CHARLOTTE – Organizers for the 18th annual Human Rights Campaign North Carolina Gala have announced the dates, location and co-chairs for their 2013 event.

Ann Hooper, Zuni Johnson, Jason McCraw and Connie Vetter have been named co-chairs of the event, slated for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

“The North Carolin Gala, which is the second largest HRC Gala in the country returns to the Charlotte — a world-class venue that recently hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention,” says Robert Dogens, HRC Board of Governor and prior gala co-chair. “The theme for this year — Mission Equality — demonstrates for all LGBT citizens of NC that full ‘Equality’ is within reach, however it only through coming together with our allies and supporters to ensure that we are doing everything we can to achieve that mission.”

Hooper, Johnson, McCraw and Vetter have been involved in the larger community and have exemplified superb leadership in the Charlotte LGBT Community.

Hooper, formerly in social work and retail management, has always had a zest for life and volunteering. In addition to being a cancer survivor and raising over $450,000 for Komen Charlotte over many years, HRC has been a true passion for her. Being an active HRC Federal Club Member and serving on prior years of the gala committee, Hooper is ready to leave her impression on this year’s event!

Johnson is a banker by day and the co-owner of an events company, Just Twirl by night. He has called Charlotte his home for the past 15 years alongside his partner, Jason, who happens to be a gala co-chair, also. Johnson has also been involved with numerous non-profits including Regionals AIDS Interfaith Network, Time Out Youth, Toys for Tots and Crisis Assistance Ministry. He plans to build on the success of previous galas by raising awareness and monies for HRC.

McCraw is also a banker by day, a fitness instructor and co-owner of Just Twirl, an events promotion company that he owns with his partner of 15 years. In his spare time, he spends his time with his partner, dogs and friends when he is not volunteering with an extensive number of non-profits including Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, Time Out Youth and Toys for Tots. McCraw has made it his mission to fight for Equality for all!

Vetter, an attorney who focuses on the needs of LGBT community, has called Charlotte home for the past 20 years. An active supporter of HRC, she has been involved with various aspects of the gala including silent auction and program book. Additionally, Vetter has served on various local boards including Time Out Youth, MeckPAC and the LGBT Community Center. Spare time is spent with her close friends and her lovely dog, Velveeta.

Westin Charlotte will serve as host hotel during the 2013 HRC NC Gala Weekend in Charlotte. Planning has already begun locally to make this year a memorable event. Tickets are already on sale and may be purchased at

The 2013 HRC North Carolina Gala Committee is seeking corporate sponsors, silent auction items, table captains and volunteers to assist with the event. For more information, e-mail or visit

— compiled from press release