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2013 Equality Gala Awards

2013 Bob Page Equality Champion Award

The Bob Page Equality Champion Award - named for a visionary leader in North Carolina's LGBT movement - honors a legacy of advocacy for LGBT North Carolinians. 

Janet Joyner
Janet Joyner grew up in the South Carolina low country. She has lived most of her adult life in Winston-Salem where she taught French language and Literature at North Carolina School of the Arts.

Following her retirement in 1994, she devoted over a decade to changing the policies that drive the programs and practices that negatively impact LGBT youth in NC schools. In 2000, she was appointed by the State Supt. of Education to the Safe Schools Advisory Board of the NC Department of Public Instruction where she served for 5 years. And from 2004-2006, she served on the national Advisory Council of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

As a member of the NC State Safe School's Advisory Board, she helped formulate the statewide anti-bullying policy proposed to the State Board of Education for adoption in 2004. The State Board of Education failed to adopt that policy which would, in succeeding years, become the model for the legislative proposal to the NC General Assembly and finally be enacted as the Stop School Violence Protection Act in July of 2009. More >>>

2013 Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award is a lasting tribute to a hero of Equality taken too soon. This inaugural acknowledgement of Jamie's extraordinary pro-equality work, and named posthumously in her honor, is awarded to an North Carolina LGBT ally for the ages.

Sen. Josh Stein
Sen. Josh Stein is considered one of the state's strongest allies to equality, and with good reason: he not only voted against 2012's anti-LGBT constitutional rewrite Amendment One, but openly admonished conservative lawmakers on the Senate floor saying, "Most of us have gay neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members. Know that if you vote for this amendment, you will cause them pain."

The progressive Democrat supports LGBT rights and believes sexual orientation and gender identity should be included in the state's workplace non-discrimination law and actively worked to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the K-12 anti-bullying legislation (School Violence Prevention Act) that passed the General Assembly in 2009.

In 2012-2013, Sen. Stein again put his legislative power where is heart is, as primary sponsor to Senate Bill 544 - Nondiscrimination in State Employment, the Senator's long-standing legislative effort to protect gay and transgender workers from discrimination. In addition, Stein was the state's most vocal and visible legislative defender of North Carolina voter rights as he valiantly fought efforts to restrict and suppress all North Carolinians' access to the polls. More >>>

2013 Legislative Leadership Award

The annual Equality NC Foundation Legislative Leadership Award recognizes exemplar pro-equality leadership in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Rep. Tricia Cotham
Now in her fourth term in the State House, Rep. Tricia Cotham has quickly distinguished herself as a champion for equality and LGBT issues. Representing the 100th District (Mecklenburg County) in the N.C. House of Representatives, she was a leading opponent of Amendment One, North Carolina's ban on relationship recognitions for gay and lesbian couples. In 2011-2012, Cotham joined fellow representatives from the General Assembly to speak at press conferences, rallies, and forums about the harms of this discriminatory rewrite, even holding her own house party to raise money to defeat the measure on our Race to the Ballot.

In 2013, Cotham upped the pro-equality ante, sponsoring historic House Bill 647 - Nondiscrimination in State/Teacher Employment. A landmark effort to implement statewide workplace protection policies for gay and transgender workers, Cotham's bill introduced protections for North Carolina state employees *and* teachers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. More >>>

2013 Organization of the Year Award

This inaugural award recognizes an extraordinary North Carolina organization doing groundbreaking work for LGBT citizens.

Freedom Center for Social Justice
Since its inception in 2009, the Charlotte-based Freedom Center for Social Justice has sought to enhance quality of life by increasing the number of healthy options & opportunities available to low income communities, communities of color, sexual minorities and youth. To honor its broad mission and support these important goals, the FCSJ has established programs and initiatives that support and help create true culture change within communities, businesses, organizations and institutions that serve and connect to some of the most marginalized, including The Transgender Employment Program, The Transgender Faith and Action Network, and most recently The LGBTQ Law Center.

As a Southern-based organization, Freedom Center for Social Justice is a rising star on the national stage, providing invaluable education on issues of employment, healthcare, and law at the intersections of poverty, people of color, immigrant communities and excluded and marginalized sexual minorities.

Bishop Tonyia Rawls will accept the 2013 Organization of the Year award at the 2013 Equality Gala. Bishop Rawls is the Founder and Executive Director of The Freedom Center for Social Justice (FCSJ). More >>>

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