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Buttigieg says nation ‘absolutely’ ready for gay president

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Mayor Pete Buttigeig (D-South Bend, Ind.) (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg pushed back Friday on the idea a gay candidate couldn’t win election as president, saying the nation was “absolutely” ready.

Buttigieg, whom many polls show is the front-runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, made the remarks during a forum hosted by national political reporter Robert Costa at the Washington Post headquarters.

The 2020 hopeful was quick to point out he won reelection as South Bend mayor in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote right after he came out as gay.

“Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana, no mayor of Indiana had ever come out, and so there was no way really to know what to expect,” Buttigieg said.

Costa however responded, the City of South Bend is different from the nation as a whole. It should be noted, the city is heavily Democratic and has a population of just over 100,000.

But Buttigieg insisted his win there has broader implications.

“If it can happen in Mike Pence’s Indiana, it can happen anywhere in this nation,” Buttigieg said.

According to recent polls, voters say they’re ready to support a gay candidate for president, but are not sure their neighbor is.

One Morning Consult poll in October revealed 50 percent of voters say they were ready to back a gay candidate, compared to 37 percent who were not. But only 40 percent said they think the nation is ready, compared to 45 percent who say otherwise.

Buttigieg’s sexual orientation also came up during event in the context of the daily attacks from President Trump on Twitter. Asked how he’d handle his hostility, Buttigieg pointed out he grew up gay in Indiana.

“Well, first of all, I’m gay and grew up gay in Indiana,” Buttigieg said to laughter, “so I’m used to [it]. That kind of schoolyard doesn’t bother me. I’ve also seen a lot worse incoming than a tweet full of typos.”

Referencing a recent rally in which Trump said he dreamed of Buttigieg, the candidate’s sexual orientation was an elephant in the room.

“It will admit that it did bother me when he said he that he dreams about me,” Buttigieg said to laughs. “I don’t know what exactly goes on, but I am certain that I want absolutely nothing to do with them.”

Costa also asked Buttigieg to address complaints he isn’t progressive enough, referencing protesters who’ve called him a corporatist and “Pete Romney.”

“It is a little strange because I think that I broadly share the same values and goals as a lot of these folks,” Buttigieg said.

The candidate said he wants greater accountability for corporations, higher taxes on corporations, a living wage, greater union membership. Buttigieg added that’s “not just because that’s the position of my party.”

“My city was destroyed by economic failures and greed that had left their mark before I was even born and we have spent our lifetime clawing our way out it,” Buttigieg said. “So I’m under no illusions about all the ways in which our current economic system has failed us.”

Faced with low support from black voters, Buttigieg was also asked about a report from Democracy & Color finding only 3 percent percentage of South Bend hiring and contracts go to minority workers.

In response, Buttigieg said the very fact that data is available is the result of his work as mayor, pointing out he created the first Office of Diversity & Inclusion in city to create a plan for acting and gathering information.

“When I took office, we didn’t have the resources to even gather the data on what was going on, but we knew that as a city, we needed to do a better job of doing business with businesses owned by African Americans because nobody has a better track record of creating economic opportunity for minority employees than remote employees,” Buttigieg said.

Although Buttigieg only made 3 percent of government contractors go to minority businesses, his plan for 25 percent of U.S. contracts to go to minority-owned businesses.

“There’s no reason why we can’t have 25 percent of taxpayer resources that are spent with businesses somewhere, going out in a way that’s actually going to increase opportunity with businesses led by those who’ve been excluded,” Buttigieg said.

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Community Services - PSA

Shark Tank star Daymond John & Lowe’s to help LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs

Diverse small business owners are invited to pitch Lowe’s executives for a chance to sell their products online and in stores nationwide

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Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank (Photo by Cody Norman)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Lowe’s and Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and New  York Times best-selling author, are announcing the next round of Making It…With Lowe’s, a nationwide pitch program that gives diverse entrepreneurs a chance to take their business to  the next level by selling on Lowes.com and in Lowe’s stores nationwide.  

Nearly one-third of small businesses in the U.S. were forced to close due to the pandemic, and  one-quarter of minority-owned businesses have temporarily shut their doors. Although the economy is re-opening, entrepreneurs continue to face extraordinary challenges as they work  hard to stabilize their businesses. Lowe’s is bringing back Making It… With Lowe’s at a time  when it is needed most, providing opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to grow their  businesses amid obstacles that can feel overwhelming.

