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Pridelines' 'Sharing Our History' speakers series to include Steve Rothaus and Florida's first out gay legislator

News release from Pridelines Youth Services:

Pridelines Youth Services to present "Sharing Our History:" A six-session discussion series designed to explore the history of LGBT equality advocacy in Miami-Dade County

Miami- October 18th - Beginning October 23, 2012, Pridelines Youth Services will launch a six-session program designed to acquaint youth with the history of LGBT equality advocacy in Miami-Dade County and to instill in them the desire to build on the efforts of their predecessors to achieve equality for the LGBT community. The program entitled "Sharing Our History" will utilize the life stories of current and former LGBT activists by engaging the Pridelines youth in intimate discussions of their accomplishments and the motivations behind their actions.

"We are thrilled to be bringing this discussion series to Pridelines," said Executive Director Victor Diaz-Herman. "The past is an important part of our future, so we were on board 100% when Nate approached us with the idea for this program. He has handpicked the speakers according to their diverse backgrounds and affiliations with the LGBT community. Each guest speaker has devoted time and energy over the years to different organizations and we are here to not only celebrate them but also learn from them."

Nate BodnerThe first of the six sessions will take place on Thursday, October 23rd, and the program will continue until Tuesday, December 11th.

The series will open with Nate Bodner, at left, who will offer an overview of the discussion series. Bodner is an active member of Pridelines and SAVE Dade. At Temple Israel he was a member of the Social Justice Committee and a member of the board. Before retiring, he served as VP of Purchasing for Borden Foods, Director of Commodities for Kraft-General Foods, and Director of Purchasing for Entenmann's Bakeries.

During his tenure at General Foods and Borden, he also served as Chairman of the Sweetener Users Association, a Washington-based trade organization, and as a member of the USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The second session, which will be held on November 1st, will be led by David Richardson. Richardson is the first openly gay legislator in the history of Florida. He began his career as a Pentagon auditor in Tampa and then joined what is now Ernst & Young. In 1993 he started his own CPA firm and moved to Miami Beach in 2001.

The third session will be held on November 13th with Steve Rothaus, a Miami Herald staff writer for the past 27 years, who covers gay and lesbian issues in South Florida. He served five years as a board member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and founded the association's Newsroom Outreach Project and traveled the country visiting newspapers, television stations and college campuses to discuss gay news coverage. In 2010, the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce named him "Business Person of the Year."

The fourth session will be held on November 27th and will be led by Martin Gill. In 2004, the Florida Department of Children and Families placed two boys in Gil and his partner's home and two years later petitioned the circuit court to adopt the boys. Even though the children were thriving, the FDCF denied the couple's petition because it violated the Florida law against gay adoption. With the help of attorneys provided by the American Civil Liberties Union, Gil had a four-day hearing on the case in 2008 and the judge granted the adoption to the couple.

The fifth session will be held on December 6th with long-time activist Joan Schaeffer. Schaeffer's relocation and timely move to Miami during the Anita Bryant episodes influenced her to begin her career in political activism. She became the Assistant Director of a Community Development Corporation in Liberty City and then went to work at Miami-Dade Community College, first as a Project Director and then was promoted to Director of Grants at the Wolfson Campus. She was the first woman to serve on the Board of the Dade Human Rights Foundation, and has been on the Board of SAVE and Dade Action PAC.

The sixth session will be held on December 11th with Joe Falk, a licensed mortgage originator and policy consultant with the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt. He is also secretary and board member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. In addition, Falk is the current chairman of the board of SAVE Dade and the national co-chairman of the LGBT 'Obama for America' Leadership Counsel.

Each session will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pridelines Youth Services' drop-in center at 9526 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 104, in Miami Shores. In addition to Pridelines youth, the series is also free and open to the public.

Pridelines Youth Services is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by gay youth for gay youth and their allies in the wake of Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign.  Pridelines' mission is to support, educate and empower South Florida's LGBTQ youth in a safe and diverse environment as well as to foster dialogue and cultivate social change.  For more than 28 years, Pridelines has provided safe space, social support, skills building, leadership development and referrals to mental health, health care and support services for LGBTQ youth and their straight allies between the ages of 13 and 24. 

For more information about Pridelines call (305) 571-9601 or visitwww.pridelines.org.

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