiff said Nov. 2018. “It really takes your breath away.”

It’s gotten worse, Schiff told convention delegates. “Our democracy is at risk, more so now than any time in my life,” Schiff said.

“Two years ago, I stood before you and I urged you to resist and you did. But we are more than a resistance now – we are a majority. We are a majority in one House and we will become a majority in the other and we will send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from,” Schiff said.

“The most grave threat to the life and health of our democracy comes from within, from a president without ethical compass, without an understanding of or devotion to our Constitution and the beautiful series of checks and balances it established, setting ambition against ambition so no one branch of government could overwhelm another. And most importantly, so no despotism could take root,” said Schiff.

“There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes he is above the law,” said Schiff.

That has been a theme of presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris who consistently says, “justice is on the ballot.

Out Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Sen. Kamala Harris, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur (Photo courtesy Equality California) 

But Harris’ campaign has been struggling of late — including a drop to 3% in the most recent Iowa poll that caused some buzz among longtime political consultants that she should drop out and save herself the embarrassment of losing in the early states and limping into her home state’s Super Tuesday Primary. However, Harris and her campaign seemed energized at the convention, including an appearance Friday night at a “Dems, Drinks and Drag Queens” party sponsored by the LGBT Caucus and Equality California. “I don’t know what you’ve been told, Kamala is strong and bold,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters he plans on campaigning for her in Iowa.

In fact, all the headlines about Harris’ flagging campaign have caused something of a backlash, especially among black women who are angry that only Harris is being targeted and pressured to drop out among all the other lower-performing candidates. Harris has been endorsed by Higher Heights for America PAC, an organization “dedicated to electing more progressive Black women” that is holding several mobilization events for her in Atlanta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina following Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. The Friday, Nov. 22 event features LGBTQ icon actress Sheryl Lee Ralph.

 

Harris was the first of eight presidential candidates to take the stage at the CDP/Univision forum Saturday afternoon, which was broadcast and live streamed in both English and Spanish.

Many Democrats were confused and angry  that former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren skipped the endorsing convention. Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos told the forum audience that their absence illustrated a broader problem with Democrats because “they know they’re going to get about 70% of the Latino vote and they just take it for granted.”

Taking the Latino vote for granted in California is especially unwise now since this year marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of Prop 187,  the Republican anti-immigration initiative that dramatically changed the California political landscape. Latino voters surged in response and the GOP started its steady decline — registering now as a third party behind No Party Preference among California’s 20,328,636 registered voters, 44.1% of whom are Democrats. 

Turnout is another matter, according to PPIC. “Voter turnout continues to lag among nonwhite Californians,” PPIC reported last August.  “Our surveys over the past year indicate that 45% of Latino adult citizens, 53% of Asian American adult citizens, and 57% of African American adult citizens are likely to vote, compared to 68% of non-Hispanic white adult citizens…. Latinos—California’s largest racial/ethnic group—represent 35% of the adult population, but they account for only 19% of those most likely to vote. Asian Americans comprise 15% of the adult population and 13% of likely voters. The share of African American likely voters matches their representation in the adult population (6%).”

PPIC apparently does not consider California’s LGBTQ population a demographic worth counting.

The need to reach and inspire Latino voters is considerable since California starts vote-by-mail on Feb. 3, for the March 3 Super Tuesday Primary, with nearly 500 delegates at stake. Feb. 3 is the same day as the Iowa Caucuses – and California Democrats have long helped phone bank, fund and advocate for their candidates in the Nevada Democratic Caucus, this year on Feb. 22.

In addition to the CDP/Univision forum, Harris, out South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former HUD Sec. Julian Castro and investor-philanthropist Tom Steyer participated in a 90-minute forum at Cal State Los Angeles on Sunday, which was sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, the California Latino Legislative Caucus and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Univision smartly began their forum with a question from Yvette Mojica, a student at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, who wanted to know what Harris would do to help her feel safe about going back to school without being afraid of being shot.

Harris, who has herself experienced the sudden threat of violence, addressed the trauma that’s now the norm among school children.

“I’m sick of what happened to you, to your classmates, I’m sick. I’m fed up with it and it’s got to stop,” said Harris, adding that even elementary students think shooter drills are “normal.”

“And these tragedies keep happening, which tell them that they need to pay attention,” Harris said. And “instead of opening their minds to the wonders of science and art and math, half their brains are worried about who’s going to come bustin’ through the door. It is traumatizing our children and it’s got to stop.”

Harris said that as president, she would take executive action if Congress didn’t present her with a bill in her first 100 days.

Harris segued from mass shootings to the trauma experienced by children afraid to come home to find their undocumented parents taken away by ICE.

And with that, Ramos asked the question that Joe Biden probably expected would be asked: “Can we have an honest conversation about Obama’s legacy? Of course, he gave us Obamacare and DACA and the Paris Agreement. And of course, the country was going through a terrible economic situation, I agree with that. However, he deported more than three million people. Was that a mistake? Do you think President Obama made a mistake?”

Harris probably expected that question, too – but not framed in a way that would create a sound bite around the word “mistake.”

She dodged and stalled. “I think that President Obama did many great things and is probably one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had,” Harris said as the audience applauded.

“I think many people agree with that but he deported three million people,” Ramos said.

Harris shifted to how, as California attorney general, she disagreed with the policy and “informed California law enforcement that ICE detainers are not mandatory.”

“So, do you think he made a mistake?” Ramos asked

“Because I was aware that there were people who were by ICE’s own definition, non-criminals, that were being deported. That was wrong,” Harris said. “I disagreed with it and that’s why I issued that policy for the sheriffs and the district attorneys of California telling them that these were not mandatory.”

That Harris had not used the word “mistake” was underscored when Ramos asked the same question of popular Bernie Sanders, who is the largest recipient of Latino contributions and drew crowds of young Latinos in LA – and Sanders answered quickly with a simple “yes.”

