Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

News Briefs: Groups work to raise funds for Harvey relief


Rescue boats fill a flooded street August 28 as flood victims are evacuated following Hurricane Harvey. Photo: AP
Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

Several LGBT and LGBT-friendly organizations in the Bay Area and Houston are pitching in to raise funds for victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The storm has caused massive flooding in Houston and the surrounding area, with many people losing their homes, vehicles, and other possessions.

Locally, the Rainbow World Fund, an LGBT humanitarian organization based in San Francisco, is urging people to make a donation to its U.S. Disaster Aid Fund. Executive Director Jeff Cotter said in an email to supporters that Harvey's "unprecedented amounts of rain" have left thousands of people in need of food, shelter, and emergency medical services.

"Our U.S. disaster aid partner, Feeding America, is on the scene, providing clean drinking water and food assistance through a network of local food banks," Cotter wrote.

Cotter said that 100 percent of people's donations will go to help people in Texas. Donors should specify "Harvey" when making an online contribution, which can be done by visiting

In Houston, the Montrose Center, an LGBTQ counseling and community center, has set up an LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund that will be used to help people rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing, and more.

"The catastrophic and historic impact of Hurricane Harvey will be felt by the LGBTQ community of Houston Texas for days, months, and potentially years to come," center officials said on the organization's website.

The center's team is also on call to help homeless youth, seniors, people living with HIV, hate crime survivors, and others devastated by the storm.

"With more than 35,000 clients in core programs, we are already learning of staff and community members who have lost everything," officials said.

As of last week, the center had raised $280,000 of its $350,000 goal. Groups such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Texas Pride Impact Funds, and Texas United Charities have contributed, according to the website.

To make a donation, visit

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D), who's running for governor next year, sent out a statement through his campaign that urged Californians to donate to relief efforts.

"The volunteers in Texas are heroes, and we can make sure they have everything it takes to ensure people are safe – and keep them that way," Newsom stated.

He directed people to the Houston Chronicle, which has put together a list of organizations helping out on the ground, and said that he has made a donation.

To see the list, visit

San Rafael-based is helping animals threatened by Harvey, and sent an email to supporters linking to several organizations in Texas that are working to rescue dogs, cats, horses, and others. The Houston SPCA is the lead nonprofit for animal-related disaster rescue, relief, and resources. To learn more, visit The SPCA of Texas is assisting pets who have evacuated the Gulf Coast to the North Texas area. For more information, visit Austin Pets Alive is a no-kill shelter and has created a page on its website for Harvey-related needs (

The Federal Trade Commission has tips on how to safely donate to hurricane relief, as con artists often pop up in times of disaster to scam money from people who think they're contributing to legitimate groups. The FTC urges people to give to organizations that have experience assisting in disaster relief, and be skeptical of charities that emerge solely in response to Harvey or those with unfamiliar names. Donors should never give out cash; donations should be made via check or credit card.

Finally, the FTC said that the crowdfunding site GoFundMe created a Medium post about safety measures being taken to protect those donating to relief efforts, and all verified GoFundMe Harvey-related campaigns are hosted at an official page.

For more information, visit or

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert Friday, September 1, warning people about "sham charities." His office's list of tips is similar to the FTC's and he encouraged Californians who are victims of scams to file a report at Two things he warned about were "look-alike" websites that may be fraudulent and have a slightly different URL, and charities with similar-sounding names or other deceptive tactics.


Oakland GBT men's mixer

Bay Area Queer Men's Mixers will hold an intergenerational lunch and panel discussion coinciding with Oakland Pride weekend Saturday, September 9 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the community hall at St. Columba Roman Catholic Church, 6401 San Pablo Avenue (at Alcatraz Avenue) in Oakland.

Titled "Queer Men! – Celebrating Where We Come From, Envisioning Where We're Going," the event is open to all ages from 18 and up and will delve into gay, bisexual, and trans men's spirituality, politics, and psychology.

"We will share our personal histories as well as our hopes for continued evolution in a world where we've made incredible strides, but still have a long way to go," said Rafael Rosario, who's producing the event with Tim Fisher.

Scheduled panelists include the Reverend Daniel Borysewicz, a progressive hospice chaplain, street minister, social activist, and Navy veteran; Darryl Moore, a former Berkeley City Councilman; retired San Francisco Police Lieutenant Stephan Thorne, a trans man who served in the police department for three decades; James Chang, a Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner, co-chair of OUTBurst, an employee resource group at Yelp, and vice president of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club; and Father Aidan McAleenan, pastor of St. Columba, an all-welcoming, social justice church.