Lowe’s encourages people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to apply. 

Making It…With Lowe’s shines a light on the remarkable stories of diverse small business  owners who are often overlooked and underrepresented,” said Daymond John, star of ABC’s  Shark Tank, entrepreneur and investor who will once again host and lend his expertise to give  advice to the program finalists.

“Last year’s program underscored the importance of giving them an opportunity to break through traditional processes. This year, as so many diverse small  business owners begin the recovery process, it is even more important to provide them with a  much-deserved space to succeed,” John added.

The first round of Making It…With Lowe’s attracted more than 1,300 product submissions and the top suppliers received invaluable mentorship from Daymond John and Lowe’s merchants that helped them expand their reach, grow their business and connect with new consumer  audiences.

“As a company that began as a single store 100 years ago, we know firsthand how important  small businesses are to the communities they serve. Through Making It… With Lowe’s, we can  help diverse entrepreneurs reach their dreams of growing and scaling their businesses, all while  helping us find innovative, clever and solution-driven products that we’re proud to offer,” said  Marvin R. Ellison, Chairman and CEO of Lowe’s. “Making It… With Lowe’s is an extension of  our commitment to underserved communities and helps us ensure our products are as diverse  as our associates and customers.”

Lowe’s especially encourages applicants who are members of  the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans and women to apply, with  innovative products both in and beyond home improvement categories. Hundreds of  entrepreneurs will be evaluated for the opportunity to sell their product on Lowes.com, then 75  suppliers will be invited to meet with Lowe’s merchandising teams to be considered for  additional promotion.

Consumers will be invited to vote for their “fan favorite” among the top 15  suppliers. The field will then narrow to the five top suppliers and the fan favorite, who will pitch  their products to Lowe’s executives for an opportunity to receive a truly unique mentorship and  land on Lowe’s shelves and Lowes.com to reach millions of customers. 

Making It… With Lowe’s offers:

  • Thousands of dollars in business grants
  • Mentorship from Daymond John
  • Opportunity to sell products at Lowes.com and at Lowe’s stores nationwide

Making It… With Lowe’s is just one part of the company’s efforts to support small businesses,  and its overall efforts to increase supplier diversity as part of its Total Home Strategy. Last year,  Lowe’s committed $55 million to fund grants for minority- and women-owned small businesses,  as well as rural small businesses. Lowe’s and partner LISC distributed these grants to more  than 2,700 small businesses, making Lowe’s the largest donor to LISC’s Small Business Relief  & Recovery Program and COVID Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund. 

As part of Lowe’s continued support of small businesses, the company will put the inspiring  stories of Making It… With Lowe’s finalists on display during an in-person pitch event at a  Charlotte-area Lowe’s store later this year. Visit Lowes.com/MakingItWithLowes to learn more about the program.

Today through July 30 at midnight PST, applicants are invited to apply at Lowes.com/MakingItWithLowes

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Community Services - PSA

“Parks make life better month,” proclaims LA County Board of Supervisors

Parks Make Life Better Month recognizes the positive community benefits of parks, open space, trails, recreation facilities and programs

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Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area (Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez, Los Angeles County)

LOS ANGELES – The LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday proclaiming July as “Parks Make Life Better!” Month in recognition of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) and the vital role local, community, regional parks, dog parks, nature centers, trails, open space, and facilities have on contributing to healthy people and communities.

The motion, made by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor of the First District, comes after LA County Parks experienced its highest number of visitors and demand on services in decades as County residents looked for critical recreation programs and facilities during COVID-19. LA County Parks never closed parks, trails or restrooms and hosted programs such as food distributions, providing thousands of families stability, and supported recovery through COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. During a time of great uncertainty, loss, sadness and isolation, LA County Parks staff stood together in the service of others to continue the safe operations of parks and outdoor spaces.