Sanders then pivoted. “What I’m going to tell you is in fact what the American people want, and they want to stop this ugly demonization of the immigrant community and the racism that is coming from the White House,” Sanders said against the larger backdrop of calls for the ouster of white nationalist/deportation mastermind Stephen Miller.

Sanders pledged to reestablish legal status for 1.8 million “Dreamers” on Day 1 of his presidency.

Harris, however, ended the day with the endorsement from the highly regarded, 10,000-member United Farm Workers. She had already been personally endorsed by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, who co-founded UFW with Cesar Chavez and Gilbert Padilla.

Sanders, who emphasized that his health is good after his heart attack, came out of the convention with the endorsement of the California Young Democrats and the earlier endorsement of the powerful California Nurses Association, affiliated with the National Nurses United.

Meanwhile, during his time in LA, Sanders also endorsed the Rental Affordability Act, a ballot initiative by AIDS Healthcare Foundation on the Nov. 2020 ballot.

The biggest surprise of the convention was the news after his forum performance that Pete Buttigieg had surged to the lead in the Des Moines Iowa poll. He jumped to 25% in the new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers — a 16-point increase since the September CNN/DMR poll.

There was a three-way battle for second place with Elizabeth Warren registering 16%, and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coming in at 15%.Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar jumped to 6%, while Harris, Steyer, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang all ranked at 3%.

Interestingly, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has not officially entered the race — got 2%. In fact, Bloomberg created the other major surprise of the weekend by apologizing for his “stop-and-frisk” policing policy during an appearance at a black megachurch in Brooklyn on Sunday.  “I’m sorry that we didn’t,” Bloomberg said. “But I can’t change history. However, today, I want you to know that I realize back then, I was wrong.”

Adding another surprise on Monday — Bloomberg received the endorsement of Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin.

“He’s got what it takes and he’s got the resources to take it to Trump,” Benjamin told AP  in an interview. “I believe firmly that Mike Bloomberg can win. I think resources are going to matter.”

Buttigieg was circumspect after hearing the polling news in Long Beach, saying they were “extremely encouraging.” But, he added, “We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground.”

To some pundits, Buttigieg’s surge means Iowa voters are favoring a more centrist agenda, underscored by the new presidential ambitions of Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who attended the Long Beach convention, got a few nods and didn’t get booed.

Last Friday, former President Barack Obama expressed concern to a clutch of wealthy liberal donors about more progressive Democratic candidates getting out over their skiis with “big structural” change proposals on health care and immigration issues.

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

And Buttigieg fits right in that scenario during the Univision forum.

After a few pleasant exchange in Spanish — Buttigieg speaks seven languages — KMEX anchor  Leon Krauze asked him about Bloomberg and Patrick getting in the race. “Some seem to doubt whether the current group of candidates is strong enough to beat President Trump. Is it?

“First of all, I think every one of the candidates competing on the democratic side would make a monumentally better president than the one we have right now,” Buttigieg said, adding that he thinks he’s “the best person to go into that competition, but the job is for each of us to go out there and prove it.”

Buttigieg said it was not his “place to characterize somebody else’s plan,” regarding Warren saying she wouldn’t not push for Medicare-for-all until the third year of her presidency. But he still has concerns about commanding people leave their private plans.

“I would rather allow Americans to make the decision for themselves, so the idea of our plan, Medicare-for-all who want it, is we make it available for everybody, but we trust you to decide whether and when you want it,” he said. “And my thinking is if this is the best plan for everybody, then everybody will choose it and it will become the single payer. If, on the other hand, there remains some Americans — I’m thinking, for example, about a lot of union members who negotiated good private plans who would prefer to keep their plan — I’m not going to command them to abandon that plan.”

Buttigieg was also asked about Obama’s apparent advocacy for centrism.

“Here’s what I agree with is the idea that the role of activists is to move the country as far forward as possible and to tug the politicians forward,” Buttigieg said. “That’s different from the role of those seeking office and holding office who have to balance the concerns of different constituencies. But I also believe that being bold and having big ideas should not be measured by how many people you alienate. Because the things I’m proposing, for example, it’s true that they’re not as extreme as some of the others, but they would still make me the most progressive president of my lifetime.”

Buttigieg said:

“The most important thing is to put forward the policies that we believe make the most sense. But also, I think this is very important — right now, there is an American majority ready to back us up, not only on issues like minimum wage and family leave where people have trusted Democrats for a long time, but in the areas where Democrats had been on defense in the past — guns, immigration, healthcare. We should do everything we can to hold that majority together, galvanize, not polarize it. And if we can do that, and I’m talking not just about how to win elections, but how to govern, if we can hold that majority together in a unifying way for a divided country, we have the opportunity to deliver the boldest, biggest changes that we have seen in longer than I had been alive.”

 

Buttigieg said that, as a veteran, his foreign policy involving committing American troops to conflicts abroad would be “based on the need to save American lives, the knowledge that there is no reasonable alternative, and the network of alliances that helps save American lives and preserve American interests. All of those things have to go together.”

The “real tragedy” of Trump’s “betrayal in Syria is that what you had there was preventing endless war.”

Buttigieg also addressed drug cartels killing Americans in Mexico, border security, the cost of caregiving, and, mass school shootings.

“Finally, Mayor, over the last ten years around 150 shootings have been committed by children, teenagers, minors, 17 and younger. How do we keep guns outside the access of children, at least children?” Krauze asked.

“This is something that has affected my community,” Buttigieg said, referring to South Bend, not Pulse nightclub. “The darkest moments I think for most mayors are the moments when you find yourself consoling parents of children who have been killed or teenagers who have been killed in violence and often it is also teenagers perpetrating gun violence. It is why the time has come to insist that it is a matter of national security that we stop allowing the Second Amendment to be distorted into an excuse to do nothing whatsoever when it comes to common sense gun policy.”

