VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Human Rights Campaign President Opens a New Chapter for HRC at Greater New York Dinner, Demanding Change, Equality and Liberation for All

by Elizabeth Bibi

On Saturday evening, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hosted its Greater New York Dinner. The event featured remarks from HRC’s president Kelley Robinson, who used her platform to give a rally cry to inspire change, hope, equality and liberation for all.

“In this new chapter, HRC will center on equality and liberation for all. Period. Without exception. Yes, I’m talking about trans justice, racial justice, reproductive justice, and a whole lot more…In this new chapter, HRC will have the audacity to build a world where LGBTQ+ people can be safe, celebrated, and joyful in all aspects of our lives. We’re gonna keep building workplaces that work for all of us. We’re gonna keep building schools where all kids are welcome. We’re gonna build a health care system grounded in equity and inclusion. We’re gonna keep fighting to defeat stigma and end the HIV epidemic in our lifetime. We’re gonna keep lifting up artists and actors and changemakers, so we can show the world what queer lives look like, what queer brilliance is.”

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

View Kelley’s full speech here.

The event also featured speeches by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose was honored with the HRC Visibility Award, presented by actress Cecily Strong and artist Kehinde Wiley was honored with the HRC National Equality Award.

You can view photos from the Blue Carpet – featuring Ariana DeBose, Kehinde Wiley, Dana Goldberg, Caitlin Kinnunen and others here. Photos from the event, which additionally feature Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Brita Filter, Catalina Cruz, Cecily Strong, Karine Jean-Pierre, Jackie Cox, Jan Sport and Milan Garcon and Robin de Jesus can be found here.

Click here for videos of HRC President Kelley Robinson, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ariana Debose and Kehinde Wiley. Excerpts from their speeches are below.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


Honoree Ariana DeBose on the importance of visibility:

“The visibility is not only for me. It’s for others – and it’s a privilege and an honor to speak up and speak out on their behalf. I also now know visibility to be an act of bravery. Again, not only for me – but for the young and yearning, the closeted and cloistered, those who are fighting for the simple right to be treated with the same dignity and respect that every heteronormative person is granted. Visibility is about bravery. An act of shere will and courage to wake up everyday and be exactly who you are in a society that will have you believe that it’s unsafe to do just that in order to maintain the status quo of comfortability.”

Honoree Kehinde Wiley on the importance of art:

“The humanities and fine art matter in life, and we can possibly change the lives and the trajectories of young black and brown children all over the world, simply by modeling excellence. I want to say tonight that, in the end, what we have is a room full of people with a story to tell. The story of democracy in America is a strong one, but unless it’s placed properly it will never endure. The thriving of queer people in the West is one that we have to water and give some light and allow to endure. But unless we all together surround it, it won’t endure. Let’s stop playing games, let’s actually become models for something.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the fight for LGBTQ+ equality:

“But the fight for LGBTQ+ equality has never been easy. And we’ve already come so far in just the past few decades. We’ve won these fights before. And I promise you, we will win them again. We must continue to fight. They will not prevail. Because the moral arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. We are too many, too powerful, too dedicated — we are drawing lines in the sand and they will not cross. They will be our steel, and equality our battle cry!”

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on passing the Respect for Marriage Act:

“There was one accomplishment last year that hit home in a special way. One that was personal to me, personal to my family, and personal to every one of us in this room and for millions of people across America. Passing the Respect for Marriage Act into law! My daughter, Allison, is gay. Her wedding day was one of the happiest moments of my life. But one of the most terrible moments of recent years was the night I was with my family having dinner, in September of 2020, when we received the news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. I remember that awful feeling around the dinner table - and I distinctly remember the question my daughter and her wife asked, ‘Could our right to marry be undone?’ It’s a question sadly, that millions asked across the country. That’s why I was so proud to lead the Senate in passing the Respect for Marriage Act.”

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