There is a $5 donation requested for the catered lunch, and free parking is available at the church. To RSVP, visit


OutRight Action Int'l to hold Wine Country benefit

OutRight Action International will hold its inaugural Crush Out, a benefit in Sonoma County Saturday, September 23 that will gather the Wine Country's LGBTIQ community and allies to support equality on a global, national, and local scale.

Other groups that are benefitting from the event are the National LGBTQ Task Force and Positive Images, a nonprofit that serves youth in Sonoma County.

Crush Out will take place at the historic Trione Vineyards, 19550 Geyserville Avenue in the Alexander Valley from 5 to 8 p.m. and feature food and wine pairings, a silent auction, and a late afternoon dance party.

"Our community is most adversely affected by discrimination and violence globally, but with the current administration's hateful agenda, we are looking at setbacks nationally as well," Jessica Stern, OutRight executive director, said in a statement. "We're proud to stand united in support of LGBTIQ rights from the local to the global."

Tickets are $100, $130 with transportation from San Francisco, or $250 for a VIP reception and briefing ($280 with transportation). For tickets and more information, visit


Pussy Riot founder to speak in SF

Nadya Tolokno, the founder of Pussy Riot, will be in conversation in San Francisco Friday, September 15 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 410 Van Ness Avenue.

Pussy Riot, the Russian all-female protest group, has been a thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin for years. Tolokno, a feminist, political prisoner, mother, and activist, was arrested in 2012 following the group's anti-Putin performance known as "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. She served two years in a labor camp in Siberia and attracted international attention.

Since her release, Tolokno has remained a vocal advocate for social justice, speaking against corruption and injustice. Most recently, she produced and starred in three new Pussy Riot music videos that portray the future of the U.S. under President Donald Trump.

The event is being organized by the California Institute for Integral Studies. Tickets range from $25 to $60 and are available at For $30, people can add a pre-show reception ticket to their order and meet Tolokno from 6 to 7 p.m. in the CIIS gallery, located at 1453 Mission Street. Attendance is very limited.


Milk trolley to be part of Muni Heritage Weekend

The Harvey Milk streetcar (number 1051) will be part of this year's sixth annual Muni Heritage Weekend, which will celebrate the centennials of the J-Church streetcar line and the introduction of the first motor buses.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, will hold the heritage event Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. San Franciscans and visitors can ride the vintage Muni streetcars from the F-line Steuart Street stop, out Market Street, and Church Street to the J's original outer terminal at 30th and Church streets. Riders will enjoy spectacular views of the city from the top of Mission Dolores Park.

Many other vintage vehicles will also offer special service.

The San Francisco Railway Museum, located at 77 Steuart Street, will be holding a special sale of transit books and memorabilia both days to benefit Muni's nonprofit preservation partner Market Street Railway. Talks on the city's transit history will be given at the free museum at 2 p.m. both days and authors of local transit books will hold book-signings. For a schedule, visit

For more information, visit


SF Pride volunteer party

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee will hold its volunteer appreciation and community partners check-granting party Saturday, September 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Eagle, 398 12th Street.

The Pride Committee will acknowledge and thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped out during Pride weekend and throughout the year. Additionally, checks will be provided to community partner participants, and the parade awards will be announced.

There will be food and music.

RSVP is requested and can be done by emailing


San Mateo Pride Center to screen film

The San Mateo County Pride Center will hold a special screening of "Out Run" Friday, September 8.

The film documents the journey of Bemz Benedito, the first transgender woman to run for Congress in the Philippines and leader of the world's only LGBT political party. Culminating on election day, "Out Run" provides a unique look into the challenges LGBT people face as they transition into the mainstream and fight for dignity, legitimacy, and acceptance across the globe.

Directors S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons will be at the event and will discuss the film following the screening.

A $10 donation is suggested. To RSVP, visit The Pride Center is located at 1021 South El Camino Real in San Mateo.

The event is sponsored by the Pride Center in partnership with the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity and the San Mateo County Pride Initiative.




Follow The Bay Area Reporter
facebook logo
facebook logo
Newsletter logo
Newsletter logo
ISSUU logo