“The things I trained on in the military have no business being sold for profit in American communities,” Buttigieg said. “They’re weapons of war.”

With 90% of Americans, including most gun owners, including most Republicans, supporting background checks and the red flag laws, why has Congress not acted?

“This is what tells us that our democracy is broken and that gerrymandering, money, and politics and the other distorting forces that make our democracy less democratic need to be confronted and need to be reformed to deal with this and every issue,” Buttigieg said. “Everybody can have a water balloon, nobody can have a nuclear weapon. Anyone can have a slingshot, nobody can have a predator drone. So this is not some new constitutional idea we are asserting. It’s just that we’ve got to decide where to draw the line and we need to draw the line tighter than we have so far.”

Buttigieg was not asked if Obama made a mistake deporting 3 million people.

While Buttigieg may have charmed Democrats in Long Beach — including former Rep. Katie Hill who supports Harris but likes Buttigieg — he still has a major problem with black voters as illustrated by the NBC News headline on Sunday: “Pete Buttigieg is struggling with black voters — and not just because he’s gay.

Janell Ross reported:

“ROCK HILL, S.C. — On a recent Sunday morning, Pete Buttigieg stood before rows of black churchgoers, a group he and the other Democratic 2020 candidates must win over for a reasonable chance of capturing their party’s presidential nomination.

“I know what it is to look on the news and see your rights up for debate,” he told the crowd gathered in the sanctuary of an African Methodist Episcopal events center in Rock Hill. “I also know what it is to find acceptance where you least expect it and to find compassion when you most need it.”

As Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, highlighted his personal knowledge of the marginalized American experience, and as he quoted verses from the books of Proverbs and Matthew, he did not overtly describe himself as gay or mention the husband he adores. He was trying to connect with a group of potential voters who, on the whole, have been skeptical of his candidacy.”

“The true Pete Buttigieg test, the one he’s unquestionably failing,” Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist, “has to do with the résumé and the issues.”

“Buttigieg must contend with questions about his record on race, police accountability and crime reduction in South Bend, which came to the forefront after police there shot and killed a black man in June. The city’s violent crime rate is double the average of comparably sized cities. And the number of shooting victims in the city has nearly doubled since 2018. Buttigieg was also criticized for firing the city’s first black police chief, who viewed himself as working to expose and remove racist white officers, in 2012, the year Buttigieg took office. Buttigieg is widely perceived as not having handled the situation well,” Ross reports.

That, and Biden scored 21 to 39 points ahead of Buttigieg in a series of South Carolina Democratic polls last October.

On Monday, two days before the MSNBC/Washington Post Democratic Primary debate, Buttigieg is in Atlanta with an appearance at Morehouse College where he will have the opportunity to explain the campaign screw up of putting the photo of a black woman and young boy on the cover of Buttigieg’s Douglas Plan to combat racial inequality, which the candidates billed as a “comprehensive investment in the empowerment of black America” —only to discover the photo was a Kenyan woman portrayed in a stock photo.

“This is not ok or necessary,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Somali-born refugee.

The campaign apologized and said it was “selected while a contractor was running our site.”

There are other issues dogging the campaign. But Buttigieg’s “bold new plan to grow paths to opportunity for all Americans through more affordable college as well as through workforce development and training opportunities,” announced Monday, plus his pledge to make a historic $50 billion commitment to HBCUs, may prompt young black voters to listen to his plans and not make the 37-year old candidate’s mistakes emblematic of his character, his intellect or his ability to compete with others to defeat Trump.

The California Democratic Endorsing Convention ended with only a handful of state and federal seats pulled from the Consent Calendar for further consideration. There was no endorsement in CD 25 in the contest to replace former Rep. Katie Hill because there was not enough time under party rules to consider Assemblymember Christy Smith and her apparent likely Democratic opponent Cenk Uygur who Equality California and others have accused of using anti-LGBTQ, sexist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric in multiple videos posted on Twitter. This could be an expensive distraction from keeping the seats Democrats flipped in 2018 out of the hands of Republican Steve Knight who is fighting to get that seat back.

If Donald Trump isn’t impeached and removed from office, 2020 could prove to be the most expensive year for elections in America history.

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Los Angeles

Tens of thousands at LA Pride Parade & Block Party in Hollywood

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.

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KABC interviews actor George Takei's (seated on trunk lid) husband Brad Takei at LA Pride Parade on Sunday. Takei and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley served as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade in Hollywood. (Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – The 54th annual LA Pride Parade kicked off Sunday morning as tens of thousands of Angelenos and visitors took over the streets of Hollywood, continuing a two-day celebration of Pride Month 2024.

Broadcast live and online by KABC 7, The band Mariachi Arcoiris kicked off the 2024 LA Pride Parade with a rousing performance in Hollywood.

KABC also caught up with grand marshal and “Star Trek” legend George Takei accompanied by his husband Brad Takei.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, then headed north on Highland, east on Hollywood Boulevard, south on Cahuenga Boulevard and back to Sunset.

Takei, who served as the Icon Grand Marshal told KABC: “As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all.” 

Takei’s husband Brad compared him to the late Betty White joking about the actor being 87 years old having just had a birthday this past Spring.

KABC noted that Professional wrestler Cassandro, El Exotico served as the Legacy Grand Marshal, while Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley — the agency’s first openly gay chief — was the Community Grand Marshal.

“These individuals epitomize this year’s theme of Power in Pride,’ not just through their own achievements, but through their unwavering commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility,” Gerald Garth, board president of event sponsor Christopher Street West, said in a statement. “As this year’s grand marshals, they embody the essence of empowerment, showing us that our differences are not obstacles but sources of strength. Together, they inspire us to embrace our identities, break barriers.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Blade on Friday, Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Kristin M. Crowley expressed her excitement about participating in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday.

“This feels like a whole other level, especially being part of the parade as a grand marshal of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I have been proud to participate in the pride parade over the past few years, but this is extra special—being able to be out front and represent the department and our community as a whole.”

