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Emmy-winning Kathy Najimy to appear at HRC Gala
Thirteenth annual event follows record-breaking crowds in 2007

by Bert Woodard . Special to Q-Notes

Acclaimed actress Kathy Najimy of “Sister Act” fame will deliver the Gala’s keynote address.
CHARLOTTE — The Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala committee has announced that television and movie actress Kathy Najimy will deliver the keynote address at the 13th-annual HRC Carolinas Gala on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

In the CBS drama “Numb3rs,” Najimy portrays the saucy, brilliant head of the university, Millie Finch. Najimy’s work includes more than 20 films, including starring roles in “Hocus Pocus” with Bette Midler, “RatRace” and “Say Uncle.” She has also appeared in “It’s Pat,” “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez and HBO’s “If These Walls Could Talk 2” with Ellen DeGeneres.

In more recent work, Najimy has provided the voice of Peggy Hill for 12 seasons on the Emmy Award-winning Fox hit “King of the Hill,” for which she received an Annie and WIN Award. In her most important role of activist, she was named Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year 2005.

Najimy is internationally known for her portrayal of Sister Mary Patrick in the blockbuster hits “Sister Act I” and its sequel, “Sister Act II,” which starred Whoopi Goldberg. Those performances won her an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress and a nomination by the Hollywood Women’s Press club for female Discovery of the Year.

For her more than 18 years of AIDS activism, Najimy has been honored with the Los Angeles Shanti’s Founder award as well as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center’s Distinguished Achievement award. She is an enthusiastic supporter of AIDS, Choice, Arabic pride, women’s and animal rights and frequently travels around the country to speak on these issues. Najimy has lent her support to a variety of LGBT organizations including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and HRC.

The highly decorated actress has also been published in The New York Times, as well as several national magazines. She contributed a chapter to the book “The Choices We Made,” which was released on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She has also contributed to “Five Minutes with the President” and will soon be featured in the upcoming book “Starpower,” which will showcase politically active celebrities.

HRC hosts annual fundraising Galas throughout the country to support its mission of building an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Last year’s HRC Carolinas Gala was the second-largest HRC-affiliated dinner in the nation. Second only to the national dinner in Washington, D.C., the Carolinas event drew out just over 1,500 LGBT and straight ally HRC supporters. Gala organizers said they expect to at least match that number this year. The 2008 event will mark the fourth year the dinner has been hosted in Charlotte.

The annual youth scholarships, available to college students across the Carolinas, have been reworked to include a day-long leadership conference jointly sponsored and presented by HRC and CampusPride. Founded by Charlottean Shane Windmeyer, CampusPride is the leading national organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students.

Students have until Jan. 24 to apply for the dinner scholarship, which includes conference participation, meals and a ticket to the Gala in the evening.

This year’s ticket prices are set at $190 a plate before Jan. 31, a slight jump from the 2007 dinner. After Feb. 1, prices will increase to $225. The host hotel for the event is the Charlotte Westin, which will be offering a special HRC group rate of $134 for single and double occupancy rooms. Hotel reservations must be made prior to Jan. 28 to take advantage of the group rate.

info: For more information and to purchase Gala
tickets, email info@hrccarolinas.org or visit www.hrccarolinas.org

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