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  1. Joe Biden Urges LGBTQ Rights Activists To Hold Trump 'Accountable'

    Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged the challenges facing the LGBTQ community under President Donald Trump in a fiery, impassioned speech this week. 

    Speaking at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) LGBT gala in New York Wednesday, the 74-year-old urged queer rights advocates to push back against Trump, who ran on an explicitly anti-LGBTQ platform

    “The first thing you should do, even though he won’t respond, is hold President Trump accountable for his pledge to be your friend,” Biden said in his speech, which can be viewed in the video above. Pointing to a 2016 tweet in which Trump vowed to “fight” on the community’s behalf, Biden added, “Demonstrate that public opinion and history are on our side! Just because you don’t have Barack [Obama] and me in the White House doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, keep quiet, stay in the sidelines.”

    Though Trump was touted by The New York Times as having “more accepting” views on LGBTQ issues than many Republicans on the campaign trail, the president’s first months in office have been anything but queer-friendly. The Trump administration stripped policies protecting transgender students’ bathroom rights in February, just weeks before the Census Bureau announced questions relating to sexual orientation or gender identity would be removed from the 2020 census. Though the president has called himself a friend of the LGBTQ community, the White House has stayed silent on Pride Month.  

    Biden, meanwhile, saluted Pride Month in his Wednesday speech, calling it a time to “honor generations of brave activists.” 

    “Most change occurs culturally long before it occurs governmentally. The country is way ahead of the political leadership,” he said. “We’ve come this far because you spoke up for who you are, and you didn’t ask, you demanded justice which has long been denied despite some vicious voices of intolerance that tried to drown you out.” 

    Biden spoke out in the past against the Trump administration for having “shift[ed] the focus” on LGBTQ issues. “As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead,” he said in March. “We thought things were moving in the right direction.” 

    Happy Pride! Don’t miss the latest in LGBTQ news by subscribing to the Queer Voices newsletter.   

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  2. Jackie Kennedy's Childhood Home Is Sheer Perfection, Of Course

    Merrywood, the massive seven-acre estate where style icon and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis grew up, is on the market for $45.5 million. Nestled on the Potomac River in McLean, Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C., the home is one very pricey piece of Kennedy family history

    Jackie Kennedy moved into the home as a child after her mother married its owner, Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Architectural Digest reports. Subsequent residents included author Gore Vidal, Washington power couple Wyatt and Nancy Dickerson and current owner and AOL co-founder Steve Case. For decades the home has entertained celebrities, artists and notable visitors, including Nancy and Ronald Reagan.

    At 23,000 square feet, Merrywood has nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two partial bathrooms, a tennis court, two pools and a fitness center, according to its listing with Sotheby’s.

    Then there’s the family lore: Homeowners can sleep in Kennedy’s former bedroom, which overlooks the river on the third floor, listing agent Mark Lowham told HuffPost.

    “There’s nothing else like [Merrywood],” said Lowham. “No property that has this combination of history, sheer quality and location.”

    Merrywood has been heavily renovated since it was built in 1919, Curbed reports, but it retains its original charm. Outside, there are still formal gardens, dining areas and a carriage house with offices and staff housing.

    If purchased for a figure anywhere near its asking price, the Georgian-style home will be the most expensive ever sold in the area, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    We’ll start saving ASAP. 

    type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=5841c5fee4b017f37fe4725a,587d9459e4b0d4cc088463bb,58fe5288e4b06b9cb91947c1

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  3. When A Ramadan IHOP Ritual Leads To The Killing Of A Muslim American Teen

    CLIFTON, N.J. ― At 3:30 a.m., most IHOPs and McDonald’s restaurants aren’t exactly hot spots for family dining ― except perhaps the ones near mosques during the month of Ramadan. Large groups of Muslim families and teenage friends often gather at such places for suhoor, or pre-dawn meal, before the long fasting day begins.