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.

The LA Pride Block Party followed the parade beginning at noon and continuing until 8 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Gower streets. The free event included vendor and information booths, a beer garden, food trucks and live entertainment.

Additional reporting by KABC 7 LA

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Los Angeles

LAFD Chief Kristin M. Crowley is a LA Pride Parade grand marshal

The Out LAFD Chief will lead department personnel in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday June 9, with the theme “Power in Pride”

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City of Los Angeles Fire Chief Kristin Crowley (center) & Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations John Drake, (back row far left) visit firefighters assigned to Fire Station 29 in Hancock Park. (Photo Credit: LAFD)

LOS ANGELES – In an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Blade, Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Kristin M. Crowley expressed her excitement about participating in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday.

“This feels like a whole other level, especially being part of the parade as a grand marshal of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I have been proud to participate in the pride parade over the past few years, but this is extra special—being able to be out front and represent the department and our community as a whole.”

A firefighter of over 25 years who took the oath of office on March 25, 2022, Chief Crowley leads a diverse team of approximately 3,400 sworn personnel and over 350 civilians. Her leadership extends across the vast and varied landscape of Los Angeles, where the LAFD responds to over 1,300 emergency calls daily.

(Photo Credit: LAFD)

Chief Crowley emphasized the importance of visibility and community support, especially in the current political climate.

“The political environment right now definitely heightens my sensitivity to the issue, and visibility is even more important. What I love about the pride parade, especially from the lens of being in the parade, is that you get to see the joy light up in people’s eyes and feel all the support… I especially love seeing families who come out to support our community. People are showing up. It’s purposeful action; they are showing up to celebrate pride.”

Chief Crowley has been with her wife for 20 years, and together they have three teenage daughters. Her wife, a retired firefighter, met Crowley on the job. Their family’s support has been a cornerstone of her journey, both personally and professionally. While Chief Crowley told The Blade that she feels supported in her life as a queer wife and mother of three, her journey to this moment has not been without challenges.

“I was not comfortable in my skin for a long time,” she said. “It took several years at the department for me to come out. Being able to be visible, comfortable in my skin, and represent who I am is significant. People at the department were supportive of my coming out, and now I can be open about my marriage and my family.”

In addition to her role as Fire Chief, Crowley has been instrumental in the LAFD’s youth development programs and various leadership roles within the department.

She has served on the executive boards of the Chief Officers’ Association and The Women in the Fire Service, chaired the Fire Code Committee for Los Angeles, and is an instructor and facilitator at the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy.

As she prepares to march in the pride parade, Chief Crowley looks forward to participating in a celebration she has long held dear. “I take this as a humongous honor and can’t wait to be able to celebrate with everyone on Sunday,” she said.

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Los Angeles

RuPaul’s Drag Race Queens hit the Beverly Center

100% of the proceeds from OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev will be donated to OUTWORDS, a LA local nonprofit organization

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OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev - Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Mike Pingel | LOS ANGELES – The second annual OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev event hit the Beverly Center at 8500 Beverly Boulevard this Saturday for an afternoon of pride experiences with a discussion and special drag performances by Alyssa Edwards, Plane Jane, Laganja Estranja, and Plastique Tiara.

Pride @ Bev offered plenty of freebies, photo ops, and interactive activities like Drag Bingo hosted by Athena Kills, a Beauty Demo hosted by MakeUp Forever, and a Glam Station by Sephora. There were also Photo Moments, a VIP Lounge with bar and bites, and a chance to spin a Beverly Center Wheel for a chance to win VIP passes to the OUTLOUD Music Festival and WeHo Pride. VIP is completely sold out. The only way to get these passes now is to win them.

100% of the proceeds from OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev will be donated to OUTWORDS, a LA local nonprofit organization that captures, preserves, and shares the stories of LGBTQIA2S+ elders to build community and catalyze social change.

OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

OUTLOUD Music Festival, created by Jeff Consoletti, launched in 2020 as a ten-episode series on Facebook in lieu of Pride Celebrations happening in cities across the country due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, quickly becoming one of the first major virtual LGBTQ+ showcases.

Since its debut, OUTLOUD garnered over nearly two billion media impressions and won several industry-topping awards including multiple SHORTY Awards for Best Use of Facebook and Best Use of Twitch, a MARCOM Award & a Cynopsis Digital Award for BEST LGBTQ Series.

Follow @OfficiallyOUTLOUD #WeAreOUTLOUD. http://weareoutloud.com.

The Beverly Center:

Located at the edge of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, Beverly Center features the best in luxury and contemporary retail, along with delectable street level restaurants with everything from modern fresh favorites to fast-casual eateries. Home to over 90 stores, all beneath an impressive skyline, Beverly Center is anchored by Bloomingdale’s & Macy’s and is home to L.A.’s largest collection of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Ferragamo, and trending fashion brands including Mango, Zara and H&M.

For more information, visit beverlycenter.com.

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Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist.

His official website is www.mikepingel.com

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.


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LA Pride Parade announces grand marshals, KABC 7 to broadcast

The parade route begins at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue ending at Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards in Hollywood

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Actor George Takei, wrestler Cassandro El Exotico and LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley will serve as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade. (Photo montage: LA Blade)

LOS ANGELES – Actor George Takei, wrestler Cassandro El Exotico and LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley will serve as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade, LA Pride has announced.

The 2024 LA Pride Parade and block party is slated for Sunday, June 9, in Hollywood, and ABC7 is returning as the official broadcast and streaming partner.

According to KABC 7 the parade will have three grand marshals. Takei is designated the “Icon Grand Marshal.” As an actor he was most known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series and films. But he is also an accomplished activist for social justice and LGBTQ+ causes.

“To be recognized in this way by the LGBTQ+ community, an extraordinary group of individuals who have fought tirelessly for equality, is truly overwhelming. As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all,” Takei said in a statement.

