I wanted to give you an important update. At our monthly board meeting earlier this month, Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) named Jonathan Freidin as Chair and Trelvis Randolph as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for SAVE Inc., the 501(c)4 political advocacy arm of the organization most known for its candidate endorsements and field organizing to get pro-equality candidates elected and legislation passed. The SAVE Foundation, which is the 501(c)3 arm that focuses on raising awareness and providing education on LGBTQ+ issues named Helena Castro as Chair and James Moon as Vice-Chair.
Elizabeth “Liz” Regalado and Brian Adler stepped down from their leadership roles as chairs of SAVE Inc. and the Foundation, respectively, and will remain active as board members. We are grateful for the years of leadership and service that Liz and Brian provided the organizations. Together they saw the organization through major milestones, successes, and challenges for our community and the organization.
Leading up to this change in board leadership, SAVE has announced that its strategic focus for 2020 is community engagement and fieldwork. By focusing on the field, SAVE returns to its core competency on which it has built its reputation and political power through grassroots organizing.
We are ready to put in the work to get SAVE and the LGBTQ community ready for 2020. This year’s elections will have a profound impact on all of us, so our top priorities are to make sure we elect pro-equality candidates and counter the hatred and bigotry coming out of Tallahassee and Washington. To do this, we’ll be activating with an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, and I hope the entire LGBTQ community and allies will come together and join us.
You can read our new leadership bios below. Please join me in welcoming them to their new positions.
Yours in service,
Executive Director, SAVE
Jonathan Freidin is a trial attorney at Freidin Brown. P.A., where he represents plaintiffs in medical negligence, serious personal injury, and whistleblower/qui tam claims. He earned his college degree summa cum laude from the George Washington University in 2009 and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2012. Jonathan has served on the SAVE, Inc. Board of Directors since 2018, as well as the Chair of SAVE’s Endorsement Committee. In addition to his involvement with SAVE, Jonathan also serves as the Chair of the Safety, Security, and Infrastructure Subcommittee of the Mayor’s Panel on Ocean Drive.
Trelvis D. Randolph is a partner in the Miami law office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. He focuses his practice on all matters relating to general liability litigation, including cases involving claims of personal injury from automobile accidents, slip and fall cases, negligent security, wrongful death, product liability, medical malpractice, nursing home and assisted living facilities malpractice, and retail, restaurant and hospitality industry defense. Mr. Randolph received his Juris Doctor degree from Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at The University of Memphis. In addition to his involvement with SAVE, he currently serves as the President-Elect of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association; and also serves as General Counsel of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP.
Helena Castro has been an educator for almost 25 years in the Miami Dade County Public Schools as a social studies teacher and for the past 14 years as a Student Activities Director. As an educator, she has worked with a diverse population of students and faculty, representative of our rich community, and thus has witnessed the growth in advocacy and representation of our LBGTQ peers. Helena grew up in Hialeah, Florida where she became immersed in local politics and grassroots campaigning. After marriage equality came to Florida, Helena married her wife, Yvette in 2016.
James “Jim” Moon is an attorney who handles a wide variety of complex civil and cross-border litigation matters in both state and federal courts for national and international clients. He has handled all aspects of litigation from inception through trial and appeals to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has litigated matters that include prosecuting and defending foreclosure actions, pursuing contract and tort claims against large financial institutions such as banks and their professionals. Additionally, he has pursued and defended against all manner of fraudulent transfer and preference litigation in both state and federal courts. In addition, Jim represents debtors, panel trustees, official and ad hoc committees and individual creditors in complex bankruptcy cases brought under chapter 11 and chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. As a community leader and activist in the LGBTQ community, Jim serves as Vice Chairman and national board member of “A Wider Bridge,” a national civil rights organization advocating for LGBTQ rights inside Israel and support for Israel among the community of nations. He has also served on the board of the Outshine Film Festival. Furthermore, Jim has been recognized as an advocate for Israel by AIPAC, lecturing and writing about the progressive case for support for the State of Israel. Jim has served on the SAVE board since 2018.
Through grassroots community organizing SAVE will influence elections and voter turn out for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ community.