“Los Angeles County parks serve as an essential component of the County’s social fabric that unites people across regions and provides recreational opportunities for residents to live, play, and learn,” said Chair Solis. “Throughout the pandemic we saw a surge in foot traffic across parks and trails, affirming the importance of outdoor spaces in enhancing and supporting the overall health and well-being of communities. By declaring July as Parks Make Life Better Month, we acknowledge the role of parks in supporting community health and elevate the work of our park employees who have worked diligently to ensure the continuation of park programming at a time when it was most needed.”

LA County Parks also initiated grab-n-go events while simultaneously delivering pre-recorded and live virtual programming through LA County’s Virtual Recreation Center Parks From HomeThis exceedingly high volume of usage not only proves that parks are a crucial part of every, individual community they are in, but that they also serve as an entry point to care and social safety nets while being an anchor for those most impacted by community instability to seek refuge, rest and resilience.

“Now more than ever, youth, families and seniors need access to parks and spaces to reconnect with others, engage in physical activity and experience the health benefits being in nature and outdoors offers.” said Norma Edith García-González, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. “As we safely re-emerge from the pandemic this year, eliminating barriers to programs and services that promote health equity is essential. Parks Make Life Better month highlights the value of our Every Body Plays programming in providing access to swim, nature centers, recreational park programming in promoting health equity.”

LA County’s parks, recreation programs and facilities build healthy, active communities that aid in the prevention of chronic disease, and also improve the mental and emotional health of all community members. Recreational programs and services help residents experiencing violence heal from trauma and serve as safe havens. LA County’s open space and natural recreation areas ensure the ecological beauty of the community is preserved and provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature as they enjoy the outdoors.

Parks Make Life Better Month recognizes the positive personal and community benefits of parks, open space, trails, recreation facilities and programs, nature education, and sports for able and disabled children, teens, adults, and seniors. By elevating the role of parks in building healthy people and communities, our goal is to inform the public on the many benefits of accessing parks, facilities, programs and services.

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation manages 183 parks and operates a network of 70,079 acres of parkland, 475 sports amenities such as futsal, basketball, tennis, lawn bowling and multipurpose fields, 42 swimming pools, 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 10 nature centers that serve as a refuge for over 200 animals, 14 lakes – 3 of which are boating and swimming lakes, 5 equestrians centers, more than 210 miles of multi-use trails, the largest municipal golf system in the nation, consisting of 20 golf courses, in addition to the world-class Arboreta and Botanic Gardens and performance venues – Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Virginia Robinson Gardens and South Coast Botanic Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theaters.

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Military Veteran Affairs resiliency program for women veterans

The program is grounded in the innate capacity of humans to heal, and the wolves ability to model and mirror healing for us

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Photo courtesy of the Wolf Connection

ACTON, CA. – The County of Los Angeles Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (MVA) and The Wolf Connection are partnering to provide women veterans a free course in resiliency, especially for those affected by trauma.   

Eight on-site sessions will be held once a week during summer/fall 2021 at the Wolf Heart Ranch in Acton, CA from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

This eight-session signature program will foster a pack experience for Women Veterans. The program is grounded in the innate capacity of humans to heal, and the wolves ability to model and mirror healing for us. The wolves, wolf dogs and human facilitators will offer life affirming self-regulation and resiliency strategies. You will be invited to consider your unique role in the pack, and the gifts that you offer to your community and society at large.

“The hardest part of coming back home was to be rejected by people because of the way I look. I gave everything for them and their families, and I never thought this would happen. Being unconditionally accepted and loved by Willow [wolf] has literally changed my life. I feel a huge weight releasing off my chest, as if one of my lungs was missing too and now I have it back.  –From an explosive-disposal unit service member

As crazy and chaotic as the deployment was, I find civilian life a lot crazier. There is no ROE (rules of engagement) here. I am anxious all the time, more than I was in Afghanistan. But after a day here with the wolves, I feel like I have a pack again. I feel they understand me.  –From a veteran battling depression and homelessness

Apply here to be part of this one-of-a-kind program.

The LA County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) provides assistance to LA County veterans, active service members and their families with resources, programs, services and state and federal benefits, including: compensation and pension claims, burial benefits and services, medical and mental health referral, education and vocational rehabilitation, home loans and grants applications, employment and job placement assistance, DMV veteran designation, legal service referrals, appeal processes, incarcerated veterans and aid and attendance.

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