Cassandro El Exotico is designated the “Legacy Grand Marshal.” Born Saul Armendariz, he is known as a Mexican professional wrestler known for breaking barriers in the world of lucha libre by embracing his openly gay identity in the ring. The film “Cassandro” about his life starring Gael Garcia Bernal was released last year.

Crowley will serve as the “Community Grand Marshal.” She was named Los Angeles Fire Department chief in March 2022, becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position.

ABC7 will broadcast the 54th annual LA Pride Parade on June 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The coverage will be hosted by Ellen Leyva and “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez, with David Gonzalez, Sophie Flay and Karl Schmid reporting from the parade route.

Graphic via LA Pride

The parade route begins at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue heading north, then east onto Hollywood Boulevard, then south onto Cahuenga Boulevard, ending at Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards.

After the parade, the LA Pride Block Party starts at 12 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard.

Latin superstar Ricky Martin was previously announced as the headliner for the Pride in the Park festival the night before the parade, Saturday, June 8.

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Los Angeles

LA’s lost an iconic entertainment reporter, Sam Rubin dies at 64

Rubin was a longtime fixture in the entertainment landscape beloved by celebrities and the public alike & spending his career solely at KTLA

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Sam Rubin (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

LOS ANGELES – A beloved and respected member of the entertainment press corps in Southern California, KTLA’s Sam Rubin, died Friday morning at the age of 64 after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest.

A source close to the station confirmed to Variety that Rubin died at his home in Brentwood of a heart attack after doing his regular Hollywood news segments on KTLA’s 7-9 a.m. “Morning News” program on Friday.

Rubin was a longtime fixture in the entertainment landscape beloved by celebrities and the public alike and with the rarity of spending his professional career solely at KTLA.

In a statement to Variety, Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, called the entertainment news anchor “an icon” for the region and the industry.

“Sam was an icon in Los Angeles and the entertainment industry and he was a beloved member of our Nexstar Nation. My prayers are with his family and the KTLA family as we mourn his passing. He will be missed.”

KTLA reported:

Rubin joined KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles in 1991, where he instantly made an impact with his unmatched, encyclopedic knowledge of film and television. Over the years, his reports and interviews informed and entertained millions of television viewers in L.A. and beyond.

“The Sam that you saw on the air is the Sam that was off the air,” Rubin’s longtime colleague and friend Frank Buckley said in announcing his passing on live television. “To all of us he shared his mornings with on television, and to those he worked with behind the scenes at KTLA, we will not forget him.”

According to his KTLA biography:

Since joining the show in 1991, he has established a reputation as someone who goes beyond the entertainment headlines of the day. His insights and exploration of the deeper meaning and impact of the stories within the entertainment industry generate conversation within the business, as well as outside it.

Sam is a multiple-Emmy winner; has received the Golden Mike Award for best entertainment reporter; has received a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association; and has been named best entertainment reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Sam was honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition with its 2013 Impact Award for outstanding integrity in broadcast journalism.

He is the author of two published books, and has seen his work published in both print and online around the world. Sam regularly appears on BBC television and radio in the United Kingdom, and is a regular contributor to Triple M radio and Channel 9 television network in Australia.

Sam is one of the founding members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest organization of film and television critics in the United States with more than 200 members. In 1996, the BFCA began the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, now regarded in the same tier as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. The 2013 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, hosted by Sam, was seen in more than 2 million homes, making it the No. 1 rated show in Los Angeles and other major cities. It was also the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter that evening and generated more than 500 million impressions online.

Sam is the owner of SRE, Inc., a television production company that has produced more than 200 hours of broadcast and cable programming, including several “Live From” red carpet shows and 120 episodes of the talk show “Hollywood Uncensored.”

Off the air, Sam supports various non-profit organizations including putting together a KTLA team for the annual MS 150 Bay to Bike Tour, the premiere cycling event in Southern California raising funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis. He also is interested in revitalizing Los Angeles schools, including support for literacy programs and events such as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Sam received his Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies and rhetoric at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Sam lived in Brentwood with his wife Leslie and their four children.

Sam’s son, Colby, joined KTLA 5 Morning News on Monday, May 13, 2024 to reflect on his father’s passing and share a message to him.

Celebrating KTLA 5 Morning News’ 30th anniversary with Sam Rubin:

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles Tourism joins with LGBTQ+ folks to celebrate Pride

LA Pride returns, promising an incredible lineup of events, including LA Pride in the Park headlined by Ricky Martin

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Photo Credit: Discover Los Angeles/LA Tourism Board

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Tourism will join the 54th annual LA Pride festivities this June through its support of the organization and its annual lineup of events. LA Pride stands as one of the largest Pride celebrations in the United States and the world.

Throughout LA Pride, local Angelenos and travelers can secure a nearby hotel with the best available rates and enjoy welcome amenities, discounts and more at select properties.

“LA Pride beautifully captures the spirit of our City of Angels with its focus on unity, inclusivity, and self-expression,” said Adam Burke, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “We are incredibly proud to invite both our fellow Angelenos as well as travelers from around the world to join us in celebrating our LGBTQ+ community.”

LA Pride returns, promising an incredible lineup of events, including LA Pride in the Park headlined by Ricky Martin, the LA Pride Parade & Block Party on Hollywood Boulevard, LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium and PRIDE is Universal

 

LA Pride in the Park will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2024 across more than 20 acres of lush green space at LA State Historic Park. The event will feature dozens of local and LGBTQ+ vendors, a huge variety of food & beverage, beer gardens and a special lineup. The global icon Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. As the first openly gay Latin artist to take center stage at LA Pride, this also marks Martin’s first-ever headliner Pride performance, anywhere.

The series of events during LA Pride includes the iconic LA Pride Parade which will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Hollywood Boulevard Area. Over 150 contingents will march this year, using the theme “Power in Pride.” The route will be along Hollywood Blvd, and surrounding streets. Those who can’t make it in person are able to watch a live broadcast on ABC7.

