GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina’s statewide LGBT advocacy and education organization will hold its sixth annual Equality North Carolina Conference and Gala on Saturday.

During the day, hundreds are expected to attend informational workshops and seminars at the conference, held on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. An evening gala will include the group’s annual “Equality Champion” awards and keynote speaker, North Carolina NAACP President, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II.

A variety of conference workshops are planned. Presenters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will speak about the advocacy that led to this week’s approval of gender-neutral housing for students on the campus. Staff from Charlotte’s Time Out Youth will present on creating safe spaces for young people. Wes Nemenz, a North Carolina native and staffer with the national Trevor Project, will present a session on empowering LGBT youth. Presenters from Mitchell County will speak about their experiences organizing in rural North Carolina. Other session topics will include advocacy in the workplace, social justice across race, culture and gender, among other session topics.

Barber will speak at the evening gala at the Empire Room in downtown Greensboro. He and the North Carolina NAACP were instrumental partners in the spring campaign against the anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment. He’ll receive an honorary award for his efforts advocating against the amendment.

Several other awards will be given. The Student Leadership Award will go to Sammi Kiley. The Legislative Leadership Award recipient is state House Rep. Larry Hall (Dist. 29), Durham, N.C.

The Bob Page Equality Champions, awarded in five geographic regions are: Charlotte Region: Chris McLeod and Krista Tillman, Charlotte, N.C.; Eastern Region: Sherre Toler, Wilmington, N.C.; Triad Region: Rev. Julie Peeples, Greensboro, N.C. Triangle Region: Pam Spaulding, Durham, N.C. Western Region: Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Asheville, N.C.

Registration for the conference and gala is now closed, though organizers say walk-up registrations for the conference will be available. Space for the gala is limited. For more information on the conference, visit

more coverage: Stay tuned to and follow us on Twitter, @qnotescarolinas, for updates from Saturday’s conference and gala.

Lainey Millen contributed to this report

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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