    It’s a rite of passage, especially for young Muslims, to go out without parents to share a meal with friends. There’s a thrill to being out so late at night. Ramadan is a month of community, and most young people look forward to this ritual.  

    “In Ramadan, when I’m with my friends, it’s just so cool to go out to eat or go get ice cream,” 15-year-old J’wel Kudeh from North Bergen, New Jersey, told HuffPost on a recent weeknight. “When food is accessible, it’s just more fun. It just lightens up the mood.”

    J’wel was attending Ramadan prayers at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in Clifton, a suburb just 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. She was waiting for a break in prayers so she could run to the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts with her friends. She wanted a breakfast sandwich.

    “My mom knows that there is a purpose of my late-night eating,” she said. “But for any other night, there is no need to go out. Since it’s Ramadan, it’s more acceptable.”

    J’wel’s friend, 15-year-old Faeza Zaiter, nodded. “For once, we’re all eating at the same time,” she said. “We’re all fasting, and we’re all up for most of the night.” On past occasions, the girls have eaten at Wendy’s, picked up Pizza Hut or gone to one of the more popular 24-hour restaurants for American Muslims: the International House of Pancakes, or IHOP.  

    Early Sunday morning in Sterling, Virginia, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen had just participated in the same ritual. Hassanen and her friends had eaten at an IHOP and were heading back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center when they were confronted by a man wielding a baseball bat.

    The teens fled. Hassanen’s mother had loaned her an abaya ― a traditional long dress commonly worn by Muslim women ― and she reportedly tripped on it as the attacker approached. She became separated from the rest of the group. According to police, the assailant struck her with the bat and then took her away in his car. Hours later, her body was found in a nearby pond.

    Fairfax police have arrested and charged 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres with murder. Details of the incident are still unclear, as the investigation is ongoing. Police said in a statement Monday that they are not treating the incident as a hate crime, calling it more likely a case of “road rage.” 

    You go to IHOP. You’re hanging out with friends. Except the stark contrast that today you can end up dead. That is scary.
    Salma Khan

    When news broke of what happened to Hassanen, the Muslim community was horrified. In particular, many young Muslims were shocked to learn that a joyous and familiar ritual had given way to a brutal killing.

    Salma Khan, a 32-year-old Muslim American who works in education reform in Philadelphia, said she couldn’t shake a nagging sense of deja vu. She recalled taking trips with friends to the 7-Eleven convenience store next to her mosque after prayers during Ramadan.

    “Me at 16, 17 years old, that’s what you would do,” Khan told HuffPost on Monday. “It starts at the mosque during Ramadan, then you run to the 24-hour Starbucks or McDonald’s.”

    After the news of Hassanen’s death, Khan and her group of friends were texting all night, devastated and horrified, she said. They all felt that it could have been them.

    “This was me. This was me in my youth,” Khan said. “You go to IHOP. You’re hanging out with friends. Except the stark contrast that today you can end up dead. That is scary.”

    She’s worried about her nephews and nieces who have also picked up the Ramadan post-prayer food tradition. She doesn’t want them going out by themselves that late anymore.

    Khan’s nephew Farhaad, a rising senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, sees things a bit differently. He was saddened about Hassanen’s death, but he feels it was “a one-off incident.” He plans to keep going out for pre-dawn meals with his friends for the remainder of the holy month.

    “It’s a chance to bond and create stronger friendships, especially in Ramadan,” Farhaad, 20, told HuffPost. “You really want to hang out with all your Muslim friends.”

    J’wel, the teen from New Jersey, agreed. Hassanen’s death was “a wake-up call, because it is definitely scary to see something like that,” she said. “It makes me realize that not everything is as safe as it looks.”

    But she still wants to participate in the nightly adventures, even if it means having a chaperone for the rest of Ramadan.

    “I don’t think people will stop going for suhoor,” said Faeza, her friend. “These things will happen. Even if we don’t go out, that won’t stop the hate or it won’t stop the crimes.”

