Archive for February, 2014

Support Region’s LGBT Community Center

February 24, 2014

By Central Voice

Ben Dunlap, left, and Barbara Darkes, of the Central Pennsylvania LGBT Community board of directors explaining the center's membership program.

Ben Dunlap, left, and Barbara Darkes, of the Central Pennsylvania LGBT Community board of directors explaining the center’s membership program.

The Central Pennsylvania LGBT Community wants YOU.

The center is a self-funded charitable organization. To meet its annual budget, sustained giving through individual memberships is necessary.

“We are a community driven resource with programs touching literally thousands of lives each year,” said center executive director Louie Marven.

“We’re looking for stable, ongoing financial support of our programs,” Marven said. This can be achieved with sustaining memberships of $60 a year that are automatically deducted from a credit card, starting at $15 every third month, for $60 a year.

In addition to maintaining a facility at 1306 N 3rd Street, Harrisburg, the center provides programs that focus on youth, aging and women, in addition to training for non-profit entities and educational institutions. The center is also home to the LGBT History Project, which archives information and resources on the region’s rich lgbt history.

On Feb. 21-22, the center completed its 7th Annual Gay-Straight Alliance Leadership Summit. The popular event offers leadership and skills training to high school and college students who aspire to be the LGBT leaders of tomorrow. The 2014 event set record attendance with 215 high school students and 125 college students for a total of 340.

Members of the LGBT community, allies, and individuals who use center services can support the organization through an annual membership. The center currently has 200 members. The goal is to increase that by 100 additional members by March 31.

A grand finale membership party will be held at the center on March 31, 6-8 p.m. for new and existing members.

Membership Levels
Basic Membership – Red Level includes discounts at participating businesses listed below. Red Levels include
– Individual $60 ($15/quarterly)
– Family $90 (one-time)
– Student $20 (one-time)

Yellow Level – $120 ($10/mo) includes discounts plus listing in Annual Report and other event programs.

Green Level – $240 ($20/mo) includes prior level benefits plus an exclusive member reception.

Blue Level – $600 ($50/mo) includes prior level benefits plus one free ticket to FAB 2014.

Purple Level – $1,200 ($100/mo) includes prior level benefits plus a private dinner party.

Participating Businesses

Dunn Law 10% discount on estate planning document packages listed at
Contact: (717) 503-1207 |
Applies to members and significant other only. Only applies to estate planning packages, not other legal services.

Ernest Fontaine, DDS 15% off services
Contact: (717) 564-1310 |
Applies to member and member’s partner.

Garretson Tile Company 10% off ceramic tile and subsequent 5% off on installation
Contact: (717) 334-4617 |

Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches
Receive coupons upon joining Center membership program.

j.a. sharp Custom Jeweler 10% off items in store
Contact: (717) 295-9661 |
Applies to member only. Limited to finished goods in store. Does not apply to repairs or custom orders.

Lancaster Arts Hotel 20% off any suite (loft, arts, presidential)
Contact: (717) 299-3000 |
Hotel use only. Based on availability. Some black-out dates may apply.

Posh Studio 15% discount on photography services
Contact: (717) 222-1077 |
Not valid with any other offers. No cash out value or cash value. Center member must be present.

Hershey Handbell Ensemble Concert – A Celebration of Our 10 Years, April 26

February 21, 2014

The Hershey Handbell Ensemble will present a concert on April 26, 7 p.m. at the Grace United Church of Christ, 1947 New Holland Pike, Lancaster.

In 2004, this auditioned, community handbell ensemble, based in south-central Pennsylvania, was formed to fulfill the need for an auditioned community ensemble comprised of persons able to play advanced literature, interested in advancing the art of handbell ringing through education and performance while uniting people through this musical art. The fourteen-member group under the direction of Dr. Shawn Gingrich performs on seven octaves of Malmark Handbells, Handchimes, and other assorted instruments.

Hershey Handbell Ensemble concert April 26, 7 p.m., Grace United Church of Christ, Lancaster, PA

Hershey Handbell Ensemble concert April 26, 7 p.m., Grace United Church of Christ, Lancaster, PA

The concert celebrates the ensemble’s tenth anniversary season and will feature favorite selections from each season along with the premiere of a new composition titled “Awakening” which was commissioned by the ensemble in honor of their anniversary. The ensemble’s popular selection of CD recordings will be available for sale.

This appearance by the Hershey Handbell Ensemble is part of Grace UCC’s ten year anniversary celebration as an Open and Affirming congregation and will assist the Memorial Bells of Grace UCC to expand and promote their new bell program. A suggested donation of $10 a person will be collected and light refreshments will be served after the Ensemble’s performance.