I’m proud to share that our strategic focus for 2020 is community engagement and fieldwork. By focusing on the field, we return to SAVE’s core competency on which it has built its reputation and political power through grassroots organizing efforts that support our strategic imperatives:
- To get pro-equality public service leaders such as legislators, judges, county commissioners, municipal council members, and mayors running for public office elected regardless of party affiliation.
- To influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential race to get a pro-equality candidate and administration elected.
- To mobilize pro-equality voters to turn out at the polls for elections; especially in communities that are hard to reach, who are contacted seldomly and/or are undecided voters that can make the difference between winning or losing.
- To advocate for policy at all levels of government and business that supports the LGBTQ community’s ability to thrive and reduce harm.
- To engage the residents in conservative neighborhoods to reduce prejudice.
- To engage employers in in-depth LGBTQ competency training and updates to their human resource policies to create welcoming work environments for LGBTQ people.
For more than 25 years SAVE has dedicated itself to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination. Since our founding in 1993, SAVE remains the home to civic-minded community members that believe in fighting for equality and fairness for all. They are the champions, heroes, activists, and ordinary people who go to work every day searching for and believing in a world that is fair. Despite busy schedules, our community of volunteers make time to sit on endorsement panels, call voters or knock on doors to get out the vote, organize a variety of events to build awareness of our issues, and engage the broader community to have conversations that effectively help reduce prejudice.
No joke, the stakes are high in 2020. There are over 100 key races, and at least three with openly LGBT candidates right here in Miami-Dade, at the local, state, and federal levels including the presidency of the United State where we will work in the field to make sure our community is protected. There are many challenges that lie ahead including voter suppression, as well as voter apathy. For example, a recent study shows that 1 in 5 LGBTQ adults isn’t even registered to vote, and at the same time, nearly half of all Americans incorrectly believe we are already protected under Federal law. So, our work is cut out for us, but we know that we can make a difference as we have before when SAVE’s efforts to protect the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance resulted in one of the largest voter turnouts in history.
We will continue to build our field efforts by hiring a Community and Field Organizer. And, we will continue to rely on the support and volunteer efforts of people like you. Let us know you are interested in volunteering by signing up to be on an endorsement panel or to be part of our canvass team.
I’m looking forward to working alongside you in our fight for equality. Please feel free to reach out to me by email, call, or text to schedule some time to get together. Rest assured I will be reaching out to you.
Yours in service,
Executive Director, SAVE
This legislative session has set the record as one of the most hostile and dangerous sessions in our history as we are now facing eight anti-LGBTQ bills. These laws cause outright harm to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and threaten our local community’s ability to self-govern.
COMMITTEE HEARINGS TO REPEAL EXISTING PROTECTIONS
A committee hearing is being held today in the House’s Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee for House Bill 305 sponsored by Rep. Bob Rommel of Naples and Senate Bill 1126 sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota. This bill aims to repeal employment protections currently covered by local ordinances. These bills threaten city and county nondiscrimination ordinances that protect more than 13 million Floridians from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
UPCOMING DANGEROUS BILLS WITH NO HEARING SET YET IN EITHER CHAMBER
Lawmakers will also consider additional ways to allow the dangerous practice of conversion therapy within the home setting. House Bill 537 sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds of Naples and Senate Bill 778 sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry of Sarasota supports conversion therapy in a home setting regardless of the current bans enacted by cities and counties that have already instituted protections.
Lastly, House Bill 1365 sponsored by Rep. Anthony Sabatini of Howey-in-the-Hills and Senate Bill 1864 sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley of Lady Lake makes providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth a second-degree felony for doctors who provide these lifesaving treatments to transgender youth.
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN 2020
With the 2020 legislative session being most dangerous yet, just two days in, to the LGBT community it is clear the stakes are high in 2020. SAVE remains committed to protecting LGBT people from discrimination and dangerous laws. Throughout 2020, we will continue to focus on electing pro-equality leaders by increasing turn-out from pro-equality voters. This is the only way to ensure we no longer have to endure dangerous legislation like we are seeing this year in Tallahassee.
Elections matter. Elections have consequences. SAVE will work hard over the next few years to ensure we elect pro-equality legislators to ensure that the LGBT community is protected.
