News Briefs: New Santa Monica finish line for AIDS/LifeCycle

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023
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AIDS/LifeCycle participants ride on Day 2 in last year's event. Photo: Courtesy LA LGBT Center
AIDS/LifeCycle participants ride on Day 2 in last year's event. Photo: Courtesy LA LGBT Center

AIDS/LifeCycle, the seven-day, 545-mile bike ride fundraiser traversing the Golden State from San Francisco to Los Angeles, has announced a new finish line in Santa Monica for this year's event.

The ride, which benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, is scheduled for June 4-10 and is expected to have 3,000 participants "from the Bay to the Beach," a news release stated.

The 2023 ride, similar to previous ones, will begin with cyclists pedaling out of the Cow Palace in Daly City, just outside of San Francisco. Cyclists will camp in six cities throughout the state and experience the diverse and beautiful landscapes along the way, the release stated. On the morning of June 10, cyclists will leave Ventura toward Los Angeles. In a departure from the traditional route, cyclists will continue south at San Vicente Boulevard, past the famous Santa Monica Pier, to the nearby finish line.

"Whether this is your first or your 20th AIDS/LifeCycle, this finish line will contribute to an unforgettable final day on the ride," stated Tracy Evans, AIDS/LifeCycle's ride director. "Riders and volunteer roadies will have the Pacific Ocean as the perfect backdrop to celebrate their incredible accomplishment. What could be better than the Pacific Ocean as the final stop for an iconic California event?"

The new location will not only be a fresh experience for participants, but it will also include a new beachside festival for friends, family, and spectators to enjoy, the release stated. Photo opportunities, sponsor activations, and interactive stations will be part of the daylong celebration.

"We are excited to welcome the AIDS/LifeCycle ride to Santa Monica," stated Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. "The work of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center made possible by the ride advances our commitment to equity and inclusion as we support and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during SaMo Pride this June."

Santa Monica Pride, or SaMo as it's known, is a month-long celebration in June, with family-friendly displays and activities, according to its website.

Proceeds from the AIDS/LifeCycle benefit SFAF and the LA Center. Last year the ride raised a record $17.8 million. The in-person ride had been canceled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and, in 2021, opted for a virtual format called TogetherRide.

There are three ways to support the AIDS/LifeCycle, the release stated. Cyclists commit to raising $3,500 to earn their "ticket to ride" and secure their spot in the event. Roadies are seven-day volunteers who are not required to fundraise, though many do. They help with feeding riders and staff, and setting up and dismantling the moving camps. Roadie teams span health services, route, and camp. Lastly, there are @home heroes who do not travel with the seven-day event, but set personal fundraising and fitness goals in solidarity with cyclists.

For more information and to register, click here.

Lesbians Who Tech coding scholarship

Lesbians Who Tech has announced that it is accepting applications for its 2023 Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship. Over the past several years, the scholarship has helped over 250 LGBTQ+ women, nonbinary and trans people attend coding boot camps across the U.S. and abroad, stated Julia Miller, vice president of operations for Lesbians Who Tech, in an email announcement. It's a way to help people break into the tech industry, she added.

Windsor was a lesbian who was a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the now-repealed federal Defense of Marriage Act. Windsor filed the lawsuit after the death of her longtime spouse, Thea Spyer, in 2009. The couple had married in Canada in 2007. After Spyer's death, Windsor found out she owed more than $350,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of her wife's estate. Had the U.S. government recognized their marriage, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction and paid no federal estate taxes.

Windsor went on to become a champion for marriage equality and, in 2016, married Judith Kasen. Windsor died in 2017 at the age of 88.

The Lesbians Who Tech scholarship applications are due Tuesday, February 14. For more information and to apply, click here.

Jack London state park's young writers contest

Jack London State Historic Park has announced that submissions are being accepted for its eighth annual young writers contest. The program encourages middle school students (grades six to eight) to exercise their writing skills by creating a 1,500-2,000-word story inspired by the works of London (1876-1916), a novelist and journalist.

According to a news release, this year's theme is "Through the Eyes of Animals." London was known for his love of animals, surrounding himself with horses and dogs throughout his adult life, and often including animal characters in the novels he wrote. He was also known for his naturalistic writing style and his focus on realism, the release noted. In novels like "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang," he cast animals in the main roles and "spoke" from their point of view.

In this year's writing contest, students are asked to create a story where the main character(s) are animals and tell the story from their perspective, the release stated.

"Beginning as a high school student, Jack London wrote about adventure, travel, and true stories," stated Matt Leffert, executive director of Jack London State Historic Park, which is located in Sonoma County. "Throughout his life, he made it a practice to write 1,000 words everyday. We want to encourage young writers to discover his works and be inspired to develop their own writing style and voice."

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 31. Winners will be announced in April. The prizes are $200 for first place, $150 for second place, and $100 for third place. The contest is judged blindly by a panel of volunteers (not employees of Jack London Park Partners, the nonprofit that operates the park).

For complete contest rules and the entry form, as well as links to last year's winning entries, click here.

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