Saturday Event Honored Julian Bond, Cyndi Lauper, Wanda Alston
'As we look back at 25 years of accomplishment, advocacy and achievement on the road to equality, we look forward to another 25 years of progress,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Celebrating "25 Years on the Road to Equality," the Human Rights Campaign's national dinner on Oct. 1 honored NAACP chairman Julian Bond, Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper and civil rights leader Wanda Alston. More than 2,500 attendees, including corporate executives and employees representing more than 90 companies, also enjoyed performances by Kimberley Locke, Sam Harris and the B-52's.
"The Human Rights Campaign has been proud to be part of the enormous progress made on the road to equality over the last 25 years," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "While we have miles to go, the national dinner gave us an opportunity to look at the distance we've crossed.
"Twenty-five years ago, there were no companies that offered same-sex domestic partner benefits. Today, there are more than 8,000. Twenty-five years ago, there were no states with laws that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Today, there are 16 that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Twenty-five years ago, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed only one candidate for Congress. Last year, we endorsed 201. We were proud to have to opportunity to celebrate those and so many other benchmarks with some of our strongest allies in the fight for equality."
Receiving the Human Rights Campaign National Civil Rights Award, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change, promoting civil rights and economic justice for all citizens for more than four decades. A Grammy Award-winning musician, Cyndi Lauper has also become a national leader in the fight for equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and was honored with this year's HRC National Equality Award.
In addition, HRC posthumously presented the National Capital Area Leadership Award to civil and equal rights leader Wanda Alston, who served as director of the District of Columbia Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. Also taking the stage at the national dinner were top Billboard artist and "American Idol" star Kimberley Locke, legendary alternative pop band the B-52's and accomplished singer Sam Harris.
"When others have shied away, our awardees have shown great commitment in their advocacy for equal rights," added Solmonese. "It is our pleasure to say, 'Thank you for never backing down. Today, we are closer to equality because of your work.'"
ﾴView a photo of Solmonese and Lauper. "The 1980's gave birth to not only artistic greats like Cyndi Lauper and the B-52's but also the Human Rights Campaign," said Solmonese.
ﾴView additional photos and read Solmonese's and Bond's speeches from the dinner.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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