Monday, May 17, 2010

CFE Board President Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas named recipient of HARVEY MILK Award for 2010 CSW Pride Festival


LOS ANGELES (May 13, 2010) Christopher Street West Proudly presents the 2010 Honorees for the 40th LA PRIDE celebration June 11 - June 13, 2010.

Reverend Dr. Neil G. Thomas - Harvey Milk Award

Reverend Neil, as he is known, is the Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles. He has helped create feeding programs for the homeless, night and day shelters for those in need, safer sex initiatives for the vulnerable, worked on better relations between law enforcement and the LGBT community, and launched a drop in center for LGBT youth. As the President of California Faith for Equality, Reverend Dr. Thomas works with an interfaith coalition to build a collective voice that will help bring about Marriage Equality in California. He is also the President of the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council. Reverend Neil believes "that God is calling us all to make a difference and to reach the world, one life at a time."

Other honorees are:

Jane Velez-Mitchell - Person of the Year Award.

Christopher Street West proudly names Jane Velez-Mitchell as the 2010 Person of the Year for her activism, her honesty in sharing her journey overcoming addiction, and for being an out lesbian working in national media. Velez-Mitchell currently hosts HLN's "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell." She is a veteran television news journalist and Emmy Award winner who spent more than a decade anchoring and reporting for KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.

Velez-Mitchell is a published author whose autobiography, "I Want: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life" became a New York Times bestseller. In her book, Velez-Mitchell reveals that she strives "to experience the ultimate joy and freedom that lies in compassion and being of service to other people and other living beings." In addition, Velez-Mitchell is a strong animal rights activist advocating for the humane treatment of animals.

Nadia Sutton - Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award

Nadia Sutton is an activist, volunteer, and inspiration to all in the LGBT community and beyond. In 1989, Nadia founded PAWS/LA (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a non-profit organization helping those affected by HIV/AIDS who had difficulty caring for their pets. Nadia is passionate about the fight for equality. She is among the first to mobilize teams of people to show up at a protest march or demonstration. Nadia is also a tireless advocate for many organizations that rely on her skill to move their mission forward. Nadia serves on the West Hollywood Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, the West Hollywood Women's Mastermind Group, Friends of the Center for Sex and Gender Research at CSUN and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

Best in Drag Show - CSW Special Community Award

Best in Drag Show is a labor of love by a group of friends who donate their time and remarkable talents to produce a unique and entertaining event benefiting those living with HIV/AIDS. Originally called the Battle for the Tiara, the Best in Drag Show is a spoof on the Miss America Pageant. It began production in 1989, the brainchild of Patrick Rush and Alexis Pittman and has since generated over $1 million in donations. Rush has said, "We wanted to raise money for an organization that had actually helped people we knew." Celebrity judges have included Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly, Charlie Sheen, Niecy Nash, Kathy Griffin and many more.

HONOR PAC - CSW Special Community Award

Made up of a dedicated group of individuals, HONOR PAC is a voluntary, non-partisan committee whose mission is to advocate for the political empowerment of the Latina/o LGBT community. HONOR PAC supports candidates and ballot propositions that advance progressive policies that serve the unique needs and interests of those communities. HONOR PAC promotes education of LGBT issues, supports education programs for immigrant students and helps Latino LGBT youth by advancing anti-bullying legislation. HONOR PAC strives to provide access to health care and support for HIV/AIDS funding. In addition to fighting for marriage equality, it works to achieve equal protection for transgender individuals.

Guy Baldwin - Berman/Schaffer Award

Guy Baldwin is a pioneer, an educator, and an advocate in the LGBT BDSM, D/S, and Leather communities and has made a noticeable and positive impression on the lives of many. Guy was the first gay man to join the Society of Janus, an education and support organization devoted to safe and consensual BDSM. He quickly helped educate and expand the group. In 1976, while attending UCLA, he began insisting that 'taboo' erotic practices had been misunderstood by mental health-care providers. He worked to change the view and recognition among professional metal health practitioners concerning alternative or kinky sexuality. He also helped create the Kink-Aware-Professionals List, a global resource of kink-friendly medical, dental, and legal professionals.

