News Briefs: NCLR to honor Black Lives Matter

  • by compiled by Cynthia Laird
  • Wednesday April 20, 2016
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The co-founders of Black Lives Matter will receive the Justice Award at the National Center for Lesbian Rights' Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, May 7 in San Francisco.

Alicia Garza, a grand marshal at last year's San Francisco LGBT Pride parade, will be joined by co-founders Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and Opal Tometi at the event. The trio co-created the Black Lives Matter hashtag and the Black Lives Matter National Network as a call to action following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin.

"Our Black Lives Matter honorees have taken risks that have made them pioneers and role models," NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said in a news release. "These are visionaries who refuse to accept that systems of oppression cannot be undone."

This year, Black Lives Matter is the organizational grand marshal of the San Francisco Pride parade.

NCLR will also recognize Tiara Yates and her family with its Liberty Award. Tiara and Sheena Yates became civil union partners in New Jersey in 2011 and married three years later. They conceived their youngest child, now nearly 3, using a known sperm donor through at-home insemination. They were both listed on the child's birth certificate. But the sperm donor later sued for custody and visitation and a trial court held that he, rather than Tiara, was the child's second legal parent, even though he barely had any contact with the child. In March, NCLR and Lowenstein Sandler LLP succeeded in having the sperm donor's lawsuit dismissed and his paternity order vacated.

Finally, Ryland Whittington and his family will receive the Courage Award. Ryland, 8, is a transgender boy who won the hearts of millions when his supportive parents, Jeff and Hillary Whittington, shared his inspirational journey through a YouTube video that went viral.

Ryland had profound hearing loss and, when he was 1, his parents made the decision to obtain cochlear implants for him. As Ryland began to talk, his first words were, "I am a boy," prompting his parents to research the issue. Like many parents, they realized that unconditional love was what their child needed most, and they have provided him with the support he needed to become a happy, well-adjusted boy.

The family, who NCLR helped through Ryland's transition, has since shared their story with millions, including in a new book.

NCLR has been a leader in the movement furthering the civil and human rights of the LGBT community since its start in 1977. The Anniversary Celebration is its signature fundraiser, drawing a sell-out crowd of more than 2,000 people.

The dinner takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, 780 Mission Street. Tickets are $300 and available online until Friday, April 22. A separate nighttime party starts at 8:30 at City View at Metreon, 135 Fourth Street. Tickets for that are $100 and available online through May 6 or at the door. For tickets and more information, visit


Crowdfunding campaign started for Compton's anniversary

A crowdfunding campaign has started for the 50th anniversary of the Compton's Cafeteria riots, an August 1966 event in San Francisco where transgender people stood up to police. This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the riot, the date of which has been lost to history.

The cafeteria was located in the Tenderloin neighborhood and was open from 1954-1972. Today, a plaque memorializes the riot and was installed 10 years ago on the 40th anniversary at Taylor and Turk streets.

Felicia Elizondo, a transgender woman who was at Compton's the night of the riot, said that funds raised would be used for a party, hopefully to be held at City Hall to commemorate the event. Elizondo was also featured in Screaming Queens, a film about the riot.

To donate, visit


Elections department seeks poll workers

The San Francisco Department of Elections is seeking poll workers for the upcoming June 7 primary election.

Poll workers operate polling places on Election Day and assist voters in many parts of the voting process.

There is a training class prior to the election, in which duties are explained in detail. Lead poll workers must also pick up materials before the election and transport them to their assigned polling place the morning of June 7.

Applicants must be lawful permanent residents of the U.S., age 18 or older. All positions are one-day assignments that pay between $145-$195. Applicants who speak Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, or Japanese in addition to English are highly encouraged to apply.

Interested people can apply in person at the election's department recruitment office, which is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located in the Department of Elections, in the basement of San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place Room 43 B. For more information, visit


LYRIC to hold open house

The Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center will have a community open house Thursday, April 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at its Lavender House, 127 Collingwood Street in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.

LYRIC was recently recognized by Bay Area Reporter readers as the best LGBT nonprofit in the paper's annual Besties readers' poll.

The agency provides services to thousands of young people through both direct service and outreach.

The event is free and open to all. To RSVP, visit


RYSE Center fundraising event

The RYSE Center in Richmond, which works with youth ages 13-21, including LGBTQ young people, will hold its annual fundraising event Friday, April 29, from 5 to 9 p.m. at 205 41st Street.

Called, "Be A Kid," the event invites attendees to experience first-hand how RYSE provides crucial transformative space for youth to discover, engage, and change their lives and communities.

Organizers said that Be A Kid is a happy hour-style occasion that will offer food and craft cocktails. Additionally, RYSE will offer attendees free drawing lessons led by an accomplished local artist, exclusive live performances by RYSE youth, and a variety of additional activities for adults to explore how youth navigate their self-discovery in a supportive, relevant youth-driven environment. Tickets range between $20-$35 and can be purchased online at