HRC to Welcome Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as a Featured Speaker at National Dinner

by Nick Morrow

Sen. Chuck Schumer will deliver remarks at the organization’s largest event of the year.

Today, HRC announced that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will deliver remarks at the organization’s 23rd annual HRC National Dinner in Washington, D.C., this Saturday, September 28. Schumer will join previously announced speakers, honorees and special guests including Ricky Martin, Dominique Jackson, Jake Choi, Ryan Russell and more. This will mark the first HRC National Dinner under the tenure of new HRC President Alphonso David, who will deliver remarks from the stage.

“From the earliest days of his political career, Senator Schumer has been a strong and unwavering ally in the fight for LGBTQ equality, both in New York and across the nation,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “From his early support of marriage equality in the Empire State to his commitment to pass the Equality Act in the Senate, we are grateful for his leadership and continued commitment to our community. We look forward to welcoming Senator Schumer to the Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner as we continue our work together to ensure equality for everyone, everywhere.” 

“HRC’s leadership has helped drive our nation’s progress toward full equality,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “ The National Dinner brings members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities and allies together as a collective force for change—to build a more inclusive and equal society for all of us. I am proud to join the Human Rights Campaign and LGBTQ community at the 2019 National Dinner to celebrate the achievements and contributions of LGBTQ people in our daily lives.”

A strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was one of the first national politicians to march in the New York City Pride Parade. Throughout his career, Senator Schumer has been a tireless advocate for equal rights for those in the LGBTQ community. Sen. Schumer earned a perfect 100 percent on the HRC Congressional Scorecard for the 115th Congress. Senator Schumer was elected to the Senate in 1998 and previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2017, Senator Schumer was elected Senate Democratic Leader by his colleagues and he has helped lead the fight against the Trump-Pence Administration’s efforts to roll back LGBTQ rights.

HRC will also welcome special guests Ana Ortiz and Eric Fanning. In addition, the dinner will feature Thelma Houston, Alice Smith, Dyllón Burnside, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D.C. and the Heritage Signature Chorale, with Tony award-winning music collaborator Jason Michael Webb. 

Bios of additional guests:

Ana Ortiz most recently had a development deal at ABC Studios and The ABC Television Network. She starred on “Devious Maids” for Marc Cherry and Lifetime, and was featured in a guest role on Shondaland’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” as well as on the hit ABC comedy series “black-ish.” Previously, Ortiz had a multi-episode arc on HBO’s “Hung” and was seen in Martin Lawrence’s “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.” In 2017, she was featured in the Blumhouse film “The Keeping Hours,” alongside Carrie Coon and Lee Pace. She most recently starred in the high-octane, hour-long action dramedy, “Whiskey Cavalier,” opposite Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan. She can next be seen in the upcoming Disney+ series, LOVE, SIMON.

Eric Fanning is the President & CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.  He was the 22nd Secretary of the Army, the 24th Undersecretary of the Air Force, and Acting Secretary of the Air Force, and former Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy.  He is the only person to have held senior appointments in all three military departments.

Thelma Houston is a singer and entertainer. Thelma's 23rd album, “A Woman's Touch,” was released recently through Shout Factory Records (distributed by Sony/BMG) and offers her rich interpretations of many classic R&B and pop recordings originally made famous by such male vocalists as Luther Vandross, Rev. Al Green, Sting and Marvin Gaye.Known as a humanitarian for her charitable causes and her tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, the City of West Hollywood proclaimed January 29th as "Thelma Houston Day" in 2003. She has donated her talents to numerous charities including Devine Design for Project Angel Food, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Minority AIDS Project, to which she donated her $20,000 winnings from the TV show Hit Me Baby. She is also very active in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP. 

Alice Smith is a singer and entertainer. Alice continues to wow crowds with her presence: Essence Festival, Afropunk, Black Girls Rock, The Apollo, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, soundtracks to hit movies and series, a show-stopping feature on Robert Glasper’s Nina Simone Tribute Album, and private shows with the likes of Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Bon Jovi, Chaka Khan and The Roots, to name a few. An aesthete and a mother, who’s self-produced her latest opus, “Mystery,” is an ode to the unknown, to the divine moment of creation, whether it be the miracle of a child born, or writing a song. She produced it herself at Los Angeles’ legendary The Village studio with a few handpicked trusted collaborators. 

A multi hyphenate performer, creator and recording artist, Dyllón Burnside has appeared in notable stage, television and film projects with some of the best in the business. He currently stars as 'Ricky' in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-nominated FX series, "Pose" alongside Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez. Dyllón first captivated audiences with his Broadway debut, starring as Anthony in 2014’s Holler if Ya Hear Me, a hip-hop musical inspired by the music and lyrics of Tupac Shakur. He also appeared as a Lost Boy in NBC’s "Peter Pan Live!" and in the critically-acclaimed series "High Maintenance" on HBO.

His work as a producer includes film, theatrical and musical events that serve and/or shed light on marginalized communities. He has also taught performing arts workshops and spoken at schools across the country about the importance of arts education as a means of personal empowerment and self-expression.

Led by Artistic Director Thea Kano, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. (GMCW) is now in its 39th season. GMCW sings to inspire equality and inclusion with musical performances and education promoting justice and dignity for all. GMCW has more than 250 singing members, four select ensembles, a youth chorus, 100 support volunteers, more than 300 subscribers, 500 donors, and an annual audience of more than 10,000 people.

The Heritage Signature Chorale is committed to preserving the performance traditions of African American choral  music, especially  the  Negro  Spiritual; to elevating the African-American singer and  composer in all musical genres; and to bringing a unique interpretation to the classical music of America, Europe, and other regions of the world. The Chorale provides a venue for showcasing artists, composers,  and  arrangers who share these commitments, thereby fostering community awareness of, and appreciation for, this important cultural legacy. Founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Stanley J. Thurston, HSC seeks to enhance opportunities for a new generation of listeners to understand and appreciate the historical legacy of symphonic choral music.

The 23rd annual HRC National Dinner will take place at the Washington Convention Center and is expected to draw more than 3,500 guests from across the country and around the world. It is currently sold out; for more information, go to