Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) announced that it will honor Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and the 2019 American School Counselor Association School Counselor of the Year Brian Coleman with Upstander Awards at the organization’s sixth annual Time to THRIVE Conference on February 15-17 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, California.
Rippon won the hearts of America and the world at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea where, in winning a bronze medal in the team competition, he became the the first openly gay athlete to medal in a Winter Olympics. Known for his refreshing candor and wit, his rise to fame on the global stage has provided him with a platform to speak out in support of LGBTQ rights and the freedom to be oneself. He has inspired young and old with his passion and charm, becoming a role model and icon to millions.
“The word that best describes Adam Rippon is fierce,” said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE conference. “By being out and proud, Adam is taking LGBTQ visibility to a whole new level and inspiring countless LGBTQ youth around the world with his incredible talent and personality. He isn’t afraid to use his platform to speak out for equality, and we are proud to honor him at this year’s Time to THRIVE.”
Coleman is in his second year as department chair for the counseling team at Jones College Prep High School in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where he also supports the school’s LGBTQ student group and a metorship program. In 2018, he was named both the Illinois High School Counselor of the Year and Illinois School Counselor of the Year by the Illinois School Counselors Association. And he is the American School Counselor Association’s 2019 National School Counselor of the Year.
“We are thrilled to honor Brian Coleman for his work to ensure that all young people have a safe and inclusive place to learn, and an equal chance to thrive in all aspects of their lives,” Pompei said. “Brian demonstrates to youth serving professionals what is possible, and we couldn’t be more proud to honor him at Time to THRIVE -- a conference founded to provide cutting edge training and resources to educators and others across the country who are committed to the success of all young people.”
At Time to THRIVE, Coleman and Rippon will join other special guests, including LGBTQ advocate and mother of Ellen DeDeneres Betty DeGeneres; President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation Dolores Huerta; parent-advocate, founder of FreeMomHugs and subject of an upcoming Jamie Lee Curtis project Sara Cunningham; transgender trailblazer Jazz Jennings and her mother Jeanette Jennings; Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron; and others.
HRC previously announced that it will honor advocates E.J. Johnson and Judy and Dennis Shepard with an Upstander Award during the Time to THRIVE conference. A vocal advocate for social causes, E.J. has partnered with True Colors Fund, an organization that is dedicated to ending homelessness among LGBTQ youth. The Shepard’s work through the Matthew Shepard Foundation continues to inspire, bringing hope and support to LGBTQ people around the world who are striving to be who they are, often in the most difficult of circumstances. HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, HRC’s Youth Ambassadors and HRC’s Welcoming Schools Program will also be featured at the conference.
HRC’s Time to THRIVE Conference is the premier event addressing the safety, inclusion and well-being of LGBTQ and questioning youth. The event brings together a wide range of youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond. It is co-presented by the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association. BBVA Compass, AT&T and Toyota are presenting sponsors of the event.
The Time to THRIVE Conference features 65 workshops by more than 45 national and grassroots organizations dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ youth. HRC’s Youth Ambassadors and Welcoming Schools will also be featured at the conference. Additional speakers and honorees will be announced at a later date. To register, visit www.TimeToTHRIVE.org.