Brooklyn, NY, June 3, 2016 — Brooklyn Pride Co-chairs Mickey Heller and Jamie Farnam  announced the selection of NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst), New York State Supreme Court Judge Debra Silber and GRIOT Circle as grand marshals for the 20th Annual Brooklyn Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade and Festival which will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2016 in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The parade kicks off at 7:30 PM at Lincoln Place and 5th Avenue, ending at 9th Street and 5th Avenue. The festival runs from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM and is held on 5th Avenue stretching from 5th to 9thStreets.

Brooklyn Pride was founded in 1996 by several Brooklyn LGBT residents looking to create an opportunity for local organizations, businesses, friends and supporters of equal rights to come together in solidarity and celebration, and bring visibility to the multi-cultural LGBT community in the borough.  It is a volunteer-managed non-profit organization working for and on behalf of LGBT Brooklynites and all others who support the struggle for equality of this community.    Dromm, who had founded the Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival in 1993 was also instrumental in the founding of Brooklyn Pride.

Each year the organization produces the Brooklyn LGBT Pride Parade and community events that commemorate, educate, promote and celebrate the spirit of the Stonewall Riots. This is a year round endeavor, culminating with an Annual 5K Run, Multicultural Festival and Parade.  A significant percentage of the net proceeds from their events are invested to support other organizations and events that celebrate the strength, diversity and reaffirm the value of LGBT Brooklynites and all who support the struggle for equal rights.  Over the years, Brooklyn Pride has grown to become the largest and most prominent organization serving Brooklyn’s LGBT community.

“We are so happy to be partnering with so many Brooklyn organizations and individuals to celebrate Brooklyn Pride’s 20th year,” said Brooklyn Pride Co-chairs Jamie Farnam and Mickey Heller.  “From our full week of free community events, through our Saturday 5K Run, Festival, Stage Entertainment, Family Fun Zone, and Twilight Parade, our volunteers, participants, and allies come out to support the LGBTQIA+ folks in Brooklyn and beyond.  We hope you visit www.brooklynpride.org to see all of the events we have going on.”

“This is the first time I have been asked to serve as grand marshal outside of the Borough of Queens,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.  “This is a huge honor for me.  I deeply believe that showing pride in every borough is vitally important to the success of the LGBT movement.  Brooklyn Pride’s work has been critical to our visibility and acceptance in society.”

“I am thrilled to be one of the Grand Marshals in the Brooklyn Pride Parade this year,” said Judge Debra Silber As a native Brooklynite, and the first out lesbian ever elected to the Kings County Supreme Court, I look forward to celebrating Brookyn’s diverse LGBT community as we march through Park Slope on June 11th!”

“As an elder and people of color organization, we are grateful that by honoring GRIOT a message is being reinforced that our presence has always been, and is still present, within the LGBTQ movement,” said José Albino, Executive Director of GRIOT Circle.

About the grand marshals:

NYC Council Member Daniel Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. An award-winning public school teacher, Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chair of the Education Committee. In the City Council, Daniel has been a tireless advocate with a proven record of delivering for the community including: 

•$4 Million to Elmhurst Hospital to create a Cardiac Care Unit and expand the Emergency Room. •$6 Million to double the size of Travers Park in Jackson Heights, adding much needed green space. 

•Led the effort to enact Local Law 6 in 2010, certifying that all undocumented immigrant in City foster care get put on a path to citizenship. 

•Reformed Stop and Frisk policies – and implemented real policing solutions. 

•Led the effort to create IDNYC, the city’s first government-issued identification card. 

•Successfully established the creation of the first NYC Department of Education LGBT Community Liaison.

Prior to his election, Dromm was an award-winning New York City public school teacher at PS 199Q in Queens from 1984 to 2009. In 2006, Dromm was chosen as “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” by his school’s principal and in 2009 he was chosen as “Educator of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside. He has also received the Marsho-Raimo Award from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). Dromm is the founder of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, which he still participates in on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights. Dromm co-founded the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG), as well as the Generation Q Youth Services Program in Astoria. He also helped found the Queens Pride House. A fluent Spanish-speaker, Daniel has been honored by the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Queens. He is a member of the NAACP – Corona/East Elmhurst branch and has also been honored by the Korean American Association of Central Queens.  Dromm has been honored by DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving and by APICHA, an Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS health center and social service provider.  In October of 2006, Dromm received a Community Leadership Award from the Times Ledger newspapers.

