PHOTOS: 2024 St Pete Pride Stonewall Reception raises at least $15K

(L-R) St Pete Pride Executive Director Nicole Berman, Mayor Ken Welch and St Pete Pride board members. (Photo by Dylan Todd)

ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride welcomed supporters to The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art June 6 for their annual Stonewall Reception, raising at least $15,000 for the nonprofit’s work.

The evening featured an open bar, light bites and entertainment from past and present St Pete Pride royalty. The fundraiser honors the birth of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement and is designed to help keep St Pete Pride’s events accessible to the public each year.

Event emcees included St Pete Pride President Dr. Byron Calisch-Green, Vice President Stephanie Morge, Secretary Darius Lightsey and Executive Director Nicole Berman. Each reflected on the importance of Pride in and outside of St. Petersburg.

St Pete Pride also used the opportunity to celebrate rainbow revolutionaries within the community, beginning with this year’s grand marshals. All three were in attendance and received their parade sashes.

This year’s honorees are state Rep. Michele Rayner, a civil rights lawyer whose election as a Black, queer woman made history in 2020; Dena Cass, a fundraiser and entertainer known for her work in and outside of Tampa Bay and Jane Haskell. The local activist has worked with Empath Partners in Care and SAGE.

Additional speakers included St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, who said he was excited “to celebrate the best Pride celebration in the United States” and to commemorate Stonewall. The longtime LGBTQ+ ally reiterated his support for the community while praising the work of the city’s recently appointed LGBTQ+ Liaison Eric Vaughn and that of his predecessor, Jim Nixon.

St Pete Pride’s board echoed Welch before presenting Nixon with a special Rainbow Revolutionary award. “It has truly been an honor for the opportunity to serve in this role,” he shared in response. “I’ve been in the community for 20 years serving in different roles, but the liaison role was really the passion of my life.”

Additional speakers included entertainer Niomi Onassis Knight, who reflected on her experience as a transgender woman, and activist J. Carl Devine. He reflected on his personal experiences at Stonewall and more.

Watermark was proud to attend this year’s reception. View our photos below.

Read more about St Pete Pride 2024 in the official guide, inserted in the current issue of Watermark and available online here.

Photos by Dylan Todd.

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