SARASOTA FL (July 23rd, 2020)Project PRIDE, a new non profit in Sarasota FL, dedicated to CELEBRATING, UNITING, and SUPPORTING Sarasota’s LGBTQ+ community has had to pivot from hosting a dinner & awards banquet to hosting their inaugural “Visionary Awards” online. The Visionary Awards will take place at 7PM on Thursday, July 30th 2020 on Project PRIDE’s Facebook page and live on their website and will spotlight local and national visionaries who together, are creating a better world for the LGBTQ community.
Project PRIDE SRQ will be awarding Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly, owners of the Stonewall Inn, The Visionaries Award for their continued efforts at maintaining a national monument rich with LGBTQ+ history. The Stonewall Inn is the site of the 1969 riots that launched the modern day Gay Rights Movement.
The Sarasota non-profit will also be giving their “Project PRIDE’s Lifetime Achievement Award” to Vic Basile, an American LGBTQ+ rights activist who was the first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign and the executive producer of the 1999 documentary “After Stonewall.” The Human Rights Campaign or the HRC is the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.
Local award winners include Arthur Boyce, who’s dedication to his community was the inspiration and driving force behind the creation of Project PRIDE. “We are thrilled to be honoring Arthur.” Said, Joshua Beadle, Executive Director and co-founder of Project PRIDE SRQ.
Project PRIDE officially launched in February and were going to debut in June with a week-long schedule of events for their inaugural “PRIDE WEEK.” PRIDE WEEK was to include a beach party on Siesta Key, a sing-along piano bar, and a nightclub event themed after New York Cities historic, Stonewall Inn and Project PRIDE’s Visionary Dinner. COVID-19 had the new non-profit thinking outside the box from in-person pride events to virtual programming including a socially distant Pride Car Parade, a restaurant week called “TASTE of PRIDE”, and broadcasting over 80 daily interviews with key members of Sarasota’s community at large.
Now these LIVE Visionary Awards will be just another example of how Project PRIDE has adapted to the worldwide crisis while still working towards fulfilling their mission of CELEBRATING, UNITING, and SUPPORTING their community. “The Visionary awards were originally planned as a fancy sit-down dinner,” Joshua, stated. “Now, we are throwing a virtual award show that will spotlight our guests of honor, and have musical performances and BIG CASH PRIZES for our live viewers!”
The Visionaries Award show will not only honor this years award winners but will feature performances by members of Sarasota’s Art community including, Nate Jacobs the executive director of West Coast Black Theatre Troupe and Jami Gee, a transgender guitarist that won Sarasota’s 2019 LGBTQ performer of the year. “We are really excited about our award winners and our musical performances, but what I’m also really excited about is our cash prize giveaway and our donation to Black Lives Matter Manasota Alliance” Joshua Explained.
One lucky viewer will win a cash prize that’s currently at $750 (and rising based on sponsorships.) To win you must follow a couple instructions including giving a valid email and liking various social media pages during the live show. “Odds of winning will be really great so tune in,” explained Katie McCurry, co-founder of Project Pride.
“We strongly believe in fighting for equal rights for everyone, and not just the LGBTQ+ community” Katie explained. “We can’t fight for LGBTQ+ rights, if we don’t also fight for the empowerment of our black communities. Which is why we are donating $1000 to Black Lives Matter. So that the BLM movement can continue advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against African-American people nationally but especially here in Sarasota & Manatee counties.”
“It’s been interesting and challenging to stay relevant during this pandemic – but I think we’ve done a pretty good job!” Joshua explained. “And I cant wait for everyone to tune-in on July 30th at 7:00 pm for the Visionaries Awards! We are committed to putting Sarasota’s LGBTQ+ community on the map – and these awards along with what we’ve accomplished so far are just the beginning!”
Project PRIDE SRQ is a new 501c3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to CELEBRATING and UNITING Sarasota’s diverse community by providing social connection and SUPPORTING Sarasota’s LGBTQ+ people, businesses, and organizations.