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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 3 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 40
Social Outreach Seattle 2nd Annual Gala
Section One
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Social Outreach Seattle 2nd Annual Gala

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On Wednesday, October 2, Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), held our Second Annual Gala & Community Awards event at Central Cinema. I can't tell you how much the outpouring of support from everyone that was in attendance means to us. While the evening does have a fundraising component, the real meaning of the event is to recognize some of the people in the LGBTQ and Allied community that are doing a great job by providing services and support to others. In addition, we took the opportunity to showcase our projects and programs that we will complete in the coming months.

Roughly 120 people attended the event, which lasted a little over two hours. The gala was hosted by the amazing Isaac Scott with performances by a dance group under the direction of Grant Cabebe that included Bianca Kapeliela, Alyssa Oyadamari, Makia Williams, and Cameron Boyd, vocal performances by SOSea founding member Chase Silva, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, SOSea founding member Jack Mozie, and a newcomer to SOSea and front man for the band Eric Blu & The Soul Revue, Eric Martin.

In addition, SOSea awarded the following volunteers and community members: Elected Official of the Year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray; Excellence in Leadership, Allena Gabosch (Center for Sex Positive Culture); Social Justice in Media, David Ham (KIRO 7) and Alison Morrow (KING 5); Grassroots Activism/Service, Krystal Boyd and John Drop (WA Hero Initiative); Community Partner of the Year, Ryan Muller (AMDEF); Community Organization of the Year, Official Pride ASIA; Entertainer of the Year, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang and Rayo de Sol Aguirre Joel (La Gorda) (Entre Hermanos); Race and Social Justice Award, Isis Asare (Sistah Sinema); Outstanding Volunteer Awards went to Christine Heib, Brooke Walker and Michael Garcia. SOSea also awarded SPD Captain Dick Reed with an award for his many years of service to the LGBTQ community and for running the LGBTQ Advisory Committee meetings for SPD.

From the Heart
Each year we know that there are families and individuals that go without during the holiday season. This year, SOSea joins others in helping to donate food, toys, household goods and other items to families and people in need in Seattle. Please go to the official FROM THE HEART Facebook page for updates on when and where or how you can donate to the program: https://www.facebook.com/events/266097920181048/.

Rainbow Street Sign Project
We have launched the Capitol Hill Rainbow Street Sign Project to promote visibility of the robust LGBTQ community on Capitol Hill. The community's services, bars, community organizations and more are located on the Hill; Capitol Hill is the cultural center for Seattle's LGBTQ and Allied communities. The street signs we would like to have changed to rainbow colored are on Broadway, from Madison to Roy, E. Pike from Plymouth Pillars Park to 15th Ave. and E. Pine St. from Melrose Ave. to 15th Ave.

Social Outreach Seattle seeks to designate Capitol Hill as the Cultural Center for Seattle's LGBTQ Community. SOSea is working with the City of Seattle Department that handles designations. It is important that the City of Seattle do this because the LGBTQ community in Seattle is large and yet our visibility is not; even in our own neighborhood.

Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) began to develop this program after we heard about the Street Name Sign Replacement Program. The City of Seattle is replacing aging Street Name signs across the city through the voter-approved Bridging the Gap Levy. Throughout the nine-year levy Seattle will replace around 1,700 signs each year. Signs are being updated to a larger and more reflective style to meet the federal standard. The City replaced signs at arterial intersections first, and then moved to the non-arterial intersections. All Street Name signs in the city will be replaced by 2015.

We are working to identify the signs that have been replaced for the streets and avenues that would be changed for the Capitol Hill Rainbow Street Sign Project. If they have not yet been replaced, then we will need to identify the cost to have a street sign with rainbow decals put in place. If the signs have been replaced, we would need to know the cost for replacing them again with the rainbow decal signs. Or we can just add the rainbow decal to already existing new signs.

Once this project really gets going, we will hold a vote of the public, where people can choose between three designs for the one they'd like to see used. The one that gets the top vote will be the design that is installed.

Cal Anderson Rainbow Pride Flag and HIV/AIDS Memorial
We are also working on the Cal Anderson Rainbow Pride Flag and HIV/AIDS Memorial to promote visibility of the LGBTQ Community, foster the feeling of Pride throughout the year, and act as the base for an HIV/AIDS Memorial to remember all those lost to the epidemic and to stand in solidarity with those who are infected and looking for a cure.

The location is ideal because Cal Anderson, Washington State's first elected openly Gay official, passed away from complications due to AIDS.

The cost of the Cal Anderson Rainbow Pride Flag and HIV/AIDS Memorial is around $10,000.

The Flagpole is ultimately a separate project from the HIV/AIDS Memorial. Initially, a plaque in honor of those who've lost their lives to HIV/AIDS will be mounted to the flagpole temporarily.

The first priority would be to get the flagpole mounted, the solar light fixture attached and then, finally the flag. The plaque is ordered separately.

Social Outreach Seattle would look to City of Seattle Neighborhoods or Parks grants to help offset the cost of the project. In addition, whatever balance is left, would be raised through private and corporate donations.

Social Outreach Seattle has reached out to work with a local artist, who is a renowned artist that immigrated to Seattle from Guatemala to come up with the design for the monument. The design is a beautiful tribute that consists of the HIV/AIDS ribbon, with the two ribbon ends starting out as benches.

SOSea set a $10,000 goal for the weekend. If you would like to contribute to the work that SOSea does, such as the Rainbow Street Sign Project or the LGBTQ Rainbow Flag and HIV/AIDS Memorial for Cal Anderson park, go to www.SocialOutreachSeattle.com and click on the DONATE tab and follow the prompts. If you or your business, club or organization would like to become involved with these projects please email SOSea at SocialOutreachSeattle@gmail.com.

Shaun Knittel is founder and president of Social Outreach Seattle

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