    All three young Muslims acknowledged that they’ll need to be vigilant and careful of their surroundings. Farhaad Khan’s mother is already asking him to minimize his late-night excursions for his safety, he said. 

    “It’s something that we do as young Muslims all the time. It’s such a common thing to go out for suhoor, especially after night prayers,” he said. “Our parents are just very protective.”

    Rabia Chaudry is one such parent. A Maryland attorney and mother of three ― including a 20-year-old daughter who likes to grab a late meal with friends at various 24-hour restaurants during Ramadan ― Chaudry says she is worried for her children.

    It’s become a ritual, and it’s become something young people look forward to,” she told HuffPost.

    On Sunday night, she wrote on Twitter that she will no longer let her daughter go out to eat the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. But she hates the idea of giving in to fear, she told HuffPost, and she realizes her daughter is an adult who can make her own decisions. Chaudry asked her daughter to come home immediately after prayers and not go out for a meal afterward for the rest of Ramadan. Her daughter agreed, Chaudry said, without hesitation, understanding her mother’s concern.  

    As the Muslim community tries to process Hassanen’s death, the ADAMS Center in Sterling “will continue to follow the investigation to ensure justice is upheld to the maximum extent of the law,” it said in a statement.

    “The wound is still very fresh,” Joshua Salaam, the chaplain at ADAMS, told HuffPost. “We’re still in shock. We’re still devastated. Our hearts are broken and we’re still trying to figure out how to move forward.”

    A vigil for Hassanen is scheduled for Wednesday at the Lake Anne Plaza in Reston, Virginia.

    An online campaign to support her family has raised over $250,000.

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  4. There Was A Fancy Masquerade Ball For Dogs And It Did Not Disappoint

    Thank you to everyone who made tonight’s 30th Annual #BarkBall such a success and helped us raise $690,000! pic.twitter.com/aC5ZCOQfty

    — Humane Rescue (@HumaneRescue) June 18, 2017

    There were no fashion faux paws here.

    Some of Washington, D.C.’s most dapper dogs strutted their stuff for the 30th Annual Bark Ball on Saturday night while raising money for a local animal welfare organization (and taking the doggone cutest pictures).

    The black-tie gala, which benefited the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), featured a masquerade theme that allowed guests to bring their canine companions as their dinner dates.

    Every ball should be a #Barkball. pic.twitter.com/CkC2weGpqU

    — Albert Lang (@AlbertLeRoi) June 18, 2017

    Not a group to disappoint, the dogs were seen wearing their finest coats — as well as adorable bow ties, tutus, hats and at least one mask.

    Insider photos posted to social media showed guests of all shapes, sizes, and breeds.

    Rudy G is all set for #BarkBall 2017! pic.twitter.com/jNZDYlJpAw

    — Scott LaGanga (@scottlags) June 17, 2017

    By the end of the night, an event spokesperson, reached by HuffPost, boasted that they had raised more than $700,000. They also received a record-breaking 1,200 guests, which included former Sens. Bob (R-Kan.) and Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.).

    That money raised will go towards helping “protect animals, support families, and advocate for positive change to create a world where all animals can thrive,” the animal welfare group said.

    I guess humans know how to throw a good ball after all.

    For more photos, check out the following slideshow or scroll down for more adorable shots posted on social media!

