LYRIC’s Toni Newman Calls Nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine “Historic and Reflective of America’s Diversity”

Media Contact: DP&A, Inc. / David Perry / / (415) 676-7007

LYRIC’s Toni Newman Calls Nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine “Historic and Reflective of America’s Diversity”

19 January 2021 – San Francisco, CA: Following today’s announcement by the incoming Biden / Harris Administration of Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary of health, Toni Newman, Interim Executive Director for San Francisco’s esteemed nonprofit LYRIC (, called the nomination “historic.” If confirmed, Levine will be the first openly transgender federal official to receive Senate confirmation. 

“The incoming Biden / Harris Administration promised a cabinet that looked like the people it is charged with serving,” said Newman. This nomination of Dr. Levine is historic and reflective of America’s diversity.”

Levine has been leading Pennsylvania’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming the public face of the state’s public health response as she has led regular briefings alongside Gov. Tom Wolf. Levine was first appointed as Pennsylvania’s health secretary in 2017, also leading the state’s response to the opioid epidemic during her tenure. The Pennsylvania official was confirmed three times by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, the Biden transition noted in a statement announcing her nomination, and Levine was the first transgender person appointed to a Cabinet position in Pennsylvania when she became its physician general in 2015.

LYRIC is the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading organization offering expertise in youth workforce development, healthcare navigation, individual counseling, and group-based community building to marginalized low-income LGBTQQ+ youth.  In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, LYRIC has continued its vital work for LGBTQQ youth in our community.

Newman is the former Interim Director for Employment Services at the San Francisco LGBT Center and a consultant for the Transgender Strategy Center. Toni is a graduate of Wake Forest University and current candidate for her Juris of Doctorate (JD). Toni served as the Executive Director for St. James Infirmary and the Director of Development for Maitri Compassionate Care, and previously served as the Interim Director of Development & Communications at To Help Everyone Health and Wellness Centers and as a Strategic Fundraiser, Volunteer Recruiter, and Legislative Aide for Equality California. Additionally, Toni is a best selling author, noted for her memoir I Rise – The Transformation of Toni Newman released in 2011, which is based on the poem I Rise by Wake Forest University Reynolds Professor, Dr. Maya Angelou. 

LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities. For more information and to make a donation, go to  

Palm Springs Couple “Lights Up” for Good Causes & History

media contact: DP&A, Inc. (415) 676-7007 /  

Palm Trees Lit for Important Days Starting Last Night
with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tonight to Honor COVID Death Toll
& Wednesday’s Inauguration

Idea Hoped to be Catalyst for Official Lightings in PS and CV

18 January 2021 – Palm Springs, CA:  Inspired by memorable lightings around the country during COVID, two Palm Springs residents have taken the idea to heart – and to home. Beginning tonight — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — Alfredo Casuso & David Perry will light up the LED powered palm trees in front of their Los Compadres home in ever changing rainbow hues to mark important days in history, national commemorations honoring nonprofits and charities and other significant dates. It’s an idea they hope will grow and get picked up and magnified at a community and official level.

The schedule for their palm trees palette is online at including a special star spangled display for tomorrow’s Presidential Inauguration. Tonight as part of the nationwide tribute coordinated by the Biden Inaugural Committee, the trees will be lit AMBER to honor all those who have died from COVID-19. 

“A dear friend of ours, the Rev. Anthony Turney, used to say: ‘timing is important but lighting is everything,’ ”said Casuso and Perry in a statement. “2020 was a rough year and 2021 can use all the light it can get to brighten our lives and our lessons. We’re hoping that our neighbors, and our local governments, will pick up the idea.  Our idea is that perhaps Palm Springs Airport, City Hall and various iconic buildings through the Coachella Valley will ‘light up’ to bring attention to important commemorative days through the year.”

Owners of a public relations and design firm, Casuso and Perry moved their fulltime residence to Palm Springs in 2015 but maintain a client base both here and in San Francisco including work with several SF mayoral administrations. Over the years, one of the iconic images transmitted internationally has been San Francisco City Hall lit for various causes: rainbow for LGBT Pride; Purple for Cleft Palate Awareness Day; Red, White & Blue for July 4th. This past April, in honor of the devastating death toll from COVID in Spain, Casuso and Perry, working with the Spanish Consul General, pushed to have City Hall lit in the colors of that country: Red & Gold. Those images went around the world and were picked up by international press outlets.