Bamby Salcedo - Connie Norman Award

Bamby Salcedo is a transgender woman who works to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Bamby is the project coordinator for the transgender youth program at Children's Hospital LA. She previously worked as the program manager for the Transgeneros Unidas with Bienestar. Ms. Salcedo is a strong advocate and activist on issues regarding HIV prevention and economic and professional development for Latina transgender women. She has presented at many national health and HIV prevention conferences and serves in various planning committees statewide including the California HIV Planning Group (CHPG), in which she chairs the transgender working group. Ms. Salcedo is also a member of the Transgender Service Provider Network in Los Angeles. She is also the creator of the Angels of Change Calendar which provides positive and assuring images to transgender youth.

Ari Ruiz - Outstanding Youth Leader Award

Christopher Street West recognizes Ari Ruiz as an Outstanding Youth Leader. In August 2009, Ari Ruiz was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Commission for Children, Youth and their Families. He was the youngest individual to be elected Political Vice President for the Stonewall Young Democrats. Ari worked to improve education in East Los Angeles with InnerCity Struggle. He also worked in the community of El Serano as the Outreach Coordinator for Barrio Action, which ensures that community members participate in after-school tutoring, ESL and basic computer skill building. Ari actively participates with the LAUSD as a member of Project 10.

Sheryl Lee Ralph - George Moscone Award

Christopher Street West proudly honors longtime community ally, Sheryl Lee Ralph, with the 2010 George Moscone Award. Sheryl Lee Ralph is an acclaimed actress, activist and creator. In 1990, she established the Diva Foundation (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) and created DIVAS Simply Singing!, a star-studded, fundraising extravaganza, produced by Ms. Ralph and co-starring a host of committed Divas. The annual event has helped raise millions for organizations such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Black Pride Institute and Project Angel Food. Past Diva's have included Chaka Khan, Fergie, Nancy Wilson, Loretta Devine, Melissa Manchester and Raven Symone. "Women's voices have been silent for too long in the struggle against HIV/AIDS," Sheryl says, "and their stories need to be told. Their health and well-being matter too."

West Coast Singers - Pat Parker Arts Award

Created in 1983, the West Coast Singers is the third oldest mixed-voiced chorus of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender singers in the nation. Upon its inception the organization's primary purpose was to provide a safe environment for gays and lesbians to come together and sing. The West Coast Singers have performed at many community events including: the California AIDS Lifecycle closing ceremonies, the Gay & Lesbian Center's 25th anniversary, PFLAG's 20th anniversary dinner, the GLAAD Tidings annual holiday party, the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and the Names Project presentation of the Aids Memorial Quilt at UCLA.

D.I.V.A. - Torie Osborn / Dick Michaels Media Award

D.I.V.A.: Diverse and Inclusive Visionary Artists is a grassroots, non-profit organization comprised of 2,000+ industry members dedicated to promoting the creative endeavor and maximum visibility of multi-ethnic and/or LGBT artists and professionals in the media. In 2003, Nelson Melegrito recognized the need to provide a forum for multi-ethnic LGBT artists with an alternative niche to network. In addition, D.I.V.A. events have helped raise funds and awareness for many local and national non-profit organizations


M·A·C Cosmetics - The Sheldon Andelson Award

M·A·C AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of M·A·C cosmetics, was established in 1994 and is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with under-served populations. As the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver in the arena, MAF has raised over $150 Million exclusively through the sale of M·A·C's VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass, donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS.

For more detailed information and images of the 2010 Honorees, please visit Christopher Street West Board of Directors and Nominating Committee congratulate all of this year's Honorees and thank those that took the time to nominate this outstanding slate of committed individuals and organizations that live our vision of PRIDE 365: Power. Passion. Purpose.


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