VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Vice President Kamala Harris, Actors Sheryl Lee Ralph, Abbi Jacobson and Chanté Adams Join Human Rights Campaign Incoming President Kelley Robinson at HRC Annual Dinner

by Elizabeth Bibi

Washington, D.C.– Saturday night, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hosted its annual dinner, just 10 days before the midterm elections. The star-studded event featured remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris and Incoming HRC President Kelley Robinson. HRC honored Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph with the National Ally for Equality Award, which recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who use their voice to publicly stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, and the Prime Video series “A League of Their Own” with the National Visibility award, which recognizes LGBTQ+ leaders and entities that represent living open and honest lives at home, at work, and in the greater community. Stars Abbi Jacobson and Chanté Adams accepted the award on behalf of the show.

In her first public remarks as Incoming President, Robinson highlighted the threats facing the LGBTQ+ community, discussed her vision for the future of HRC under her leadership, and called out opponents of equality like Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker as folks start heading to the ballot box.

View Robinson’s full speech.

“This idea of salvation, of survival, has never been more true than in this moment. Good people, this is about survival for LGBTQ+ kids and families. This is about survival for the folks across the nation who are being denied access to basic health care. This is about survival for those whose lives are being threatened by hate and extremism. This is about survival for our trans community — especially Black trans women who go to work, who go out for drinks with friends, who walk their dogs, who go to church every day wondering if this is the day they don’t get to go home again. This moment is about the very survival of our people. We’ve got to be very clear that white supremacy is hurting all of us. Our opposition is not just coming for the progress of the last 40 years, they’re coming for the progress of the last 400 years.

Kelley Robinson, Incoming President, HRC

“We are facing an opposition that does not think we should be allowed to exist. And they are willing to do anything — and say anything — to achieve their ends. Blake Masters in Arizona called Justice Jackson a ‘pedophile apologist.’ Ron Johnson is saying school shootings are caused by wokeness. Herschel Walker is saying kids are identifying as cats. There is no end to their hate and no bottom to their— as Joe Biden would call it— their malarkey.”

In addition to Robinson’s remarks, Vice President Harris, and honored guests spoke passionately about the importance of representation and the need to defend LGBTQ+ rights around the world. The event included performances from Robin S., Shea Diamond, and DJ Nico Craig and appearances from celebrities and LGBTQ+ advocates from across the country.

You can view photos from the event here.

Excerpts and videos from speeches from Vice President Harris, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Abbi Jacobson & Chanté Adams are available below.

Vice President Kamala Harris: Full video

Sheryl Lee Ralph accepting the Ally for Equality Award: Full video.

“You married somebody you love? You got rights? Just because you have rights today does not mean that you will have rights tomorrow. Don’t sit there in your happiness. Don’t sit there in your privilege. Don’t sit there looking so good and thinking the fight is over. The fight has just begun. Don’t be so sure of yourself that you sit out an election.”

Abbi Jacobson accepting the National Visibility Award on behalf Prime Video’s “A League of Their Own”: Full video.

“I am a queer woman, engaged to woman who I love more than I thought possible, who’s birthday it happens to be today and who, I still can’t believe wants to hang out with me all the time. Now I’m 38– I know, ridiculous– you’re confused, I know it’s hard to grasp. I only realized I was queer when I was 32. THIRTY TWO. It’s quite a shame for everyone involved! And, while it’s never too late, I know, I know deep in my bones, that if I had seen our show and the representation within it when I was a kid, it would have changed my life. Seeing whole, complicated characters on screen that look or love or live like you do– I cannot convey what that can do to change the course of someone’s life. And seeing characters that are living lives completely unlike our own, allows us to more fully understand other’s experiences, what it’s like to walk through the world in different bodies. It is one of the most significant tools we have in our fight toward progress.”

Chanté Adams accepting the National Visibility Award on behalf of Prime Video’s “A League of Their Own”: Full video.

“We made this show for you, for us, for our communities. For Maybelle Blair, one of the original All-American Girl Professional Baseball League players, who is here with us tonight and recently found the courage to come out to the world at 95 years old! We made this show for black women like Toni Stone, Mamie Johnson, and Connie Morgan who were told in every way they weren’t meant to play baseball but did it anyway. For every person that has ever lived outside the boring box of normalcy. You don’t just deserve to be seen. You deserve to lead, to be the center of the storyline. You deserve the grace to make mistakes and be human. You deserve to be in spaces where you’re the majority.”

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