(left to right) Tom Feldman (Tyvola Design), Rabbi Judy Schindler, Kelly Doherty, Rev. Debbie Warren, Frank Kalian. Missing is Dr. Stephen Shoemaker.
CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Business Guild (CBG) presented its 2008 Don King Awards on Aug. 19, at its monthly meeting at the VanLandingham Estate.
The Don King Awards were named in honor of its first recipient in 1993, long-time Charlotte Observer employee and community advocate Don King. This year’s winners included Frank Kalian, one of the early leaders of several Charlotte lesbian and gay organizations and currently a board member of the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte; Kelley Doherty, chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Equity Committee; Rev. Debbie Warren, founder and president/CEO of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN); Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, senior minister at Myers Park Baptist Church; Rabbi Judy Schindler, senior clergy of Temple Beth-El; and Tyvola Design.
The awards acknowledge annually a man, a woman, an organization or its leader and a business for service to the Charlotte LGBT community. Beginning in 2008, the Guild also recognized two straight allies with a Bridge Builder Award, with Dr. Shoemaker and Rabbi Schindler earning the inaugural award.
“We are very proud to honor these outstanding individuals who have done so much to improve the quality life, not just for the Charlotte LGBT community, but for the entire community,” 2008 Charlotte Business Guild President Bert Woodard said in a release. “Our 2008 honorees have worked hard to further fairness and tolerance for everyone.”
Kalian helped start and run in the early 1990s an organization called First Tuesday that advocated basic civil rights for LGBT citizens. He is currently a board member for Primetimers of Charlotte, a social organization for gay men over the age of 50.
Doherty helped lead efforts last year that successfully advocated that the Mecklenburg County Board of Education pass a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes LGBT students as a group protected from bullying. Warren has worked to educate people, particularly the faith community, and introduce them to people infected with HIV/AIDS in an effort to break down the stigma of those affected by this disease.
Tyvola Design, a full-service graphic design firm owned by Tom Feldman, has assisted numerous LGBT and straight ally community projects in the Charlotte area, including RAIN, the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund of the Foundation for the Carolinas, Gay BINGO, Equality North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), Human Rights Campaign, HRC Carolinas Gala Dinner 2005, 2006, and 2007, Time Out Youth, Charlotte Business Guild, Campus Pride, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Shoemaker and Myers Park Baptist Church stood up to the N.C. Baptist Convention which revoked his church’s membership on Nov. 13, 2007, because the church would not change its policy of “open to all and closed to none” as part of its covenant.
Schindler is no stranger to the needs of the LGBT community. Her father, the late Rabbi Alexander Schindler, championed justice and equality initiatives in the Reform Movement, fighting for equal treatment of Jewish gay and lesbians and their place within temple life. She continues the legacy her father created by embracing an open door policy at Temple Beth El.