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Back Out With Benny: Sunday Fundays and more

Around Hillcrest, my favorite day of the week is Sunday (known by many as “Sunday Funday”). In the afternoon, a lot of people are out and about enjoying the many restaurants and bars in the area without the expectations of a Friday or Saturday night out. It’s just a fun, casual time to socialize, meet up with friends, and enjoy an afternoon out.

My 35th birthday — which fell on a Sunday this year — has come and gone, but we certainly enjoyed the day, visiting many of my favorite Sunday Funday spots, including Cheers, Babycakes and #1 Fifth Avenue.

That same day, my good friend J. Alonzo Munoz hosted a very successful fundraiser on #1 Fifth Avenue’s back patio for his upcoming AIDS/LifeCycle ride. He did a great job putting together a fun party while raising funds for the 575-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS services in those two cities.

A pretty large contingent from San Diego typically join the 2,000 or so other participants on this ride each year, including first-timers Mike Seymour and Pete Stafford. These two gentlemen are board members and officers of Stepping Stone San Diego, a nonprofit organization that has provided long-term recovery treatment services for LGBT San Diegans for nearly 40 years.

Stepping Stone is federally funded to provide housing and substance abuse counseling to its clients, but as funding continues to decrease and costs rise, the agency has found itself with a shortfall of nearly $25,000 per month.

Mike and Pete have already covered their fundraising goal for AIDS/LifeCycle and now, all remaining funds raised will be donated back to Stepping Stone.

This agency truly saves lives every single day, and many of those who are involved with Stepping Stone have witnessed that work first-hand. Read more about Mike and Pete, why they care so much about Stepping Stone, and consider making a donation HERE. The ride is May 31-June 6.

Back at The Center, we’re just under a week away from the seventh annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, taking place Thursday, May 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m.

I look forward to this event every year as it is really an exciting celebration of how far our community has come, while we reflect on the challenges still ahead.

More than 1,000 people from all over come together for what is the largest Harvey Milk celebration in the state! The event almost always sells out, so act fast if you want to be there. Tickets and more information are HERE.

In June, we celebrate the birthday of Frida Kahlo with the annual Pachanga de Frida at The Center. This year’s event is scheduled for June 27 and is one of my all time favorite events of the year. Proceeds benefit The Center’s Nicole Murray-Ramirez Latin@ Services program, and includes live music, art exhibits, a Frida look-alike contest, food, and lots of tequila! More information is HERE.

And before we know it, San Diego Pride will be here. In fact, the traditional Southern California LGBT Pride season begins this weekend with Long Beach Pride. This year is gearing up to be one of the most exciting Pride celebrations in San Diego yet, as our Pride festival becomes one of the biggest music festivals in the area!

San Diego Pride has begun announcing this year’s entertainment lineup AND for the first time ever, a VIP ticket option is available to the festival. Check out the details HERE.

Finally, many of you have come to know how passionate I am about The Center’s #BeTheGeneration campaign to end new cases of HIV. We’ve been spreading the campaign all over the place, and it’s been exciting to see how many people around town and beyond are learning about all of the new advances in HIV prevention and treatment that really are game-changers.

Our next two events include a Sunday Funday bar crawl this Sunday, May 17; and a #BeTheGeneration Party at Urban MO’s on May 31. If you’d like to join us for either of these fun events, contact me at outreach@thecentersd.org. More information about #BeTheGeneration is at HERE.

—Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@thecentersd.org.

(Editor's note: This post was originally published on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego).