The 18th Annual Stonewall Black and White Ball
Are You Ready for the Premier Pride Season Gala?!
When and Where?
June 22, 2019
VIP Awards Reception starts at 7pm. VIP Tickets include admittance into the dance party.
General Ball doors open at 9pm.
Stonewall Black and White Ball takes place at the Harriet Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach's City Place.
700 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Will I be entertained?
Entertainment for the 2019 Stonewall Black and White Ball is being booked. Check back soon for more information.
What can I expect?
The Annual Stonewall Black and White Ball attracts nearly 1,500 dignitaries, elected officials, candidates and community members from South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Compass’ 17th Annual Stonewall Ball honors nearly 50 years of accomplishments of the LGBT rights movement. The decor and production is sponsored annually by Bruce Sutka, an international event design legend.
This year's VIP Awards Reception ticket will include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, food stations, live entertainment and other surprises.
What should I wear?
You can wear what ever you want, but come dressed to impress! Palm Beach casual, cocktail and costumed attire, in black and white, is encouraged, but not required.
Take a look at the Photos from last year's Stonewall Black and White Ball to get a better idea of what others wear.
This is Compass' thirty year anniversary! This year's Stonewall Ball theme is a Glimmer of Pearls.
Who were last year's Award Honorees?
We are very proud to announce that this year's recipient of the Michael Brown Memorial Faces of the Community Award is Carole Benowitz and the Compass Leadership Award is being presented to Erica Whitfield.
Compass Leadership Award: Erica Whitfield
Erica has always wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives, especially children. In 2014, Erica ran for School Board Member to have a greater opportunity to better serve her community and all the children of Palm Beach County. On November 4, 2014 she was elected to the Palm Beach County School Board for District 4, taking office on November 18, 2014. Erica is a native Floridian with a passion for our community, and the health, achievement and success of our children. Born and raised in South Florida, Erica attended The University of Florida where she received a Bachelor of Health Science Education and Emory University where she earned a Master of Public Health.
While working with the Palm Beach County Health Department, she focused on Chronic Disease Education, Air Pollution Prevention and served as the Executive Director for the Governor’s Council for community Health Partnerships.
Her responsibilities included managing an annual budget of over 2 million dollars for youth initiatives.
Erica served as the Project Coordinator for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Project for the School District of Palm Beach County. In this capacity, she worked to develop 30 community and school gardens, opened the first school-based park in Palm Beach County and effected innovative policy changes at the School District and surrounding communities. As part of this project, Erica raised and managed over 1.3 million dollars to support our local schools and community. Before being elected as Board Member, Erica worked as a Wellness Coordinator for the School District of Palm Beach County, School Food Service Department.
Erica has served as President of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Worth; Chair of the City of Lake Worth Recreational Advisory Board and as Vice Chair of the Palm Beach County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Advisory Council. She is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County (2014) Non-Profits First Rising Leaders class and Lake Worth Municipal Institute. During her time on the School Board she has championed public health issues. She is currently the Chair of the United Way’s Childhood Hunger Action Committee. She serves on The American Heart Association Palm Beach County Market Board, The Criminal Justice Committee, The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, Early Childhood Cabinet, and is a member of Leadership Florida.
Erica lives in Lake Worth with her husband and daughter, who attends public school.
Michael Brown Memorial Faces of the Community Award: Carole Benowitz
Carole Benowitz was really worried about her son, Neil. "He was engaged to be married, but he broke it off suddenly and wouldn't tell us why," said Ms. Benowitz. "He went into a deep, deep depression. He wouldn't eat. He wouldn't sleep." Over twenty-five years later, Ms. Benowitz recalls her emotions when she figured out what was causing her son's misery.
"I went running up the stairs and said, 'We know! We know! We know you're gay, Neil!" said Ms. Benowitz. When her son opened the bedroom door, he was holding his suitcase. "He asked, 'Do you want me to leave?'" said Ms. Benowitz. "I told him, 'Of course not, I love you.'" On that day in 1986, Ms. Benowitz and her husband began their journey to learn more about homosexuality and how to adjust their lifelong dreams.
"I had been knitting clothes, expecting a baby soon," said Ms. Benowitz. "Now, I was going to the library, reading as many books about homosexuality as I could find." Because she was concerned how people would react to the news, Ms. Benowitz kept Neil's sexual orientation a secret for five years. "I went in the closet just as Neil did," she said.
After moving from Long Island to Boca Raton, Ms. Benowitz found out about an organization called PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "I decided, I would go to a meeting, but I hoped I wouldn't run into someone I knew," she said. Today, Ms. Benowitz is not only president of PFLAG - Palm Beach Chapter, but also served as PFLAG's Florida State Coordinator. She has been responsible for starting chapters throughout the southeastern United States.
"I became known as the Johnny Appleseed for PFLAG," she said, openly sharing her story with total strangers.
Her dedication to the organization grew from the support and education she received from PFLAG members. She is happy to report that Neil has been with his partner for over 20 years. "There are grandparents at these meetings," she said. "We see parents trying to come out to their children. We see youths being tortured in the schools because they have gay or lesbian parents. PFLAG chapters offer support and advocacy for gay, lesbian, transgendered and bi-sexual people and their friends and families. The group also discusses how to deal with emotions, such as anger, fear and depression relating to their loved-ones' revelation.