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News Briefs: Dem clubs team up for AD 15 candidate forum

by Cynthia Laird

Assembly candidate Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Beckles for Assembly campaign
Assembly candidate Jovanka Beckles. Photo: Beckles for Assembly campaign  

The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, based in Alameda County, and the Lambda Democratic Club in Contra Costa County, will hold a candidate forum for the contested 15th Assembly District race Wednesday, February 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sports Basement, 2727 Milvia Street in Berkeley.

This will be an opportunity for voters to meet many of the candidates running to replace Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), who is running for state schools chief.

There is a crowded field for the AD 15 race, which includes lesbian Berkeley school board member Judy Appel, lesbian Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles, and bisexual East Bay Municipal Utility District board member Andy Katz.

Other candidates in the race include former Obama administration official Buffy Wicks, Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb, El Cerrito City Councilwoman Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, and Berkeley City Councilman Ben Bartlett.

In addition to the candidate forum, the clubs will recognize gay El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto, who is the first member of the LGBT community and first Filipino/a to be mayor of the East Bay city, as well as the first HIV-positive elected official in the Bay Area.

The East Bay Stonewall Club will consider an early endorsement for lesbian Alameda County Superior Court Judge Tara Flanagan. Last week, retired public defense lawyer Karen Katz completed paperwork to challenge Flanagan, who was the only judge out of 25 up for re-election in June to draw an opponent.

For more information and to register, visit

Drag events highlight Compton's play
In anticipation of "The Compton's Cafeteria Riot," the Tenderloin Museum's first-ever theater production, the museum will hold two drag events.

On Friday, February 16, from 6 to 8 p.m., people are invited to the museum, at 398 Eddy Street, for a night of fun and prizes with drag bingo. Cruzin' D'Loo will serve as mistress of ceremonies, presiding over the bingo balls and calling out the lucky numbers.

Prizes range from the luxurious (a two-night stay at the Phoenix Hotel) to the whimsical (kitty play time at KitTea). Others include tickets to the Color Factory or film passes to the Roxie Theater.

Admission is free and bingo cards are $5 each. Proceeds from the benefit will be used to fund free tickets to the play when it opens February 22.

Drag queens behind the play will give a rare show at United Nations Plaza during the weekly farmers market Wednesday, February 21, from noon to 1 p.m. Museum officials said that both cast members and co-creators of the production will be on hand. Those scheduled to perform include Collette Le Grande, Shane Zaldivar, Donna Personna, Pleasure Bynight, and Miss J.

There is no cost to attend, and people can buy their tickets to the play at the event.

Tickets to the play can also be purchased online at

El/La gets interim ED
A San Francisco nonprofit that provides HIV testing, leadership development, and other services for transgender Latinas announced that it's hired an interim executive director.

El/La Para TransLatinas said last week that Maritza Penagos, who has more than 20 years of experience in public health and other areas, will lead the organization until a permanent director is found.

"Maritza has been a social worker, community planner, and a health clinic administrator with a focus on HIV, trauma-informed care, and mental health/substance abuse," El/La's February 5 announcement said. "As a public health and public education administrator she has supervised and enhanced the infrastructure of both small non-profits and large bureaucracies."

Penagos, who didn't respond to interview requests, is taking over about a month after the departure of Susana Caceres, who had led El/La for four years.

Penagos' bio at says, "Maritza has always been drawn to the rebels, artists, healers, leaders and strategic thinkers (and do-ers) on issues of race, culture, health, resilience, and justice."

Sthefany Galante Bautista, El/La's outreach coordinator, and advisory board co-chairs Isa Noyola and Marcia Ochoa didn't respond to an emailed request for comment about Penagos.

Open house at quilt museum
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is holding A Day at the Circus, a free community open house, Sunday, February 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 520 S. First Street in downtown San Jose.

People will be able to see Susan Else's new exhibit, "Without a Net." Else, a Santa Cruz-based fabric sculptor, pushes boundaries of the studio art quilt movement by integrating sound, light, and motors with colorful stitched figures.

Additionally, museumgoers can enjoy activities for all ages, including mask-making, clown hats, do-it-yourself hand puppets, and balloon figures. Events throughout the day will feature musical presentations, an artists in residence open studio and the ring of fire selfie station. The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe of San Jose will perform at noon and 1 p.m.

For more information, visit (click on "Events").

Workshop on reaching LGBTQ youth, seniors
LGBTQ Connection in the North Bay will hold a best practices workshop on reaching and serving LGBTQ youth and seniors in Santa Rosa Thursday, February 22, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Restorative Resources, 2934 McBride Lane.

Organizers said at the free training attendees will learn about LGBTQ identity, terms, and issues; hear personal experiences from a panel of local LGBTQ people; take away practical best practices for what other organizations do to better reach LGBTQ people; and have opportunities for discussions.

The workshop is for anyone who has connections to youth or seniors, such as professionals, supporters, and mentors.

To RSVP, visit For questions, contact

LGBTQ youth dance in Sonoma
The aforementioned LGBTQ Connection will hold "The Love is Love Youth Dance" Saturday, February 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley Women's Club, 574 First Street, East, in Sonoma.

The event, which is free, is co-sponsored by the Sonoma Valley High School gay-straight alliance. The event is being held to celebrate LGBTQ Connection's youth programming in Sonoma Valley and is especially for LGBTQ youth and young adults and allies ages 11-20.

To RSVP, email

Mock to headline LGBTQ health forum
Trans author and activist Janet Mock will be the featured guest speaker at the 10th annual UCSF LGBTQIA health forum Saturday, February 24, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mission Bay campus (William J. Rutter Center), 1675 Owens Street in San Francisco.

This program, presented by the UCSF LGBT Resource Center, is the oldest and largest student-run LGBTQIA health forum in the country. It educates attendees about health care disparities faced by queer individuals and their communities, and aims to prepare current and future health care providers on how to better serve the needs of these individuals.

All interested health professionals, graduate students, and community members, whether LGBTQIA or not, are welcome to attend.
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at

Seth Hemmelgarn contributed reporting.


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