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Easter Walk Long Beach 2017 raises more money than previous fundraisers

Here are a few of the drag queens who donned their Sunday best for Easter Walk Long Beach and helped raise money for St. Mary Medical Center’s CARE Center, the region’s largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment program. Photo: CARE Center.

LONG BEACH — Easter Walk Long Beach 2017 was the most successful fundraiser in the event’s history — raising more than $27,000. That figure is $10,000 more than 2016’s total, organizers said.

Easter Walk Long Beach benefits St. Mary Medical Center’s C.A.R.E. Program, the region’s largest HIV/AIDS treatment program. All money raised will be given directly to C.A.R.E.

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The event also is a time for drag queens dressed in their Sunday best to stroll along Broadway making stops at the bars and taking shots for charity. Several bars and businesses hosted events leading up to the Easter stroll-a-thon.

Easter Walk Long Beach was founded by Rick White in 1997. He retired from the event about 15 years ago, but returned this year to attend a special 20th anniversary gala at Hamburger Mary’s.

White passed the Easter bonnet to drag diva Jewels, who has been mistress of ceremonies ever since.

“I am in awe of the overwhelming success of this year’s 20th anniversary of Easter Walk Long Beach,” Jewels said. “The amazing support from our community organizations like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Imperial Court of Long Beach, the AIDS Food Store, and the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, continues to inspire the wonderful work started so many years ago for this great cause.

“So many of our young people showed up to help out inspiring a new generation for a change and involvement,” she said.

In each of the past three years, the Easter Walk Long Beach proceeds have topped the previous year:

  • 2014 – $13,514
  • 2015 – $14,403
  • 2016 – $16,736

John Barnes, manager at the Silver Fox, one of bars that has participated in Easter Walk Long Beach for many years, said this year’s event was inspirational.

“What I perceive as a diminished GLBT community in Garden Grove, Laguna and Silver Lake has not occurred here. This year’s Easter Walk exemplifies how strong our community is in Long Beach,” he said. “A new generation has taken up the cause, and under the leadership of Jewels, the Easter Walk has become a signature event in the LBC.

“Hats and wigs off to all the volunteers and the community members who donated so generously.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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