“That’s when I began thinking. We can do it here, on our own,” said Casuso.

As the months dragged on and COVID surge followed by COVID surge, the idea fell onto the back burner.

“Then it was Christmas and we always put up lights, lots of lights,” said Perry. “It clicked: Instead of putting up temporary decorations, let’s install lights that we can change for every occasion.”

Through the miracle of LEDs and an iPhone app, the couple had their very own palm trees palette.

“We can all use a little more light after 2020,’ said Casuso. “And what better time to start a new tradition than this week.”

Tonight, in honor or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the couple’s palm trees will be lit in the colors of his birth state, Georgia: Red, Gold and Blue.

“And for Inauguration Day, as it should be,” said Perry, “Red, White and Blue.”

Following is the complete schedule through February, published online at Casuso and Perry are hoping the idea will grow and get picked up by neighbors and by local city governments.  

January 18 — for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: RED, YELLOW (GOLD) & BLUE, colors of the state of Georgia where MLK, Jr. was born.

January 19 — In memory of all those lost to COVID-19 as part of the Inaugural Committee coordinated effort: AMBER

January 20 — Presidential Inauguration: RED, WHITE & BLUE 

January 24 — The day in 1848 Gold was discovered in California: ALL GOLD

January 27 — 1945 Auschwitz Liberated – International Holocaust Remembrance Day: BLUE & WHITE

January 30 —  San Francisco naming day, 1847:  Colors of San Francisco – RED & GOLD

February 1 —  National Freedom Day, honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865:  RED, BLACK, GREEN

February 4 —  World Cancer Day: BLUE & ORANGE

February 11 —  Nelson Mandela released from Prison: GREEN, BLACK, GOLD

February 12 — Chinese / Lunar New Year, “The Year of the Ox”: ALL RED

February 27 —  On February 27, 1922, the 19th Amendment is upheld by the United States Supreme Court, defending women’s voting rights: WHITE the colors of the Suffragists.

SF Mayor London Breed Announces Plan for Network of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in Francisco

SF Mayor London Breed Announces Plan for Network of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in Francisco

Contact: San Francisco Joint Information Center,


City will partner with health care providers to stand up a mix of high-volume and community-based sites to quickly get people the COVID-19 vaccine as supply become more readily available

15 January 2021 — San Francisco, CA: Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today outlined the City’s plan to create a network of vaccination sites to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible when doses become more readily available. In partnership with the health care providers in San Francisco, which are receiving the majority of the vaccine doses from the state, the City will facilitate the quick and efficient delivery of vaccines through high-volume vaccine sites as well as community-based sites. 

The providers partnering with the City include Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Health, Dignity Health, Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and the Department of Public Health, which provides healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured. The City has also created a vaccination notification website where, starting Tuesday, January 19, people who live and work in San Francisco can sign up to be notified when they become eligible under state guidance to receive the vaccine.  

The goal of this initiative is to ensure all health care providers in San Francisco are fully-prepared to facilitate wide-scale vaccinations for those who live and work in San Francisco as soon as health care providers receive sufficient vaccine allocations from the state and federal government. The sites will be created to scale-up capacity as vaccine supply increases. Once the vaccine locations are fully operational, pending vaccine supply, the city has a goal of facilitating 10,000 vaccine doses per day.

“We are doing everything we can to help get people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Breed. “The vaccine is the most important tool we have to end this pandemic once and for all, and getting people protected from this virus is our top priority. By creating these vaccination locations with our private healthcare partners and continuing our efforts to serve the highest-need residents by bringing the vaccine to them, we can all work together to move the vaccine more quickly as supply increases. We need more vaccines now, and we will be ready when they do arrive.”

