Fourth annual Gulf Coast Equality Fest will be virtual

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It’s not the weather, but COVID to blame for the cancelation of the live event that was scheduled for this year’s Gulf Coast Equality Fest, but the show will still go on, it will just be online.

Equality Fest started four years ago to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community and their allies.

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Sponsored by Scarlet Pearl Resort and Casino and Harrah’s Gulf Coast, the event has been held on Harrah’s Great Lawn in Biloxi in the past.

This year, the event will go online from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 24th. Everyone is invited to participate and they’re still accepting video submissions for the online festival, but the deadline to enter your submission is Sunday, October 18th. 2020 Gulf Coast Equality Fest Chair John Perkins said, “At the beginning of October, we decided we were going to cancel the live event this year due to COVID-19 concerns, along with our sponsors. So, we still wanted to get the community involved, so we came up with online event called the Celebration of Equality. The way we’re going to do this, we’re having our community members submit videos to us, talking about equality, the community, being LGBT, allies or organizations, and throughout the day on October 24th, we’re going to be featuring these on our Facebook page and we’ll post them throughout the day.”

If you’d like to submit a video, head on over to Gulfcoastequalityfest.org and click on the link titled ‘celebration of equality’ at the top of the page where you’ll find all the information you need to submit your info and video.

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!

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