News Briefing: Feb. 3-9, 2017

News Briefing: Feb. 3-9, 2017

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Security footage requested in Woody’s case

A discovery hearing is scheduled for this week in the case of James Stefanide 2d, who claims he sustained serious injuries while falling on interior stairs at Woody’s Bar in June 2015. 

In August 2016, Stefanide filed suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, seeking an unspecified amount in monetary damages from the popular LGBT establishment. 

Stefanide wants surveillance footage of the incident, but Woody’s Bar allegedly refuses to provide the footage until Stefanide is deposed, according to court records. 

A discovery hearing to resolve the dispute is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 2 in Courtroom 253 of City Hall.

According to Stefanide’s lawsuit, the slip-and-fall incident was caused by “an unreasonably slippery condition of the stairs.” Stefanide also alleges that Woody’s management failed to inform patrons of a “dangerous and hazardous condition,” prior to his fall. His injuries include right-arm, lower-back and spinal damage, according to court records.

— Timothy Cwiek 

Hearing delayed for man accused of targeting trans women

Attorneys for the defendant accused of robbing local transgender women and murdering a man requested more time to gather evidence at a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

A new hearing for defendant Matthew White, 32, is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28 in Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St.

Philadelphia Police arrested White Jan. 15 for murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, robbery and related offenses.

White was allegedly involved in two separate incidents in which he responded to trans women’s personal ads on the classifieds-advertising website Backpage.

In a Jan. 8 case, police spokesperson Lt. John Stanford said White allegedly robbed three transgender women of cash and a cell phone in Kingsessing. When one of the women attempted to follow White, who fled the scene on foot, he allegedly fired one shot from a handgun as a warning. The next night, White allegedly attempted to rob a transgender woman on the 5400 block of Girard Avenue. 

Barry Jones, a friend of the woman, tried to intervene and police say White shot and killed him. 

New Hope schools move ahead with trans policy

The board of the New Hope-Solebury School District last week affirmed the first reading of a student policy to protect transgender students. The policy entitled “Gender Expansive and Transgender Students,” features guidelines on areas such as school records, restroom accessibility and dress codes for transgender and gender-nonconforming students. 

School Board President Neale Dougherty said there were no votes for or against the policy at the Jan. 26 meeting. The board will put the policy forth at a second reading later this month, and it will be adopted into policy if there are no objections or concerns. 

The next New Hope-Solebury School District board meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the large-group instruction room at the Upper Elementary School, 186 W. Bridge St., New Hope. 

The Attic provides call to action 

A local LGBT youth center will host a town-hall meeting to discuss ways to combat issues facing young LGBT people of color.

The Attic Youth Center’s Mpowerment, an internship program dedicated to safer-sex practices and relationship skills, will host “A Call To Action: LGBTQ Youth Town Hall Meeting” in conjunction with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

During the discussion, The Attic interns will discuss topics such as ways to contribute toward the fight against HIV, mentoring, personal accountability, mental health and wellness among queer people of color and “shade culture.”

The meeting will take place 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at The Attic Youth Center, 255 S. 16th St.

Mazzoni Center celebrates Justice in Action 

A local LGBT health and wellness organization will honor Mara Keisling, the founder and executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Each year, the Mazzoni Center’s Justice in Action program brings together legal professionals, law students and others to raise awareness about the center’s free legal services tailored to the needs of LGBT Pennsylvanians.

“Through her years of activism and distinguished leadership of her groundbreaking advocacy organization, Mara has made remarkable contributions to advancing equality and social justice for trans and gender-nonconforming people across the United States,” a statement on Mazzoni’s website reads. 

Prior to the luncheon, attorneys and legal professionals will moderate a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program entitled “Protected or Not? When, Where and How Do Sex-Discrimination Laws Protect LGBTQ People?”

The panel will include Katie Eyer of the Rutgers law faculty, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan and Fox Rothschild, LLP, Associate Attorney Brian McGinnis. Attendees are eligible for two hours of CLE credits. 

The event will begin with the CLE at 9:30 a.m., followed by the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 10 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St. 

For more information, visit www.mazzonicenter.org/events/justice-action-2017-awards-luncheon.

— Jeremy Rodriguez

COLOURS moves locations 

The COLOURS Organization moved to a new location last month. 

The agency is now located at 1211 Chestnut St., Suite 910. It previously operated out of 1207 Chestnut St.

COLOURS is seeking donations to support the move and its ongoing programs. For more information, visit www.coloursorganization.org/donate.

Shop at Whole Foods, support William Way 

Through the spring, shoppers at both Philadelphia locations of Whole Foods will have the opportunity to fundraise for William Way LGBT Community Center.

Whole Foods selected the center as the beneficiary of its Nickels for Nonprofits, which started last month and runs through April 9. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own grocery bags for their shopping trips; for each bag, Whole Foods will donate a nickel to William Way.

Whole Foods is located at 929 South St. and 2101 Pennsylvania Ave.

— Jen Colletta


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