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Danica Roem seeks 3rd term in Virginia State House

Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S.

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Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) speaks to supporters (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MANASSAS PARK – Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) launched her 2021 re-election campaign Tuesday, promising to continue the work she’s started. Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. 

Roem said she has pushed for LGBTQ equality, helped pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and led efforts to provide school meals for thousands of kids across the state since she took office. She said she is running for her third term in order to continue pushing for progressive change in her state. 

“I’ve been working to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth since my first campaign,” she said in an interview. “And we’ve got a lot to show for it but we still have a lot of work to do. That’s what my campaign is going to be about—continuing that work.”

Democrats in 2019 took the majority in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in decades. This allowed the party to pass progressive reforms like the Virginia Values Act, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination protections. 

One of Roem’s focuses through her first and second term was increasing access to food for children through Virginia’s schools. When the pandemic hit in March, she fought, and ultimately won, a battle to change a USDA policy that required students to come in-person to pick up free meals during school closures, arguing that the rule was endangering children with compromised immune systems. Roem has also sponsored legislation to make free and reduced-priced lunches and breakfasts more accessible for students. 

“My goal going forward is really making sure we are addressing systemic inequality and systemic barriers to access when it comes to food security throughout Virginia,” she said. “I’m a 36-year-old Italian stepmom—I want to feed everyone. I want to continue to prioritize giving food to those who need it.”

Roem also campaigned on Medicaid expansion in 2017 and in May 2018, the legislation passed, allowing more than 400,000 Virginians to get healthcare through Medicaid. Now for her re-election campaign, she said she is going to continue to advocate for expanded healthcare options. Roem also spearheaded legislation to require insurance companies to cover essential procedures for trans patients.

She has been able to be so productive in office, she said, because of her ability to work with other delegates in a bipartisan manner. But to critics who accuse her of over-compromising, she said they just need to look at the policies she’s put in place during her tenure in office. 

“You don’t carry a transgender health bill through if you’re letting the conservatives run rampant,” she said with a small laugh. “You don’t have to compromise your integrity and your values to work with someone of a different party on some stuff because odds are, you can probably find some common ground.”

On a national scale, Roem has led and inspired a wave of other trans candidates to run for public office. In the 2020 elections, eight openly trans and gender non-conforming candidates were either elected or re-elected to their state legislatures. 

But in a country that often seems more divided than ever, Roem said she focuses on doing her job to serve her community. 

“I’m a proud Democrat and I represent all of my constituents, regardless of whether or not they voted for me,” she said. “Every time I do my job well, people can say, ‘My delegate is transgender and they’re really good at their job.’ Not ‘but’—‘and’. I don’t have to defend who I am to anyone. I acknowledge who I am and I’m good at my job.”

However, Roem said that vicious transphobic attacks by her political opponents have followed her since she announced her first campaign. When she took office, Republicans ended a 400-year tradition of referring to each other as “gentlemen” and “gentlewomen” and changed it to address themselves as only “delegates” to avoid acknowledging Roem’s gender. 

One memorable moment, Roem said, was when members of the Westboro Baptist Church staged protests outside of the capitol building in March 2019. The church members were met by a crowd of counter-protesters, armed with kazoos to drown out the church’s hate. 

After the protest, Roem raised more than $34,000, using the hashtag #westborobackfire to spread her message around social media. 

“You turn it into money, and you turn it into votes,” she said, referring to the hate. “I’ve been dealing with bigoted bullshit for almost four years now. If you’re a trans candidate running for office in any other state, look at what we’ve done. Flip the script on their bigotry, make it work for you.”

Following President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s election, Roem said she is hopeful the nation is moving in the right direction to begin healing. 

“We are at the very least going to stop the bleeding,” she said of Biden taking office. “What’s the first rule of getting out of a hole? Stop digging. On Jan. 20, we are no longer going to be digging.”

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Community Services - PSA

Vaccine verification for covered businesses’ & city facilities in WeHo

West Hollywood’s Emergency Executive Order establishing vaccine verification requirements is aimed at safeguarding health & safety.

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Blade file photo

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood has issued an Emergency Executive Order to implement COVID-19 vaccine verification requirements as the transmission rate of the COVID-19 Delta variant remains high in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation.