“We have begun the most ambitious vaccine distribution effort in our City’s history,” said Dr. Grant Colfax. “This is a historic and hopeful moment for all of us. We are working with all of our health partners to ensure an effective and equitable distribution. We have been planning for months now to be ready to vaccinate as many people as fast as possible when the vaccine is more readily available from the federal and state government.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

In partnership with health care providers, DPH, and COVID-19 Command Center, the City will establish high-volume vaccination sites at several locations. These sites will provide a unified place for health care providers to set-up vaccination stations and vaccinate people who are eligible. Each site will have space for all of the City’s health care providers to have vaccination strategies and create coordinated, centralized vaccine locations that people can go to regardless of their insurer.

The selection of these high-volume vaccine sites is informed by the rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalizations, and deaths in San Francisco. The highest rates of infection are in the Southeast sector of the city, and the City has selected the locations of vaccine sites so they are easily accessible to the residents of these neighborhoods. 

The City is working with the providers to ensure these facilities have everything in place to activate and begin offering vaccinations as soon as they receive sufficient vaccine supply. The sites will open and scale based on the amount of vaccine doses health care providers receive.

  • SoMa: Moscone Center. 
  • OMI: City College of San Francisco (Main Campus).
  • Bayview: The SF Market (San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market).

In addition to the high-volume vaccination sites that will serve everyone, the City and health care providers will augment COVID-19 vaccination in high impacted communities with pop-up vaccine sites, DPH’s community clinics, and other safety-net clinics for the uninsured and underserved in neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Mission, Western Addition, and Bayview. 

The City is also working with One Medical, Safeway, and Walgreens to deliver vaccines as doses become available. Additionally, the City has been working with partners to develop mobile vaccination teams to deploy to hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. The City is working with community partners to best understand where and how to embed these teams within communities to reach the populations most at risk of disease.

Additionally, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH) will begin scaling up vaccination of its patients this weekend. ZSFGH serves approximately 110,000 inpatient and outpatient clients annually at their hospitals and clinics.

Vaccine Notification Webpage

Mayor Breed also announced the City has created a webpage for people who live and work in San Francisco to enter their information and be notified once they are eligible to be vaccinated. Starting Tuesday, January 19, people who live and work in San Francisco can sign-up for vaccine notification at

“Hospitals throughout San Francisco look forward to partnering with local public health officials and other health care providers to vaccinate as many people as possible, once there are sufficient and reliable allocations of the vaccine,” said Bryan Bucklew, President and CEO, Hospital Council Northern and Central California.

“As part of our commitment to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to all of our members and communities as soon as possible, we are working with counties and state leaders on expanding vaccination locations,” said Carrie Owen Plietz, FACHE, President, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “We are pleased also to be working together with other healthcare providers to create these mass vaccination sites, and are anticipating opening quickly and as soon as vaccine supplies are available.”


AGC of California Joins with BuildOUT California

January 13, 2021


Holly Harper, AGC of California
(916) 496-0971 |

David Perry, BuildOUT California
(415) 676-7007 /  

AGC of California Joins with BuildOUT California: World’s First Industry Association Dedicated to Sustainable Growth of LGBTQ+ Owned and Certified Businesses

Partnership Shows Strong Commitment to LGBTQ+ Businesses and Entrepreneurs from Premiere Organization for Contracting & Construction Industry

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. –  The Associated General Contractors of California (AGC) and AGC Construction Education Foundation ( have launched a landmark new partnership with BuildOUT California (, the world’s first industry association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBTQ+ owned and certified businesses. The collaboration with California’s premiere organization representing the construction and contracting industry is the latest example of BuildOUT California’s rapid and respected impact on its member organizations. Founded in the middle of 2020, BuildOUT has quickly become recognized at all levels of the State government and by industry leaders across the board. 

“We can do better as an industry to ensure diversity and inclusion are top of mind.  A focus on our LGBTQ+ affiliated members is one way we can expand those efforts,” said Peter Tateishi, CEO, AGC, President, AGC CEF.  “We are grateful to the AGC members who sit on our Diversity and Inclusion Task Force who are willing to share their diverse backgrounds and experiences and provide guidance on what is both appropriate and needed from AGC to make real and lasting impact in this area of industry.”

