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Chaz Stevens is an American entrepreneur, journalist, and constitutional activist. He is the executive director of The Humanity Fund, which focuses on the separation of church and state. He was the founder and executive director of the Religious Liberty Project, which focused on First Amendment issues.
In 2015, Chaz launched the Gay Pride Festivus Pole Generosity Fund, with donations supporting various LGBT youth organizations. Chaz was twice appointed Commissioner to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. Chaz is the founder and CEO of ESADoggy, a global organization that provides emotional support animal-related services. Chaz and his projects have been recognized in the New Times Best of Broward-Palm Beach. Chaz himself was named one of the Best Activists in Broward County.
Chaz first made headlines in 2013 by winning the right to install a Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans in the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. Chaz’s investigative reporting and subsequent criminal complaints led to the arrest of Deerfield Beach Mayor Al Capellini and Commissioners Steve Gonot and Sylvia Poitier. Chaz is popularly known for his innovative methods of promoting the separation of church and state.
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart referred to Chaz as the “General Patton of the War on Christmas.” Fox News host Gretchen Carlson said she was personally outraged by his Festivus displays. Bill O’Reilly called Chaz a “pinhead.”
“Stevens is the face of the new media. He is the new version of a city hall gadfly– electronically empowered, fighting the power structure with bits and bytes,” writes Buddy Nevins of Broward Beat.
“Once upon a time, activists and gadflies could be laughed off by politicians. No more. With the reach and permanence of the Internet on their side, activists can investigate wrongdoing and post damning documents on self-published blogs. Activist Chaz Stevens has been a one-man wrecking crew,” wrote the Sun-Sentinel’s Michael Mayo.
In an interview with Slate Magazine, Chaz said, “It’s all about our First Amendment. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to redress your grievances. Freedom to yell at the government and not get arrested. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re stretching the very fabric of the First Amendment. That’s what this is all about.”
Since the 1980s, Chaz has worked as a technology product developer for numerous Fortune 100 companies including IBM, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney World Company.
Supreme Court of the United States
Chaz was an amici curie (friend of the court) in a legal brief filed in support of a free speech case brought by Russell P. Barlett before the Supreme Court of the United States (No. 17-1174). An outspoken critic for good governance and subjected to retaliation by government officials through harassing investigations and stifling of speech, Chaz's efforts resulted in the removal and arrest of three elected officials.
Twice awarded the New Times Best of Broward-Palm Beach, and also named one of the Best Activists in Broward County. Huffington Post noted "Stevens is one of Florida's most successful activists." Chaz was twice appointed Commissioner to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority.
Chaz has a lifetime of involvement with Amnesty International, Women In Distress, and Doctors Without Borders.
He's also the proud daddy to many rescue animals.
From 2013 to 2015, Chaz erected Festivus Poles made from empty Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in state capitols across the US. These efforts appeared on the Daily Show, The Colbert Report, MTV, and Fox News.
Additionally, Chaz has been regularly quoted in publications such as Huffington Post, NPR, Slate, Chicago Tribune, Mediaweek, TIME, and myriad national and international media outlets.