KC Cares, and a busy political season

To help victims and survivors of the June 12 Pulse bar shooting in Orlando, where 49 people died and more were injured, Kansas City’s gay bars quickly came forward to form a group called KC Cares. Together, they organized an all-day fund-raiser on June 25 at Missie B’s, with crowds inside the bar and in the closed-off parking lot outside.

Jan Allen, manager of Missie B’s, reports that as of July 22, the total is $52,000 from the money raised that day and additional funds from donations and sales of KC Cares T-shirts. Allen said they expect $2,000 more to come in from another source.

Kansas City’s LGBTQ community contributed to Orlando’s cause in other ways as well. LIKEME Lighthouse had a fundraiser bingo night at Hamburger Mary’s, and the KC Bear Mafia held its fundraiser at Woody’s. Jeff Edmondson, co-owner of Hamburger Mary’s and Woody’s, reports that $4,500 was raised at the LIKEME Lighthouse bingo and more than $1,200 at the KC Bear Mafia event.

Raising $60,000 from our community for the partners and families of those killed or injured in the Orlando tragedy, as well as unemployed staff of the Pulse nightclub, demonstrates that KC really does Care.

Much of the money raised in Kansas City and nationwide has been sent to the OneOrlando Fund, a nonprofit organization. It was set up to distribute the millions of dollars that have poured into Orlando since the shooting. On its website, OneOrlando reports that the fund “is committed to giving 100% of the donations that are being received directly back to the victims’ families and the survivors. We will not have any paid staff and are working with service providers to ensure there is no other overhead.”

National political conventions

As of our deadline for this issue, the Republican National Convention was over and the Democratic National Convention had not yet begun.

Republican Donald Trump’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sends a clear signal that Trump is supporting the GOP stance of ignorance toward the LGBTQ community, even if Trump did mention the word LGBTQ twice in his convention acceptance speech. The party has opposed same-sex marriage and supported the “Religious Freedom Laws” that allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Many have opposed allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of their identified gender.

At this point, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is accepted more easily by LGBTQ groups.

After Clinton’s announcement of her running mate, the Human Rights Campaign posted this headline on its website: “With Kaine, Clinton Bolsters Unprecedented Presidential Campaign in Support of Full LGBTQ Equality.” The post goes on: “While Donald Trump doubled down on discrimination by picking Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton has bolstered her campaign’s historic commitment to LGBTQ equality by choosing Tim Kaine,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Having proven time and time again that they have the experience, determination, and leadership needed to move equality forward for all Americans, we are confident Clinton and Kaine will tear down the walls of discrimination that hold all of us back. The stakes for LGBTQ people in this election couldn’t be higher, and the choice for pro-equality voters couldn’t be clearer.” You can read more at http://hrc.org.

Clinton and Kaine will still have challenges in reaching many of the Bernie Sanders and independent voters. Many feel that the choice of Kaine was too safe and that a more progressive individual should have been chosen. Some worry about Kaine’s advocacy of free trade and worry that his Catholic faith could be an obstacle in a woman’s right to choose, although he has made a clear distinction between his personal faith and his governing. A great summary of where Clinton and Kaine stand on the issues can be found in this New York Times article: http://goo.gl/8qKNf1.

Endorsements for Aug. 2 primary

The political arm of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization for LGBTQ equality, has come out with its first list of pro-equality candidates for the Missouri primary election. PROMO PAC says it will complete its list by the week before the Aug. 2 primary. Check it out at http://promopac.org/candidates/2016-endorsed-candidates.html.