“To paraphrase incoming President Joe Biden, this is a terrific way to ‘build back better’,” said BuildOUT California’s President and Founder, Paul Pendergast. BuildOUT is an AGC Diversity and Inclusion Partner and AGC CEF Platinum Sponsor. “With so many infrastructure needs facing the Golden State, having access and input from our LGBTQ+ businesses with AGC is an incredible opportunity, and an incredible honor. This is truly a groundbreaking partnership, proof of our shared commitment to having all diverse California voices at the table.“

The partnership between AGC and BuildOUT California provides a vital component to the success of building a more resilient state and strengthening industry through diversity, equity, and inclusion on jobsites, in offices, and throughout our communities. AGC-CA is committed to acknowledging and promoting the importance of LGBTQ+ businesses and entrepreneurs to the fabric and overall success of our construction industry and state at large.

This is also a dedicated partnership to connect AGC members with LGBTQ+ owned/certified firms and allies, work together to actively promote construction careers to the diverse youth of California, and promote a zero-tolerance environment for discriminatory incidents on job sites across all industry workplaces.  

“We strive to strengthen our efforts to promote a more diverse workforce and joint advocacy for economic equality at the local, state and national levels as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Tateishi continued.  “The inclusion and recognition of our LGBTQ+ businesses and allies is a crucial part of this.”

This partnership will focus on providing relevant, customized training opportunities to prepare LGBTQ+ businesses to effectively compete, bid, and perform on significant construction projects.   AGC and BuildOUT California also will work together to leverage and raise necessary funding to develop, pilot, and grow programs related to all identified partnership outcomes and objectives.

“The collaboration between BuildOUT California and AGC of California is nothing short of fantastic,” stated Charles Jordy, CEO of Jordy Construction, an LGBTQ+ owned/certified General Construction firm based in Denver, Colorado that recently celebrated 60 years in business.   We are looking to grow our footprint in California specifically because of this progress being made in terms of opening up real opportunities for LGBTQ+ contractors, architects, and engineers. Count Jordy Construction ‘in’ for taking part in this collaboration. It’s going to benefit many great firms, open opportunities and add tremendous resources and talent to the California design/construction industry.”

In June 2020, AGC leadership engaged in focused dialogue about opportunities to provide leadership and resources to AGC member companies on how to address issues of diversity and inclusion across their businesses and the construction industry at large. As a result, it became clear that members are seeking guidance on what is both appropriate and needed to make a true impact in this area. As a result, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force was launched in 2020 and continues to be a guide in these efforts.


About Associated General Contractors of California

Founded in 1920, the Associated General Contractors of California has been the premier organization of choice by experienced and next generation construction and contracting professionals. Through dedicated advocacy, education, career development and networking opportunities, AGC members receive top-tier access with state and local governments, while connecting with industry leaders through innovative programs and events. Visit for more information.

About the Associated General Contractors of California Construction Education Foundation

The Associated General Contractors of California (AGC) Construction Education foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit benefit corporation dedicated to inspiring, developing, and equipping California’s current and future construction workforce. Through innovative workforce development programs funded by donations, the foundation provides AGC members access to resources, support and training needed to attract, develop, and retain California’s construction workforce.

About BuildOUT California

BuildOUT California is the world’s first LGBT Industry Association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBT owned & certified businesses, and our allies, in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Construction Services, Real Estate Development, and Related Industries. BuildOUT California’s efforts are directed toward advocacy at the regional, statewide and national levels, providing relevant technical assistance & training and delivering connections that lead to measurable business growth. BuildOUT California’s 21 Founders represent over 620 years of experience in the A&E/Construction industries. For more information, visit

Past is Prologue: Republican Chief Executives and Politically Engineered Public Violence

Past is Prologue: Republican Chief Executives
and Politically Engineered Public Violence

By John Murphy

On Wednesday, the Nation’s Chief Executive called for vigilante violence that ended in death. Then, he condoned the violence. It’s happened before. Trump’s role model: California Governor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph.

On Sunday, four days before Thanksgiving in 1933, a press-estimated mob of five to ten-thousand men, women, and children in what is now known as Silicon Valley, California savagely cheered the assault on the county jail in San Jose and the lynching of two local white men accused of the kidnapping and murder of the son of a wealthy retailor. 

