Yusef Salaam will be the keynote speaker at the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s Justice for All Liberty Awards Dinner on Oct. 14.

ACLU announces keynoter

RALEIGH, N.C. — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina has announced that Yusef Salaam will be its keynote speaker at its Justice for All Liberty Awards Dinner to be held on Oct. 14, 7 p.m., at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, 421 S. Salisbury St. A reception at 6 p.m. precedes the dinner and awards.

Salaam was wrongfully convicted in the “Central Park Five” case and served more than five years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He now shares his story to raise important questions about race and class, the failings of our criminal justice system, legal protections for vulnerable youth, and basic human rights.

The HB2 plaintiffs will be honored with an award at the ACLU dinner.

Those being honored are: James E. Williams, Jr. — criminal justice reform advocate and former public defender for Orange and Chatham counties (Frank Porter Graham Award for Lifetime Achievements in Defending and Advancing Civil Liberties in North Carolina); LGBTQ Plaintiffs — Joaquín Carcaño, Payton McGarry, Angela Gilmore, Hunter Schafer, Maddy Goss and Quinton Harpe, named plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ laws HB2 and HB142 (Sharon Thompson Award for Courageous Pursuit of Equal Rights for LGBTQ North Carolinians); Religious Liberty Plaintiffs — Rowan County residents Nan Lund, Bob Voelker and Liesa Montag-Siegel, plaintiffs in the ACLU’s challenge to Rowan County commissioners’ unconstitutional practice of opening public meetings by coercing members of the public to join them in prayers that overwhelmingly advanced beliefs specific to one religion (ACLU-NC Award for Extraordinary Service in Defense of Civil Liberties in North Carolina). Other awardees are the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights, Elaine Gordon and Davion M. Washington, Jr.

Tickets are available online and are going fast. Cost is $175.

info: acluofnc.org.

PFLAG seeks ad funds

DURHAM/RALEIGH, N.C. — Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Triangle is seeking signatures and contributions for its annual Independent Weekly ad that will run on Sept. 27.

This fundraising effort helps the organization to continue to fulfill its mission.

Individuals, community organization, faith groups and businesses are encouraged to participate in order to send a powerful message of support for the LGBTQ community.

The message states: “We the undersigned affirm the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender people. We condemn acts of bigotry and hatred. We join PFLAG in celebrating the lives of those we love and admire; acceptance and love…family values for a lifetime.”

A contribution of $15 per individual, household or non-profit signer is requested. Businesses are asked to give $30.

Deadline for submission is Sept. 18 and can be facilitated online at bit.ly/2wzA1Fr.

info: pflagtriangle.org.

LGBTQ-themed plays mounted

CHAPEL HILL/RALEIGH, N.C. — Two plays are being presented onstage during September across the Triangle which have LGBTQ themes and storyline.

From Sept. 13-Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., PlayMakers Repertory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Club Dr. in Chapel Hill, N.C. will stage “The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter and directed by Jeffrey Meanza in the Paul Green Theatre.

Set in Winston-Salem, cake baker Della is asked by Jen to make a cake for her wedding. However, the baker is forced to examine her beliefs when she finds out that Jen’s partner is another woman.

Food trucks will be onsite for most performances.

Tickets start at $15 and are available online.

From Sept. 21-24 and 28-30, 8 p.m., VAE Raleigh, 309 W. Martin St. in Raleigh, N.C. will stage “The Member of the Wedding” by Carson McCullers.

This play is an adaptation of McCullers’ novel of the same name. It presents complex issues pertaining to race relations, sexuality, and gender identity, their roles in the 20th century American South, as well as their complex relationships with the development of identity and intimacy.

Tickets are $15 and are available online at bit.ly/2vDV9x7.

info: playmakersrep.org. vaeraleigh.org.

Pagan Pride fest upcoming

APEX, N.C. — The Central NC Pagan Pride Days Festival will be held from Sept. 16-17 at Optimist Club Farm, 2908 Optimist Farm Rd. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Festival goers can enjoy entertainment and educational opportunities through social, commercial and spiritual activities. Everyone is welcome to join or observe rituals, attend workshops, meet local groups and more. Additionally, there will be children’s activities, raffles and vendor booths to visit.

The event is open to the public. Daily admission for attendees consists of a contribution for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC.

info: cncppd.org.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@qnotescarolinas.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@qnotescarolinas.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.