“LA Pride radiates a vibrant tapestry of acceptance, unity, and celebration year-round,” shared Gerald Garth, Board President, LA Pride/Christopher Street West. “It’s a testament to our city’s unwavering commitment to embrace diversity and foster an inclusive spirit that transcends boundaries.”

Additional top events during LA Pride include LA Pride in The Park, Parade Block Party, LGBTQ+ Night at Dodger Stadium and Pride is Universal. Read on for details on top events and hotel deals throughout Pride.

For more information about how to celebrate Pride in Los Angeles, visit DiscoverLosAngeles.com/GayLA.

LA PRIDE: EVENTS

LA Pride in The Park – June 8th

Returning to LA State Historic Park for a talented music line-up, dozens of food trucks, sponsor giveaways and activities and much more. LA Pride in The Park takes place on Saturday, June 8th. It’s all happening on over 20 acres of lush green space with a view of the DTLA skyline. Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. Tickets can be purchased here.

Parade Block Party – June 9th

Don’t forget the fun Parade Block Party on June 9th, a free Block Party adjacent to the Parade, open from mid-day and going into the evening. With a performance stage, large vendor village, food, pop-up bars, and more. Last year, 35,000 people enjoyed this free Parade “after-party,” don’t miss it! Talent and other announcements coming soon!

LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium – June 14th

Come watch the Dodgers take on the Kansas City Royals with LA Pride pre-game festivities featuring DJ party, and Pride merch for special ticket holders, only available at dodgers.com/lapride

Pride is Universal – June 15th

Our exclusive after-hours theme park takeover is a fan favorite. Pride is Universal will feature live DJs, Universal character meet-and-greets, photo ops, and more, with musical guests, drag performers and all new elements for this year.  Hours, details, and new features to be announced. Tickets go on sale soon.

LA PRIDE: STAY & SLAY

Visitors coming to Los Angeles to celebrate Pride from June 8-11 can “Stay and Slay” with a collection of hotel offers specially curated by Los Angeles Tourism to welcome revelers from around the world. Highlighted hotel offers are listed out below.

Dream Hollywood Hotel

Tucked among the scenic Hollywood Hills, Dream Hollywood boasts 178 playfully sophisticated guest rooms with subtle nods to the mid-century modern aesthetic iconic to LA. Featuring accommodations with unparalleled views, Tao, Beauty & Essex, and The Highlight Room, one of the LA’s swankiest rooftop pools. Book the best available rate here.

The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood

Exuding the energy of old Hollywood and walking distance to Sunset Blvd, the new Godfrey Hotel features one of the largest rooftops in Los Angeles, four on-site bars, various indoor-outdoor event spaces and About Last Knife, an energetic, chef-driven gastropub-meets-steakhouse. LA Pride Staycation: Celebrate love with The Godfrey and receive 15% off the best available rate here.

Hollywood Hotel – The Hotel of Hollywood

Contemporary accommodations meet quintessential Hollywood glamour at Hollywood Hotel. From a sparkling pool to the Route 66 Bistro Bar & Lounge, the historic Hollywood Hotel reflects classic movie star style in every sense. Visit hotel site for best available rate here.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

The Hollywood Roosevelt is a complete lifestyle destination, fusing entertainment, art, culture, design and music all around the property while providing a glimpse at its storied past. Visit hotel site for best available rate here.

Kimpton Everly Hollywood

Kimpton Everly Hollywood is a breath of fresh air in the midst of one of the world’s most storied neighborhoods. The sophisticated Hollywood Hills-infused residential vibe invites lingering and intimate interaction in the café, living room and skyline pool area. Book the hotel’s best available rate here.

Loews Hollywood Hotel

Loews Hollywood Hotel rises 20 floors above the famed intersection of Hollywood and Highland. Spectacular views of the iconic Hollywood sign and Los Angeles cityscape set the stage for 628 rooms including 113 spacious suites, as well as the rooftop pool. *Use CODE: PRIDE to receive 2 comp cocktails at H2 Kitchen & Bar and complimentary upgrade to a suite. Website here.

Mama Shelter

Designed by Thierry Gaugain to honor the beauty of the SoCal landscape, Mama Shelter LA features five floors of uniquely decorated rooms, each a cozy haven in itself. 70 rooms have king-size beds decked out in 5* linen – fit for a movie star! The hotel boasts one of LA’s best rooftop bars, while dining options will appeal to carnivores and vegans alike. View hotel site for best available rate here.

Sheraton Universal

Nestled below the Hollywood Hills, the Sheraton Universal Hotel is just steps away from Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk. Unwind at the poolside lounge or be dazzled with a 270-degree view of Hollywood from the 20-foot windows of the rooftop Starview Room. Book the hotel’s best available rate here.

Thompson Hollywood

Thompson Hollywood is a luxurious new hotel that brings elevated service, and laidback California cool to the heart of Hollywood. The hotel features 190 sophisticated guest rooms and 16 suites, a rooftop pool with sweeping views of Los Angeles, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The world-class culinary and nightlife destinations include the rooftop lounge Bar Lis, chef Lincoln Carson’s French-inspired Mes Amis, and The Terrace, which pairs European fare with Californian views. Use CODE: STAYPROUD to receive best available rate + bottle of wine + 10% donation to Hollywood LGBT Center. Website here.

Tommie Hollywood

Get comfy in a California way, at Tommie Hollywood. There’s a stylish rooftop pool, fitness center, and a terrace bar in the heart of Los Angeles. This 4-star hotel includes the latest restaurant by award winning chef, Wes Avila, Ka’teen. Use code: STAYPROUD to book the best available rate and receive a welcome amenity and bottle of wine, plus a 10% donation to Hollywood LGBT Center here.