The horrific spectacle was documented by over 200 reporters, photographers, and newsreel cameramen because the lynching had been promoted repeatedly over the radio all day long throughout California. The following day, over 1.2 million newspapers were sold in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

Factually documented in John D. Murphy’s American Incendiary Populism, the two accused men, a father of two and a man who had suffered a severe brain injury as a child who still slept in the same bedroom he grew up in, were innocent and victims of a Republican orchestrated political scheme predicated on the illusory promise of taking  the nation back from gangsters who outran and outgunned law enforcement almost daily across America at the height of the Great Depression.

Along with a number of others from prominent American families, the infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh had been kidnapped nineteen months previously with no one yet apprehended for the crime.

The day previous to the lynching, Republican California Governor, James “Sunny Jim” Rolph refused a lawyer for one of the accused plea to call out the National Guard to manage the increasingly volatile mob outside the county jail and publicly promised to pardon anyone convicted of their lynching.

The day following the pardon promise, a body believed to be the kidnap victim was discovered in San Francisco Bay, and Governor Rolph, scheduled to attend a Western Governor’s Conference meeting in Boise, Idaho, canceled his trip to prevent Democrat Lieutenant Governor Frank Merriam from calling out the National Guard. Rolph also sent his new head of the California Highway Patrol to his neighbor’s ranch in the foothills of Santa Clara County to monitor the lynching on an open line to the county jail.

For weeks following the election of Joe Biden, President Trump, enabled by the Republican Party and Trump activist members, promoted an event in Washington, D.C., to protest— “Stop the Steal”—what he, other Republicans, and his supporters repeatedly characterized as a “rigged” election. Despite serial losses in federal courts throughout the United States because of the absence of any evidence of “rigging,” an estimated ten to twenty thousand rabid Trump supporters converged on Wednesday January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. to hear him hold forth on how unnamed and unidentified Democrats stole the election from both him, and even more egregiously, them.

President Trump crowned his speech by announcing that he would lead the march to the capitol building at the other end of Constitution Avenue to protest the usually pro forma endorsement of the 50 state electoral votes for President of the United States.

Despite widespread promotion of the Trump speech and intention to converge on the capitol building both publicly and privately that ensued following the November election, the 2500 men and women of the capitol police force were almost fatally unprepared for the vicious assault on America’s enduring symbol of democracy. 

President Trump had just publicly claimed that he would personally lead the “Stop the Steal” march to the capitol building, but perhaps due to the other-worldly return of the bone spurs that freed him from the draft during the Vietnam War, he retreated to enjoy what he had cynically fomented on a White House television set.

Just as in California in November 1933 where anonymous members of a ‘Vigilance Committee” and the citizenry had literally received “get-out-of-jail” cards by virtue of Governor Rolph’s pardon promise—reiterated the morning following the lynching—the thousands of rabid Trump supporters inoculated with a lie serum about the “rigged” presidential election, transmogrified from legitimate protestors into insurrectionists who literally forced all members of congress and their staff into terrified hiding within the labyrinthine corridors and passageways below ground in the capitol building.

Following the 1933 California lynching, transparently bogus investigations were conducted to determine those responsible, one such examination overseen by a man later to become the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Earl Warren, who excluded both Governor Rolph and “Vigilance Committee” members from a coroner’s hearing that produced the verdict that no one could be held responsible for the lynching because no one could identify them. 

The first casualty of war is truth and it is the responsibility of each American to relentlessly verify the claims of its political parties and politicians to ensure that no action is taken unjustified by fact. The enemies of the United States revel in our collective failure to comprehensively address the compelling issues of climate change, health care, infrastructure repair, renewal, and replacement, and education among others, because political partisanship generates billions of dollars for media companies, talk radio personalities, and politicians dedicated to implacable opposition regardless of objective facts.

American incendiary populism needs to be eradicated from public discourse or we will suffer the same fate of every powerful nation in history.

Murphy, is the author of “American Incendiary Populism”. He is a founder of the University of Phoenix authored an insider account of its formation and what transpired at the nation’s first accredited for-profit university after he resigned in 1997: “Mission Forsaken: The University of Phoenix Affair with Wall Street.”Subsequently, he wrote and produced the award-winning feature film, Valley of the Heart’s Delight based on the Republican politics of the 1933 San Jose lynching starring Pete Postlethwaite, Bruce McGill, and Gabriel Mann.