Info: or call 717-298-7071

Philadelphia Theater Review: Lantern Theater Company’s THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR

February 14, 2014

By Debra Miller, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent

Director Charles McMahon asserts that all of Shakespeare’s plays, whenever or wherever they’re set, are in fact observations about contemporary England. By shifting the locales to places outside of his homeland, the playwright made his universal themes more palatable to a British audience; in essence, they would rather hear about the human shortcomings and socio-political foibles of distant characters and cultures, than to have them exposed directly about themselves and their nation.

Following the lead of Kenneth Branagh’s movie version of As You Like It (2007) and Akira Kurosawa’s film adaptations of Macbeth (Throne of Blood, 1957) and King Lear (Ran, 1985), McMahon infuses THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR with the aesthetics of feudal Japan, a society that faced some of the same issues as those presented in the infamous history of the ancient Roman emperor: the pitting of personal ambition against politics; and the rights of the leader versus the rights of the people.

According to McMahon, similar concerns were found among the Elizabethan aristocracy, who wanted to preserve rather than to relinquish their privileges to a powerful monarch. Interesting idea, but does it work in a play about real figures and an actual event that we all know occurred in the Curia of Pompey in 44 BC? Shakespeare himself seems to have promoted the concept, in the words he gave to Cassius (Act III, Scene 1): “How many ages hence/Shall this our lofty scene be acted over/In states unborn and accents yet unknown!”

Joe Guzmán and Forrest McClendon in THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR at the Lantern (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

Joe Guzmán and Forrest McClendon in THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR at the Lantern (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

If you accept the conceit, and can reconcile the historical facts of the script with the artistic license of the design, you will surely appreciate Lantern’s stunning production. Scenic designer Meghan Jones sets the stage with Shoji screens in place of classical columns, Brian Strachan costumes the cast in traditional warrior attire and robes instead of togas, and the Kyo Daiko Ensemble pounds its Taiko drums to the beat of Christopher Colucci’s original Japanese-inspired music.

And McMahon’s accomplished actors demonstrate their fluidity with the language and their recognition of its gravity, with especially passionate performances by Joe Guzmán as Cassius, Adam Altman as Marullus, U.R. as Brutus, Jered McLenigan as Marc Antony, and Forrest McClendon (an acclaimed veteran of Broadway and London’s West End) as Caesar. Bravi! The show runs through March 16th at St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Sts., Philadelphia. For information and tickets, visit

Equality PA Beefs Up for Battle: 6 Staff Added, Phone Bank Volunteers Needed

February 7, 2014

By Central Voice

Equality PA has added six staff as they focus for 2014 on House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300. The twin measures call for including LBGT protections in all matters that involve public accommodations – employment, housing, credit, and public all accommodations.

The organization’s web site says they are “ready to kick off our campaign to make 2014 the year we end LGBT discrimination in PA.”

A bipartisan slate of more than 100 Pennsylvania legislators has introduced the “300” legislation. Although 33 cities and towns have municipal ordinances already in place protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination, statewide legislation is critical to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians are protected.

Of the State Senators and State Representative who represent the Dauphin, Cumberland, Lancaster and York county region, a few have signed on as co-sponsors to the bill. Many more have not.

Co-sponsors are State Sen. Rob Teplitz, State Rep. Patty Kim, State Rep. Mike Sturla, and State Rep. Ron Miller.

Not co-sponsoring are area State Reps. Aument, Bear, Boyd, Creighten, Cutler, Denlinger, Hickernell, and area State Senators Alloway, Brubaker, Gillespie, Grove, Fulmer, Regan, Saylor, Smucker, Schreiber, Vance, Waugh, and Tallman.

“New staff will mount a statewide effort,” says Jane Slusser, who manages the newly-placed organizing team.

Organizers will focus on Harrisburg, Scranton, south East Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. One of the organizers will work with faith-based groups across the state.

In Idaho, about 40 gay rights protesters were arrested Feb. 3 in Idaho’s state Capitol after they blocked every entrance to the Senate chamber, standing silently with their hands over their mouths and wearing T-shirts asking lawmakers to enact anti-discrimination protections for gays in the state. The protesters want the Idaho Human Rights Act amended to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”; the act now bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, disability and other factors, but not on those two.

Jane Slusser

Jane Slusser

Jane Slusser

Jane is the Organizing Director and a long-time progressive advocate. Most recently, she led the statewide efforts of the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign, securing Senator Toomey’s support for ENDA. Jane first came to Pennsylvania to work on the Obama campaign in South Philadelphia in 2008. She returned to Pennsylvania for the 2012 campaign, serving as a Regional Field Director for Northeast PA. She continued working for President Obama through the inauguration, serving as the Associate Director of the National Day of Service. Prior to her life as an organizer, Jane worked at Oxford University Press and also helped start up Catchafire, a social enterprise focused on transforming the nature of community service.