On Friday, September 10, 2021, West Hollywood City Manager and Director of Emergency Services David A. Wilson issued Emergency Executive Order (EEO) 2021-7 Implementing COVID-19 Vaccine Verification Requirements for City Facilities, Covered Businesses, City Contractors, City Employees, and City Officials. 

Emergency Executive Order 2021-7 was developed following direction from the West Hollywood City Council. On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, the City Council directed the City Attorney to report back on various questions and related legal issues about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates. On Monday, August 16, 2021, the City Council approved direction to draft formal COVID-19 vaccine mandates to be implemented by Emergency Executive Order. The City Council will ratify EEO 2021-7 at its next regular meeting on Monday, September 20, 2021.

EEO 2021-7 establishes the following vaccination verification requirements in the City of West Hollywood:

Vaccination Verification Requirements for Patrons at Covered Businesses: As soon as possible, but no later than October 11, 2021, Covered Businesses must require all patrons age 18 and older to show proof that they are Fully Vaccinated before entering any indoor portion of a facility, subject only to certain exceptions. Individuals who do not provide proof of full vaccination may use outdoor portions of Covered Business facilities. Persons under the age of 18 are not required to show proof of full vaccination.

Covered Businesses include:

1) Establishments where food or drink is served indoors, including, but not limited to; restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, cannabis consumption lounges, and entertainment venues;

2) Health/Fitness facilities, including, but not limited to; gyms, recreation facilities, yoga studios, dance studios, and other fitness establishments, where any patrons engage in cardiovascular, aerobic, strength training, or other exercise involving elevated breathing; and

3) Personal Care Establishments that include businesses that offer personal care services such as but not limited to, esthetician, skin care and cosmetology services, non-medical electrology, body art professional, tattoo parlors, microblading and permanent makeup, piercing shops, massage therapy (non-healthcare), tanning services, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops.

Covered Businesses will be required to post patron notification signage at entrances informing individuals that proof of full vaccination is required to enter. Samples of signage will be made available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus, following ratification of the Order.

Vaccination Verification Requirements for Staff at Covered Business: As soon as possible, but no later than October 11, 2021, Covered Businesses (as listed above) must use their best efforts to ascertain the vaccination status of all staff who routinely work onsite and no later than November 1, 2021, must ensure that all staff who routinely work onsite provide proof of full vaccination before entering or working in any indoor portion of the facility. This does not include staff who enter or work in Covered Business facilities on an intermittent or occasional basis or for short periods of time (e.g., individuals who deliver goods or packages). Persons under the age of 18 are not required to show proof of full vaccination.

Covered Businesses will be required to post staff notification signage in areas such as break rooms informing individuals that proof of full vaccination is required with details about how to get vaccinated. Samples of signage will be made available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus, following ratification of the Order.

Vaccination Verification Requirements for City Facilities and City Contractors: As soon as possible, but no later than October 11, 2021, persons 18 and older must show Proof of Full Vaccination before entering any indoor area within a City Facility, subject only to certain exceptions. This requirement also applies to team sports, athletic activities, and privately organized clubs and leagues held outdoors or indoors on the premises of a City Facility. In addition, as soon as possible, but no later than November 1, 2021, City Contractors must show Proof of Full Vaccination before entering any City Facility or engaging in-person with city employees, community members or city businesses, subject only to certain exceptions.

Vaccination Verification Requirements for City Employees and City Officials: All City employees, temporary employees, interns, contract personnel, volunteers, and elected or appointed officials who work at all City facilities shall be subject to a separate vaccination policy that will require vaccination no later than November 1, 2021.

In EEO 2021-7, Fully Vaccinated and Full Vaccination are defined as two weeks after completing the entire recommended series of vaccination (usually one or two doses) with a vaccine authorized to prevent COVID-19 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including by way of an emergency use authorization, or by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The following are acceptable forms of Proof of Full Vaccination:

·       A CDC vaccination card, which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided, and date last dose administered, or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental jurisdiction;

·       A photo or copy of a vaccination card as a separate document;

·       A photo of a vaccination card stored on a phone or electronic device;

·       Documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider; and/or

·       A personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California and available by going to myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov or similar documentation issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction, or by an approved private company.

