HRC Blog

HRC’s Donna Payne Recognized for LGBT Equality Work

Donna PaynePost submitted by Sharon Groves, former HRC Director, Religion and Faith Program.

It was an honor to see HRC’s Donna Payne awarded for her work on LGBT equality by the Rev. Al Sharpton National Action Network Awards this past weekend. Donna was introduced by Rev. Al Sharpton's daughter Dominique Sharpton and recognized for her pioneering work on LGBT equality in the African American community. This event featured some of the most powerful community leaders in the African American community and also was attended by HRC New York Board of Governors Eric Blomquist and Pete Webb.

"Donna Payne is an agent of change within the LGBT Community and larger civil rights movement. The Human Rights Campaign is a better place due to her tireless advocacy and passion. It was an honor to share this day with her girlfriend, mother, extended family, and friends,” said Webb.

"I was proud to be a part of this joyous occasion and in awe of the outreach and coalition building that Donna Payne is doing on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign,” said Blomquist.

Read Donna's remarks:

Thank you Rev. Sharpton, Kathy Sharpton, and the Women's Auxiliary of the National Action Network for this award.

At times like this when the National Organization for Marriage has stated their goal to manipulate the African American community to turn against gays having the right to marry and have a loving and committed relationship, it is an honor to receive an award that recognizes that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

As an African American lesbian fighting for equal rights. I'm here to tell you the race card will not be played in my community anymore!

This award represents the love that raised me in a Christian home and family -- my mom and cousin are here with me.

This award represents the support I've received from my colleagues-- representatives from our New York Steering Committee and the Director of the Religion and Faith Program are here with me today.

This award represents our relationships--my loving girlfriend is here with me today.

I consider myself a visionary, and I foresee the battles ahead. But you have to be prepared for battles.

There are three things I want you to remember when you have a conversation about LGBT people:

First, don't get it twisted: The race card has been played on all of us.
-We see it in the Trayvon Martin case.
-We see it in the President's political work.
-We see it in NOM's strategy to divide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and blacks.

Secondly, recognize when you are being played. Don't participate in that conversation. Don't be a pawn.

And third - Change the game.

I am asking you to be BOLD with me.

Say NO to exclusion. Say YES to inclusion.

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