Coloradans Recognized for Making the State a Welcoming Place for Everybody
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Gay & Lesbian Fund Honors Five Colorado Groups for Taking a Stand on Equality COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--(Business Wire)-- The Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado has honored five Colorado individuals and organizations with the 2008 Advancing Equality Awards to recognize their commitment to creating an inclusive and equal environment for all people. Each honoree has received a gift of $5,000 to be allocated to a nonprofit of their designation. Awards in the categories of nonprofit organization, public official, community supporter, gay and transgender rights, and youth advocacy were presented at the Gay & Lesbian Fund’s annual holiday event in Colorado Springs on December 2. “In the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ These are not always easy words to live by in the face of adversity or when a community has a history of being resistant to change. But the winners of the Advancing Equality Awards have been strong voices for equality by driving change within their spheres of influence. We extend a heartfelt thanks to every one of them for expressing a voice for social justice,” said Mary Lou Makepeace, executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Fund. The Advancing Equality Awards originated in 2006 to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations in their work to advance equality for all Coloradans. The 2008 awardees are: * OUTSTANDING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION: Anti-Defamation League, led by Bruce DeBoskey. The ADL was selected for its work to stop hatred and foster a culture of safety in schools. Its No Place for Hate campaign empowers schools to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging bigotry, discrimination, and bullying. No Place for Hate creates a climate of safety, inclusion, and warmth in schools by fostering a culture of collaboration and cooperation so that differences are not feared, but celebrated. * OUTSTANDING PUBLIC OFFICIAL: Colorado State Senator John Morse. Senator Morse has been an active and prominent voice in support of initiatives related to public education, healthcare, fair pay—and rights for gay and transgender people. He unequivocally supported legislation in 2008 that made it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people in public accommodations and housing. He faced harsh criticism by the bill’s opponents, but stood steadfast in his support. * OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY SUPPORTER: Ray Aguilera. Affectionately known as the grandfather of Pueblo, Ray Aguilera most often recognized for his work with the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, helping young people step on the path to higher education. He is also a tireless champion for poor people working to improve their neighborhoods, job prospects, personal safety, and opportunities for their children – keeping a promise to help those in need get the resources and support they require to get ahead in life. * STONEWALL AWARD FOR GAY AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: Colorado Anti-Violence Program, led by Crystal Middlestadt and Kelly Costello.When a young, Latina transgender woman, Angie Zapata, was brutally murdered in Greeley, Colorado because she was transgender, the CAVP was an inspiring source of leadership and support. It responded to the crime by educating the police and the media, informing the District Attorney about Colorado’s Hate Crimes Law and its relevance to the murder, and providing daily support to the family of Angie Zapata. * YOUTH ADVOCATE FOR EXCELLENCE:K.C. Heim. K.C. Heim is a high school student with a dedicated commitment to improving the welfare of others. At Coronado High School, he enhanced the safety of all students by creating a Gay/Straight Alliance that would welcome and support students who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. As a transgender person, K.C. courageously shared his experiences with others to ensure other kids like him never felt isolated or unsafe in their high school environment. About the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado Since it was founded in 1996, the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado has provided financial support and critical resources to hundreds of nonprofit organizations that share the fund’s commitment to advancing equality and improving quality of life for people across Colorado. Having awarded more than $22 million to arts and culture, civic leadership, healthy families, and public broadcasting programs, the fund prides itself on the collaborations it has formed with those who share a common vision for equality. Along with grantees, business partners, nonprofit leaders, public supporters, and allies, the Gay & Lesbian Fund believes that Colorado is a stronger state when all residents have equal access to opportunities and resources. Learn more about the fund’s philanthropic work at www.gayandlesbianfund.org. Highland PR for the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado Linda Lidov, 303-455-5330 email@example.com Copyright Business Wire 2008
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