Freidin Brown, P.A. & SAVE Launch Social Justice Scholarships
The law firm of Freidin Brown, P.A. and SAVE are proud to launch the Freidin Brown, P.A. & SAVE Social Justice Scholarships, which will award $25,000 in scholarships to four (4) LGBTQ and allied students in South Florida who strive to lead in a field of Social Justice. After receiving a number of extremely impressive applications, four scholarship recipients have been selected and will be honored at SAVE’s Luminary Awards on September 18, 2019. Each recipient has a proven record of leadership and contributions to the LGBTQ community and has demonstrated a commitment to a field of Social Justice in their professional futures.
Our $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to Ariana Aboulafia, a third-year law student at the University of Miami School of Law. Ms. Aboulafia is the Senior Articles Editor of the Race and Social Justice Law Review, and previously served as the Vice Present of OUTLaw, where she was instrumental in ensuring that a new gender-neutral bathroom was installed on Miami Law’s campus. This summer, a paper that she authored on LGBT homelessness was honored by the National LGBT Bar Association. Upon her graduation, she hopes to work full time at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office and contribute to their mission of fighting for social justice on behalf of indigent clients.
Gonzales previously served as board chairman for the SAVE Foundation
MIAMI, FL (September 10, 2019) - Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) has named Orlando Gonzales as its new Executive Director, effective September 16, 2019. As South Florida’s leading organization for policy advocacy and community engagement for the LGBTQ+ population, Mr. Gonzales will work to expand the organization’s reach and voice throughout South Florida to address the threats and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the region.
“We feel very fortunate and proud to have Orlando back at SAVE as the organization’s executive director. His background, vision, unique experience, and passion for advocacy work are emblematic of the work SAVE has led for the South Florida LGBTQ+ community for more than 25 years,” said SAVE board of directors chair Elizabeth Regalado.
Mr. Gonzales will relocate to Miami from Washington D.C., where he was working in real estate as well as with various non-profit organizations leading their fundraising, grant writing, and programming efforts. As a longtime ally and leader of SAVE, Mr. Gonzales served as the chairman of SAVE from 2009-10 and as chairman of the SAVE Foundation from 2008-2012, during which time he helped to significantly increase the organization’s donor contributions and political footprint.
“The conversation and climate around LGBTQ+ issues has evolved greatly in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to be done, at home and nationwide. Orlando’s vast experience in working with diverse LGBTQ+ communities throughout the country will bring a new and fresh perspective to SAVE and the work that it does in South Florida and statewide,” said Regalado.
Mr. Gonzales was selected from more than a dozen well-qualified candidates through a rigorous and competitive two-month interview process, which included a selection committee of SAVE board members and community leaders at large from the LGBTQ+ and non-profit space.
A formal introduction of SAVE’s new executive director will be made during the organization’s annual Luminaries Awards taking place on September 18, 2019 at Bacardi Headquarters in Coral Gables at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and information, please visit www.LuminaryAwards.org.
SAVE is recognized as South Florida’s longest-serving organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination. Since 1993, SAVE has advocated for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions by focusing on civic engagement and community outreach. SAVE’s vision is a community where people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer have full equality in all facets of life.
Safeguarding American Values for Everyone’s (SAVE) mission is to promote, protect, and defend equality in Miami-Dade County for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ). Established in 1993, SAVE strives to accomplish this mission through community education, grassroots organizing, mobilization and advocacy.Read more
Pardo will lead the search for new leadership while supporting the organization’s signature programs and policy outreach initiatives
SAVE has named Damian Pardo as interim executive director, effective immediately. As interim ED, Pardo will oversee the non-profit’s signature programs, donor engagement, and policy outreach, as well as form part of the executive director candidate search committee, to be led by SAVE Board of Directors Vice-Chair Helena Castro.
“As the founding chair of SAVE and one of the LGBTQ community’s most respected and accomplished advocates and leaders, we are thrilled about having Damian take the helm of the organization during this transition period,” said SAVE Chairman of the Board Elizabeth Regalado. “Damian not only understands the South Florida LGBTQ population intrinsically, his deep involvement with the organization and understanding of its work over the years will serve as the driving force for SAVE’s continued success as we move forward.”
In a historic victory today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act 236 to 173.
SAVE is proud of the overwhelming support the bill received from the South Florida delegation including Rep. Hastings, Rep. Frankel, Rep. Deutch, Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Wilson, Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, and our Champion Congresswoman Donna Shalala.