The City of West Hollywood’s Emergency Executive Order establishing vaccine verification requirements is aimed at safeguarding health and safety. COVID-19 continues to present an imminent threat in the City of West Hollywood, across the region, and throughout the nation. Although vaccines are now widely available, many people in the state and region are still not fully vaccinated. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, unvaccinated people are at a higher risk of infection and a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the spread of disease overall, and that vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Emergency Executive Order to implement vaccine verification requirements, please contact Janet Jimenez, City of West Hollywood Assistant to the City Manager, at (323) 848-6376 or at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Full text of EEO 2021-7 is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website by visiting www.weho.org/coronavirus or by clicking on the PDF document link here.

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Community Services - PSA

Explore LA County Parks Nature Centers learning about the natural world

Fall Programs for all ages engaging with others and learning about the natural world around us through fun activities and adventures!

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Point Dume Nature Preserve (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – This fall, you and your family are invited to a Nature Center near you for fun exploration programs hosted by knowledgeable and caring Nature Center staff! Now that schools are back in session, it’s the perfect time to join our outdoor afterschool activities and weekend events to learn about the fascinating flora and fauna all around us. 
 
Through a wide range of interactive activities and special offerings like family walks, guided hikes, and even parent-and-me multilingual classes, kids and adults alike can join adventurous programs to explore wildlife and nature. You can even meet some of our animal ambassadors along the way! 

IT’S PARK TIME AT LA COUNTY PARKS NATURE CENTERS!
 
Most programs require pre-registration. Sign up now and join us out in nature this fall!

REGISTER TODAY!


Check out the programs below:

EVERY BODY EXPLORES 
(Drop in program; no pre-registration required) 
September 7, 2021 – May 27, 2021 
Tuesdays – Fridays / 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Saturdays / 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
All ages welcome!  

The Every Body Explores program provides participants of all ages an opportunity to check out a Naturalist field backpack that they can use to complete self-guided activities, make observations and explore the park.

YOUNG NATURALIST AFTER SCHOOL CLUB 🌳
(Pre-registration is required! Click HERE to sign up) 
September 7, 2021 – December 2, 2021 
Tuesdays – Thursdays / 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
Age group: 3rd grade – 5th grade  

The Young Naturalist After School Club is a safe after-school alternative that provides adventure, nature experiences, and natural history education.  Activities include group games, STEM, nature hikes, and natural history learning opportunities. Youth will gain confidence outdoors and learn how to appreciate the natural world around them. 
  

GUIDED HIKES 
(Pre-registration is required! Click HERE to sign up) 
September 7, 2021 – December 3, 2021 
Dates and times vary by location. View details HERE.  
All ages welcome!  

Get outdoors, be active and go on a guided hike! Guided hikes are opportunities for families, groups or individuals to experience a hike through our Natural Areas parks with a trained Naturalist. Hikes promote positive connections with nature, conservation and climate education, physical and mental well-being and socialization.   

PARENT AND ME MULTILINGUAL NATURE 👩‍👦
(Pre-registration is required! Click HERE to sign up)
September 10, 2021 – December 3, 2021 
Every Friday / 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
Age group: Parents with children 5 and younger are welcome!  

Parent and Me classes promote creativity exploration and fitness while encouraging families to learn how to make connections and become more comfortable in nature. Activities include learning Spanish and Mandarin through group games, nature hikes, STEM, animal meet and greets, dramatic play and story time!   

FAMILY STORY TIME 📚
(Pre-registration is required! Click HERE to sign up)
September 10, 2021 – December 3, 2021 
Dates and times vary by location. View details HERE.  
All ages welcome! 

Family Story Time is an interactive program designed for young readers and their families. Together we will read books and move around as we learn about plants, animals, and nature. Kids will learn nature facts as they look for wildlife while visiting different parts of the garden, and when possible, an animal presentation will take place. Each program will end with a nature inspired craft or activity.   

FAMILY NATURE ADVENTURE 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🌲
(Pre-registration is required! Click HERE to sign up)
September 11, 2021 – November 27, 2021 
San Dimas Nature Center only 
Every Saturday / 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 
All ages welcome! 

The Family Nature Adventure provides family-oriented nature programming that includes environmental topics and conservation themes. Activities include a guided nature hikes, animal ambassador meet and greets and family nature crafts to take home.   

CELEBRATIONS IN NATURE 🎉🎈
(Requests must be submitted 14 days in advance. For more information, connect with LA County Parks staff by phone or in person at the location your interested in. Click HERE to view locations and contact information.)  
Available every Friday and Saturday 
Time slots available: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. / 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
All ages welcome!  

