Shannon Fortner

(THEY/THEM) Executive Director & Founder

 

 Shannon Fortner is a passionate advocate for justice and equality, dedicating their life to the causes they hold dear, guided by the motto "Community Focused, Community Driven." From a young age, Shannon's unwavering commitment to these values has driven them to make a lasting impact on their community.

In 2009, Shannon attended an Equality March in Washington D.C., where the renowned activist Cleve Jones ignited a call to action, encouraging attendees to organize within their own communities. Inspired by this powerful message, Shannon took immediate action, organizing the Equal Civil Rights Rally. This rally soon evolved into the esteemed Harvey Milk Festival, which celebrated the legacy of one of the nation's first openly gay politicians, Harvey Milk. The festival's mission extends beyond celebration; it is a platform to advance the ideals of equality, diversity, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Shannon's dedication to these causes led them to establish the Fabulous Arts Foundation (FabAF), which now oversees Be Fabulous Music ^ Arts Pride Fest fka the Harvey Milk Festival and a range of other initiatives. The Fabulous Arts Foundation conducts diversity training for local businesses, offers LGBTQ+ scholarships, and remains committed to ongoing queer and trans advocacy. Including adding mental health services and year round programming for community building.

 

Beyond their work in activism and community organization, Shannon is a multi-faceted individual. They command the audience as a member of the synth-rock band MeteorEYES and utilizes their expertise as a talent buyer and event coordinator for both the Ringling Underground and their arts management company, Moxie (MX) Productions SRQ.

 

Shannon's outstanding contributions to their community have not gone unnoticed. They have received numerous accolades, including the 'Unity Award' from Sarasota Magazine, the 'Icon Award,' and the title of 'Favorite LGBTQ Community Leader & Activist' from SarasotaOut.com and more.

At the core of Shannon's mission is the creation of an inclusive and visible platform for the queer and trans community. Their tireless dedication to justice and equality continues to inspire and empower those around them, making a significant and lasting impact on their community and the causes they hold dear.



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