Hon. Debra Silber was elected to the NY State Supreme Court in November of 2015.  When she was first elected to the Civil Court in 1997, she was the first gay or lesbian ever elected in Brooklyn to a salaried public office, as compared to school board or district leader, which are not paid. She was re-elected in 2007. She was appointed an Acting Justice by designation in January of 2004 and has been presiding in the Supreme Court, Kings County, since January 1, 2010. Justice Silber hears both jury and non-jury civil trials. In her 19 years on the bench, she has presided over the Integrated Domestic Violence Court on Staten Island, which handles Criminal Court, Family Court and divorce cases, spent a year trying felony trials in Supreme Court Kings County, Criminal Term, and for several years had a custody and visitation part in the Kings County Family Court.  From 1999 – 2004 she was assigned to Kings County Civil Court, where she heard all types of trials, including personal injury and landlord and tenant.  In 1998, she covered a Criminal Court part in New York County.  Before her election, Justice Silber was in private law practice for fourteen years, and served on many boards and commissions. In her private practice, she specialized in representing members of the LGBT community in all matters, including wills, estates, real estate and family law.  In 1992, she was appointed by Mayor David Dinkins to serve as a (parttime) Commissioner on the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is the agency that hears complaints of NYC Police misconduct.  She served on that Board for four years. Justice Silber also served on her local community planning board, Board 2, on the board of her synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu, and has been active in community affairs her entire life.  From 1977 to 1979, she worked for Carol Bellamy, who was elected Council President in 1977, now called Public Advocate.  In 1978,she, along with other early leaders of the Brooklyn LGBT community, formed Lambda Independent Democrats (LID), Brooklyn’s borough-wide democratic club.  Debra was on the LID board for many years, and was Lambda’s Treasurer for six years until she had to resign when she was elected to the Civil Court.  She is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1982) and New York University (1975). A native of Brooklyn, she lives in Boerum Hill with her life partner and their two children. 

GRIOT Circle (Gay Reunion in Our Time) is a diverse community based service organization dedicated to advocacy and empowerment of LGBT elders of color. Founded in 1996, GRIOT, meaning storyteller and keeper of oral history in West African culture remains the only staffed organization in the country exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT Elders of Color. GRIOT Circle’s mission is to provide programs and services to assist its members in removing the isolation and fear around aging in both the LGBTQ People of Color communities as well as the larger community and to eliminate discrimination wherever it exists. The objectives of GRIOT Circle are to: (1) Identify and prioritize the social, emotional and health needs of the membership and provide advocacy and other support systems to aid in alleviating those needs. (2) Provide an integrated and coordinated resource/referral service and establish linkages with existing agencies and organizations that complement GRIOT’s advocacy, programs and services. (3) Provide workshops, information/discussion groups and social and cultural activities that will serve to reduce the level of isolation and fear within constituency groups, enhance their quality of life and promote community involvement. (4) Provide culturally competent workshops and trainings to aid in promoting broader community/public understanding and acceptance and serve as public advocates on issues and policies as they relate to POC LGBT elders.  GRIOT currently serves over 375 registered members. The physical site is located in Brooklyn, NY but members live across New York City.  60% reside in Brooklyn with 40% residing in Harlem, Queens, and the Bronx. GRIOT members range in age from their mid-50’s to late 80’s.  Over 90 % of all members are from low-income households and over 50% are retired and live on fixed incomes.  Approximately 70% of members are female/lesbians. Based on a recent survey 90% of GRIOT members identify as being Black, African-American, or Caribbean-American, with the remaining 10% identifying as Latino/a, white or other. While GRIOT’ mission focuses on the needs of LGBT elders of color, all services and programs are open to everyone GRIOT Circle is celebrating its 20th year and in carrying out its mission the organization understands that community collaborations are key to the organization’s success. As such, it has intentionally created several strategic partnerships with community based organizations that have aligned missions in order to increase service provision and further enforce the rights and protection of the LGBT aging community.

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