RALEIGH, N.C. — Equality North Carolina (ENC) has announced the 2015 Equality Gala Award winners names and will honor them at the upcoming event on Nov. 21 in Greensboro, N.C.
Mayor Nancy Vaughn has been named the Jamie Kirk Hawn Ally Award winner. Vaughn has been mayor of Greensboro, N.C., since 2013. She has also worked for LGBT inclusivity, more recently helping to shepard her city’s anti-discrimination ordinance in 2014.
Scott Bishop has been bestowed with the Bob Page Equality Champion Award. Bishop has been the long-time head of the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee and is a Charlotte, N.C., resident. He helped spearhead the city’s non-discrimination ordinance campaign and was instrumental in ENC’s endorsements in the recent municipal primaries.
Sen. Mike Woodard will be presented with the Legislative Leadership Award. Woodard is an Electeds for Equality program original member. He has been a champion of LGBT causes and has actively engaged in pro-equality legislation and has been a vocal opponent of discriminatory bills.
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) has been selected as the Organization of the Year. SONG worked to achieve full justice across the South, especially in areas that touch on racial and LGBT justice. Earlier in October, SONG’s co-director Caitlin Breedlove stepped down after nearly a decade of service and she is being replaced by Mary Hooks. Hooks has been a long-time member of SONG and has been at the forefront of its work. She will be officially welcomed at the “Forever Song” family reunion and celebration on Nov. 14 in Atlanta, Ga.
Also, the keynote speaker for the gala will be Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that brought about marriage equality across the U.S. In a release, he said that he could not wait to return to return to the Old North State in November. Leading up to the decision on June 26, he had made a stop in Charlotte, N.C., where he met some of the state’s leaders for equality.
Obergefell was the recipient of the inaugural LGBT Pioneer Award at the 20th Anniversary SAGE Awards and Gala on Oct. 19 in New York, N.Y. It was presented to him my Edie Windsor, a plaintiff in one of the marriage equality suits.
SAGE CEO Michael Adams stated, “Jim’s courage and persistence led the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm that his love for John Arthur was no less than that between two heterosexual spouses. [Their] story also started a national conversation about LGBT caregivers and surviving partners, whom SAGE is committed to servicing through support programs and policy work.”
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