    I had two dates in one night! #BarkBall #SullytheBully #Oscar #Winning pic.twitter.com/Pb1CdyHkoc

    — Tessa Gould (@Tessa_Gould) June 18, 2017

    Last time I was here was for White House Correspondents Dinner. So far the @HumaneRescue #BarkBall is much more civil pic.twitter.com/9CFYfkLRRI

    — Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) June 17, 2017

    Enjoying @HumaneRescue #BarkBall with @atlasvetDC supporters, @charlesallen, & pet lovers from across the district! pic.twitter.com/LKGPimxUWP

    — Ford Lincoln Mercury (@kiltedvet) June 18, 2017

    Follow us on @instagram for a behind the scene look at #BarkBall in our story pic.twitter.com/m1c7En9s9J

    — Humane Rescue (@HumaneRescue) June 17, 2017

    #BarkBall with my parents. pic.twitter.com/nilYkfd1CP

    — Razor Steelman (@RazortheRocket) June 18, 2017

    The Bark Ball at the Washington @HiltonHotels is back! Funds raised support the @HumaneRescue! pic.twitter.com/oRisgYe93U

    — Matt Yurus (@Matt_Yurus) June 17, 2017

    Winston and Erin attended the #BarkBall pic.twitter.com/jK8igktxG6

    — Debra Arthur, CFP® (@DebraArthur) June 18, 2017

    Winston having dinner at the Washington Hilton. #BarkBall pic.twitter.com/B9n63ZcMpH

    — Debra Arthur, CFP® (@DebraArthur) June 18, 2017

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  5. Barber Provides Free Haircuts To Men Looking To Land Job Interviews

    When Rahaman Kilpatrick left Philadelphia in 1992, he took the city’s mantra of brotherly love right along with him. The self-taught barber offers free haircuts to men with upcoming job interviews and students with steadily improving grades.

    Kilpatrick, who now resides in Maryland, mentors a community men’s group in Washington, D.C., as well as a group of teens and young men ― consisting of 13- to 21-year-olds ― at the nonprofit organization Horton’s Kids. Luckily for these mentees, Kilpatrick, who’s been cutting hair for almost 30 years, understands the fundamentals of feeling good, which is why he’s offering free cuts. 

    “I started giving free haircuts for any teen who could come up one letter grade or who could bring in a test where they got a C or better,” Kilpatrick, a Morgan State University alumnus, said in an email to HuffPost on Wednesday. “People may not have the money to consistently get haircuts or any at all.”

    “Teens are always dealing with self-esteem [issues]. Having a fresh haircut for school, prom, graduation, etc., makes them feel so much better about themselves,” he continued. 

    These cuts also give Kilpatrick some more one-on-one time to pick the young men’s brains and ensure they’re not out here cuttin’ up. 

    “I quickly realized that haircuts are like a truth serum and having them in the chair for 20 minutes gave me the opportunity to talk to them about everything from how to treat women and the importance of good grades to safe sex and making better day-to-day decisions,” he said.

    But Kilpatrick knows it’s not just the young folks who want to look crisp ― which is why he expanded his barber services to those in the men’s group he operates. 

    “I find that one of the biggest struggles the men have is finding employment, so I started teaching them how to write [and] improve their resumes [and] practicing interviewing skills,” Kilpatrick said. “I started giving free haircuts if they have a job interview. Sometimes during the meetings, I could sense if one of the men was feeling down, so I would offer a haircut to make him feel better about himself.”

    Putting on a shirt and tie with a fresh haircut gives them the confidence they need to go in and ace the interview."

    Kilpatrick wants to spread the community love that he regularly practices with the hashtag #TheGiveBack, which he hopes will persuade others to also walk a philanthropic path. 

    “I would love more people to come out and volunteer in not only my community, but in communities like the one I serve in every city,” he said.

    Kilpatrick’s community does need more do-gooders like himself to spread the love. The 43-year-old has fibromyalgia, a physical disorder that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness, and working on his feet is not ideal.

    “I’m the only person cutting everybody in the neighborhood’s hair, which is taxing on my body,” he said. 

    Despite this, Kilpatrick remains committed to serving his community until someone else is ready to pick up the benevolent barber’s baton. 

    “I give free haircuts to motivate people, to help them to want more and work harder at doing better,” he said. “Whether it’s leading a men’s group or a rap session with my teens, I always want them to leave feeling motivated, like they can take over the world.”

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