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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 16, 2007

Cleveland honors Patrick Shepherd and Stonewall Dems

Cleveland--City Council recognized the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats and its outgoing president Patrick Shepherd at its regular meeting February 12.

“Twenty members of this council are straight, but not narrow,” said Ward 17 councilor Matt Zone. The 21st member, Joe Santiago of Ward 14, is gay.

The unanimous resolutions of recognition celebrate the contributions to the community by the Democratic organization.

All of Cleveland’s councilors are Democrats. The Stonewall Democrats worked for the election of most of them.

Ward 13 councilor Joe Cimperman said the relationship between the Stonewall Democrats and the city “gets better every day.”

“It’s like every member wanted to come up here to give this honor,” said Cimperman.

He noted that members of council see the Stonewall Democrats as a community resource and a partner beyond elections.

The occasion also gave the members an opportunity to pay tribute to the organization’s first president, Patrick Shepherd, who stepped down after six years at the helm.

The resolution recognized Shepherd’s role in electing openly gay councilors in three cities in 2005; Santiago, Nickie Antonio in Lakewood and Mark Tumeo in Cleveland Heights.

Cimperman said the two resolutions were appropriate with the leadership change because “Patrick’s leaving measures where the organization started and where it is now.”

The organization’s success tracks the LGBT community’s visibility in the Cleveland area, and growth of other organizations like the Cleveland LGBT Center.

Keli Zehnder, the new president of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, accepted the proclamation, flanked by about a dozen LGBT activists and four members of council.





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