Having a birthday, anniversary, reunion or other special celebration? Celebrate in nature! Celebrations in Nature offers an opportunity to meet a naturalist and a few of our animal ambassadors, discover the natural history of our wildlife, explore the natural world on a guided hike or build a nature related project that can be taken home.    

REGISTER TODAY!


Please note: The health and wellbeing of park guests and staff is our top priority. COVID-19 Safety Guidelines in accordance with LA County Public Health will be followed.

For more information, visit parks.lacounty.gov/fall or call (626) 588-5364.

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Community Services - PSA

Opens today; the LGBTQ DTLA PROUD festival 2021

Celebrate our LGBTQ+ community at DTLA PROUD Festival 2021.

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KNOW-BEFORE-YOU-GO

We are very excited to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community at DTLA PROUD Festival 2021.

BEFORE ARRIVING TO THE FESTIVALENTRY: **This is a vaccinated-only event** In order to gain entry into the festival, every attendee will need to show proof of vaccination¹ (vaccine card, photo of vaccine card or CA digital vaccine record will be accepted).

¹ Certain exceptions will be considered for medical reasons and youth 3 – 11 (free Friday only) who provide a negative COVID 19 test result from no more than 72 hours prior.

If you are sick or have symptoms, please stay home.

The festival is a 100% outdoor event and does not meet the criteria of a “mega event” as defined by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, the mask mandate will not apply. However, masks are certainly encouraged.

GENERAL ADMISSION ENTRANCE

Pershing Square Park (5th & Hill Street Entrance): 528-500 S Hill Street Los Angeles, CA 90013. View the festival map for Friday here and Saturday and Sunday here.

WEEKEND ITINERARY

Friday, August 27, 2021 | All ages | Alcohol free | Free Tickets | 4PM – 10PM4:00 PM – Festival Opens: performances, DJ sets, LGBTQ+ vendors, snack bar, food trucks, resources and mini ballroom event by Banjee Ball.

8:00 PM – Community preview of our documentary – PROUD in a Pandemic.

Please feel free to bring blankets and / or comfy chairs to watch the movie. No outside food allowed. Sealed water bottles or empty reusable bottles are accepted.

9:30 PM – Entrance Closes

10:00 PM – Festival Closes

Saturday & Sunday, August 28 & 29, 2021 | 21+ | $10 per day | 12PM – 10PM12:00 PM – Festival Opens: bars, lawn games, food trucks, LGBTQ+ vendors, non-profit resources, art installations, and the pop-up water park dance party, SummerTramp.

4:00 PM  – Main Stage Performances Begin

9:30 PM – Entrance Closes

10:00 PM – Festival Closes

FOOD: A variety of food trucks will be available each day and include vegan options.

DRINKS: Tito’s Handmade Vodka, other cocktails, beers, sodas and seltzers will be available for purchase at the festival bars only on Saturday and Sunday, August 28 – 29. Free water will be available at the Marketplace in the festival.

LGBTQ+ VENDORS: The Marketplace presented by Kinda Fit Kinda Fat with support by Queer Moment will feature an array of LGBTQ+ retail vendors.

COMMUNITY BOOTHS: A variety of LGBTQ+ non-profits and community organizations will be onsite to provide resources. 

CASHLESS: The festival is 100% cashless. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted.

PLEASE– Don’t bring large items, drugs or weapons to the festival. – Outside food, drinks and alcohol are strictly prohibited. – Sealed water bottles and reusable bottles will be allowed but all other open containers are prohibited. – Reusable bottles must be emptied before entering the festival.

PARKING & METRO
Pershing Square parking garage entrances can be found on 5th Street, 6th Street, and Olive Street as indicated on the map. The rate is $3 each 15 min. on Friday ($20 max, and $9 if entering after 5pm) and $9 all day on Saturday and Sunday. Alternative parking lots can be found at various locations around DTLA at different price points. Pershing Square can be easily reached by the Metro B Line (Red) or Metro D Line (Purple) – Pershing Square Station.

DISCLAIMER: Photographers and videographers will be onsite. By attending this event, you give your consent for footage to be used for promotional purposes.

SEE YOU THIS WEEKEND!

GET TIX NOW
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