Pridelines: Miami LGBT Youth Group Holds Successful 30th Birthday Fundraiser
It was quite a night. As the sun set, the lights began bouncing off the pool at the Villa by Barton G in Miami Beach, where Gianni Versace used to live. The surrounding walls, laced with murals, came to life alongside the plants and lamps and sculptures - it all seemed to come out of a movie.
And the occasion was just as theatrical. Pridelines Youth Services, the Miami organization that supports LGBT youth from every corner, celebrated its 30th anniversary.
"Thirty years! Thirty years and we’re stronger than ever!" Victor Diaz-Herman, Pridelines’ executive director, told the crowd at the gala. "This is the most successful fundraiser in our history, but there is work to be done."
The event was sold out with 250 attendees, a record show of hands for Pridelines’s galas. So many people donated items to the silent auction that not all of them could be displayed. It will continue online as soon as they deal with the technical details. While the full proceeds from the auctions won’t be finalized for another week, they’re estimated to be almost $40,000, making it the biggest fundraising gala in the seven years it’s been held. Two people joined the Executive Director’s Circle - fancy for donors who pledge at least $1,000 over the upcoming year - that night.
Richard Murry, a Pridelines board member, said that selling out the gala was more than they had hoped for.
"We were thrilled - this is so important for the kids," he said.
Marilyn Volker and Alexei Guren, who helped bring Pridelines into existence, were given the Rainbow Circle Award.
"I look around and it’s family," Volker told SFGN, pointing at the guests. "Sometimes people are born into families, but I was invited into this one."
And Bruno Barreiro, a Miami-Date county commissioner, proclaimed that August 18 would henceforth be known as "Prideslines Youth Services Day."
The atmosphere was lit up by pride and by happiness. The guests were all smiles and laughs, people reminiscing on Pridelines past and venturing to guess what’s in store for the future.
David Richardson, who recently won a primary with no Republican rivals making him Florida’s first openly gay state rep. come November, took congratulations on his win all night.
"All youth - including LGBT youth - is important to me," he said. "I feel like it’s one of the most important things I can do."
Jessica Lam was among the attendees in her capacity as Pridelines’ program facilitator.
"I’m very proud," she said. "So happy to see this support."
To learn about Pridelines, go to www.pridelines.org.