W Hollywood Hotel & Residences

Welcome to the new Hollywood. W Hollywood brings together the magnetic spirit of the Golden Era, infused with epic innovation, elegance and excitement. Welcome backstage, where W guests are insiders in the vivacity of the spotlight. Receive 10% off hotel stay plus welcome amenity. Website here.

When you’re not celebrating LA pride at the parade or many events around the city, celebrate by visiting one of the many LGBTQ+ owned restaurants around Los Angeles. Start off in Casita Del Campo in Silverlake for Mexican dishes, make a stop Liberation Coffee House for a latte and end the night at n/naka which was featured in Season 1 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. n/naka is your ultimate destination for fine Japanese cuisine. View the full guide to LGBTQ owned restaurants in LA here.

For more information, visit discoverlosangeles.com, follow at facebook.com/DiscoverLosAngeles, or @discoverLA on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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Los Angeles

Ricky Martin will be the headliner for 2024 LA Pride in the Park

LA Pride in the Park will return to the Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday, June 8. Across 20 acres with a capacity for 25,000

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Photo Credit: Ricky Martin/WeHoTimes

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Ricky Martin is headlining LA Pride 2024 at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Christopher Street West Association (CSW) – the 501(c)3 nonprofit that has produced the iconic LA Pride celebration for more than 50 years – announced this week.

In a press release CSW stated that global icon Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. As the first openly gay Latin artist to take center stage at the highly-anticipated Pride event of the year, this marks Martin’s first-ever headliner Pride performance.

LA Pride in the Park will return to the Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday, June 8. Across 20 acres and with a capacity for 25,000, LA Pride in the Park is one of the most sought-after and largest Official Pride concerts in the country. Additionally, the official theme for this year’s Pride season is “Power in Pride,” which celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community’s ability to live authentically.

General Admission and VIP Passes are now available to purchase at lapride.org.

“I am thrilled to be headlining LA Pride in the Park because it’s an incredible opportunity to celebrate love, diversity, and equality,” said Martin. “LA Pride is a testament to the power of community, the power of visibility, and the power of standing up for our rights. Being part of this vibrant community fills me with pride and purpose.”

“With his electrifying stage presence and chart-topping hits, Ricky Martin has long been an inspiration to millions around the world,” said Gerald Garth, board president of CSW/LA Pride. “His participation in LA Pride in the Park goes beyond mere entertainment; it symbolizes a powerful affirmation of queer Latin identity and a celebration of diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. We cannot wait to be ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ while beaming with Pride!”

Ricky Martin, a global music icon, is a multi-talented artist known for his accomplishments as a singer, songwriter, actor and author. He has won multiple GRAMMY® Awards and is considered one of the most influential superstars in history, often referred to as the “King of Latin Pop.” Throughout his nearly four-decade career, Martin brought Latin music and culture to the mainstream, paving the way for crossover talent.

Born in Puerto Rico, Martin gained fame as a member of the popular Latin American band Menudo before embarking on a successful solo career. Notably, he became the first Latin American male to star in a MAC Viva Glam Campaign, raising significant funds for HIV/AIDS research. With over 180 awards, including two GRAMMY® and four Latin GRAMMY® Awards, Martin made history and has been recognized as the youngest-ever “Person of the Year” by the Latin Recording Academy.

He is also an accomplished actor, earning an EMMY® nomination for his role in FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and displaying his talent on Broadway. He starred in “Jingle Jangle” for Netflix, opposite Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose and Hugh Bonneville and can now be seen in the highly lauded Apple TV series “Palm Royale” alongside Laura Dern, Kristen Wiig, Allison Janney and Carol Burnett.

Beyond his artistic achievements, Martin is a dedicated philanthropist. He established the Ricky Martin Foundation, which actively fights against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. As a Global Ambassador for UNICEF, he has provided significant support to communities affected by natural disasters.

Martin has received numerous humanitarian awards, including the Hispanic Federation’s “Humanitarian Award” and the Human Rights Campaign’s “National Visibility Award.” In recognition of his contributions, the City of New York declared “Ricky Martin Day” to honor his artistic legacy and philanthropic work.

Information about parking, transportation, safety, security, medical support, participating vendors, and further programming will be available soon.

For sponsorship and other talent inquiries, contact LA Pride at [email protected]. For more information, follow @lapride on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

The preceding article was previously published at WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Los Angeles

LA leaders call for unity & protection for trans community

LAPD has noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent

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LAPD Deputy Chief Ruby Flores speaks to reporters during a April 15, 2024 press conference. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – Addressing a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the country, leaders from TransLatin@ Coalition, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other officials gathered in a press conference to denounce acts of intimidation and to call for unity and protective measures for the trans and queer community.

A bomb threat called in to the LAPD on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition specifying today April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities and others. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

The suspect, identified as Henry Nolkemper, a white 61 year old male, was arrested by LAPD shortly afterward after being observed entering his residence on West 53rd Street. The police then searched his residence. Despite the absence of explosives, he was booked under serious charges including criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Nolkemper, known to have a history of mental health issues, was on parole for previous threats to the community. His parole has since been revoked and he is currently held on a one million dollar bail.

The press conference today began with remarks from Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, who highlighted the organization’s role as the third largest source of hate crime reporting in Los Angeles, trailing only police sources.

He also stated that LA vs Hate has reported a troubling increase in trans-specific crimes, noting that such incidents are grossly underreported, a sentiment echoed by surveys within the trans community.

Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, Bamby Salcedo at the podium speaking, LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow, & Capri Maddox, Executive Director, City of LA Civil + Human Rights & Equity Dept. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of TLC, expressed her gratitude for the continued support from various partners and emphasized the daily challenges faced by transgender individuals. “Every day a trans woman steps out of her home, it is a revolutionary act. We are people who walk with targets on our backs,” Salcedo declared, setting a tone of resilience and defiance against the threats.