Maureen Gray

Maureen Gray

Maureen Gray

Maureen is the Regional Organizer for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Maureen has been an active organizer for most of her adult life. She became involved with President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, and was eventually brought on board as a Field Organizer for the Scranton area. In 2013, Maureen organized for a Lackawanna County judicial candidate, and served as a Fellow with Organizing for Action. She has lived in Pennsylvania for four years.

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner is the Regional Organizer for Central Pennsylvania. Originally from Bucks County, PA, Andrew started working on campaigns as a volunteer with Equality Maryland during college. Since graduating from the University of Maryland in 2012, he has had the opportunity to work on marriage campaigns across the country and is excited to come to Pennsylvania to help fight to LGBTQ rights in his home state.

Shanea Leonard

Shanea Leonard

Shanea Leonard

Rev. Shanea D. Leonard is the Regional Organizer for Western Pennsylvania. Shanea has lived in PA all her life and pursued education here as well with a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and M.Div from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. A native of Philadelphia, Shanea resides in Pittsburgh where she pastors JUDAH Fellowship Christian Church, a multi-cultural, affirming family ministry. Rev. Leonard is also the board of several non-profit organizations and she is the organizer/founder of the Pittsburgh Clergy Consortium, an inter-faith network of affirming spiritual leaders in the greater Pittsburgh area. She is a sought after speaker, preacher, and workshop leader.

Andrew Todd F. Kunka, J.D.

Andrew Todd Kunka

Andrew Todd Kunka

Andrew is the Regional Organizer for Southeastern Pennsylvania and resides in Philadelphia. Andrew has served as civil rights organizer and advocate for over ten years. Prior to joining EQPA, he organized with the Americans for Workplace Opportunity to pass ENDA in the U.S. Senate. Andrew has also served as Civil Rights Attorney in NJ focusing on fair housing and was a member of former Mayor Cory Booker’s LGBTQ Advisory Concerns Commission, where he coordinated various grassroots initiatives and developed policy proposals to advance progressive policy reform for LGBTQ youth and communities of color throughout the city. Andrew’s passion for social justice lead him to complete his Juris Doctorate and Masters in Public Affairs & Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. As an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Andrew was hired as the first in the Catholic Universities’ history to develop resources for the LGBTQ community. Andrew is originally for Phoenix, AZ.

Ammon Ripple

Ammon Ripple

Ammon Ripple

Ammon is our statewide Faith Organizer. After eleven years as a librarian and LGBTQ activist in Pittsburgh, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has worked with diverse faith communities in local, regional, and national settings, including four years with the National Council of Churches. In addition to doing faith organizing and community relations work for non-profits, he has served a small church as a pastor. Ammon serves on the boards of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh. He and his partner, Sean, are in the ordination process in the United Church of Christ.

Besides the non-discrimination activity in the form of hoping to pass a statewide bill, Equality PA will also involve itself in issues that have crossover and/or overlap with
the LGBT community. for example, in a recent email to supporters the organization noted that a new bill championed by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, “claims that it will help state employees by protecting them from paying union dues. However, under current law no one is forced to pay union dues, and the bill actually has far reaching consequences that will seriously undermine the union protections that state employees currently have on the job.” The legislative measures are known as House Bill 1507 and Senate Bill 1034.

The email also notes that “Unions were the first major employee run organization to add protections for LGBT people in their jobs and have fought hard to keep those protections in their contracts. Without those protections, thousands of LGBT workers in PA could lose their non-discrimination protections at work.” Equality PA held a public rally in Harrisburg’s Capitol Rotunda to oppose the bills.

Andrew Deiner Needs Your Help!
Phone Bank Volunteers Sought

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner

Andrew Deiner, Equality PA community organizer for the south central region of the Pennsylvania, needs your help. “We’ll be calling registered voters during March and April. We’ll ask them to contact their state representative and their state senator and ask them to support House Bill 300 and/or Senate Bill 300,” Deiner tells Central Voice. The twin bills call for including LBGT protections in all matters that involve public accommodations – employment, housing, credit, and public all accommodations. Deiner is one six staff the organization has brought on as they focus for 2014 on passing the measures.

“We’re calling everyone – Democrats, Republicans, and Independent voters,” Deiner says enthusiastically. Volunteers will make calls from phone banks set up in churches, allied organizations, community centers. In turn, it is anticipated that those elected officials called will have a deeper understanding of the importance of the bills. “Calls from constituents may be the deciding factor in an representative or senator votring in favor of the measure,” Deiner explains.

Individuals interested in volunteering are asked to contact Deiner at –