Special thanks were given to Supervisor Hilda Solis and Jury Candelario, a partner from APAIT and a Filipino immigrant, who marked 35 years in America by calling the trans-related stress “chronic” in his long tenure as a social worker. Esther Lim, representing Supervisor Solis, condemned the bomb threat as an act of “cowardice” and highlighted Solis’ support through a previous $55,000 contribution to TLC and a new motion to establish LA’s first LGBTQ+ commission.

Assistant Chief Blake Chow and Deputy Chief Ruby Flores of the LAPD provided updates on the legal actions following the threat. They noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent. “Behind each hate crime, there is a victim, there are families,” Flores said, urging the community to report incidents and support anti-hate education initiatives.  “These crimes affect people in ways statistics can’t reflect.” 

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The press conference also featured voices from the community like Mariana Marroquin, Associate Director of Trans Wellness, who spoke passionately about the ingrained nature of hate experienced by trans individuals from a young age, and Cari Maddox, who emphatically stated, “Hate has no home in Los Angeles.”

Mark Bayard, representing Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, affirmed the DA’s commitment to fighting hate crimes vigorously, especially in light of the upcoming election season, which often sees a spike in such incidents.

As the community grapples with this latest threat, the message from today’s conference was clear: solidarity, education, and legal protection are key to combating hate and fostering a society where transgender people can integrate fully and safely.

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Los Angeles

24-year-old trans Latina Angeleno & makeup artist shot to death

“This incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence”

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Meraxes Medina/Instagram

LOS ANGELES – In a tragic incident that has shaken the community and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, Meraxes Medina, a 24-year-old transgender Latina and makeup artist, was fatally shot in Los Angeles on March 21.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Medina was found dead on the road in South Los Angeles. The LAPD said she was shot in the head and that there was evidence she was also struck by a vehicle. Friends and family have confirmed Medina’s identity, celebrating her life and mourning her untimely death, which marks another violent act against transgender individuals.

Medina, known for her work at Universal Studios and her vibrant presence on social media, had begun hormone therapy and was navigating life as an undocumented person who had faced homelessness. Despite these challenges, those close to her remembered her for her potential and the positive impact she had on those around her. Friends have expressed their grief and shock, emphasizing Medina’s kindness, talent, and the bright future they believed she deserved.

The circumstances surrounding Medina’s death reflect a larger pattern of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. Advocacy groups have highlighted the disproportionate impact of gun violence on transgender individuals, noting that a significant percentage of homicides within this community involve firearms.

The incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence.

California chapters of groups with Everytown for Gun Safety released a statement underscoring Medina was at least the third transgender person killed by gun violence in the U.S.

“We cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of gun violence on our transgender and gender-expansive neighbors, especially its impact on Black trans women and trans Latinas. We must honor Meraxes’ legacy by continuing to fight to protect our transgender and gender-expansive communities not only in California, but across the country,” said Ashley Castillo, a student leader with Students Demand Action and National Organizing Board Member.

As the investigation continues, Medina’s death serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for a societal shift to ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of gender identity. “The loss of Meraxes Medina is not only a tragedy for those who knew her but also a call to action to combat hate and violence against the transgender community,” said one activist.

“Meraxes was a young woman who deserved to live out a long and fulfilling life. At just 24-years-old, she had so much more to give. Yet again, we find ourselves honoring the life and mourning the loss of someone from our transgender community killed by gun violence, and that alarming reality should emphasize our collective need to fight against lax gun laws. We need to come together and remind everyone, especially lawmakers and politicians, that our lives are worth saving and worth living,” said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

Bamby Salcedo, President/CEO of The TransLatin@ Coalition, issed the following statement:  “It’s unfortunate that our sister Meraxes Medina had to perish to the ignorance and violence that we continue to experience as a community, and these are just another examples of what our lives are, and we want to ensure that we hold elected officials accountable for bettering our lives and our future.”

KABC 7 reported between 2017 and 2023, there were 263 reported homicides of transgender people in the U.S., according to the organization. A gun was used in 193 of them.

In California, there were 14 homicides of transgender people reported between 2018 and 2024 so far, and 37% were in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles

LAPD monitoring threats against TransLatin@ Coalition

“These acts of violence underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us”

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Los Angeles Police Department vehicles responding to a call for service. (Los Angeles Blade/LAPD file photo)

LOS ANGELES – In a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout the country, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed that a bomb threat was called in to the department on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition (TLC), a vanguard organization for Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) Latinx communities.

The threat, specifying April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

This recent threat comes at a time when the TLC, alongside other organizations within the LGBTQIA+ community, faces increasing hostility, underscored by a series of bomb threats and hate mail aimed at destabilizing the work and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals.

In response to the threat, Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition has amplified security measures at TLC and reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness among the staff, emphasizing the coalition’s dedication to fostering a secure and supportive environment despite the daunting challenges posed by such threats.

The bomb threats have been accompanied by hate mail, filled with vitriolic anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and attacks on the Democratic Party, aimed at undermining the coalition’s mission and intimidating its leadership, including Salcedo and Vice President/COO Maria Roman Taylorson.

Despite these attempts to sow fear, the TransLatin@ Coalition stands firm in its mission. “We refuse to be silenced or intimidated,” Salcedo said.

The organization continues to call for unity and action, urging the public to stand in solidarity with TGI communities, report threats or violence, and advocate for greater acceptance and understanding of TGI identities.

The coalition’s commitment to the rights, empowerment, and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals in the United States remains unwavering. Through advocacy, education, and community organizing, the TLC addresses the unique challenges and systemic injustices faced by this community, emphasizing the intersectionality of race and economic status.

As the TLC navigates through these trying times, they have also taken to social media to call for support and positivity, highlighting the unexpected financial strain of heightened security measures. 

This recent threat against the TLC occurs amidst a broader climate of heightened animosity towards the LGBTQIA+ community, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC’s documentation of fatal violence against transgender and gender-expansive individuals in 2024 alone paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by the community.

“These acts of violence and discrimination underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us,” HRC noted.

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