Each year, Christopher Street West recognizes people and groups that have especially impacted the LGBTQ community. With a demonstrated commitment to greater visibility and understanding, advocacy, human rights, empowerment, marriage equality and service, CSW is very excited to present the 2012 LA PRIDE Honorees:
Dr. Virginia Uribe
Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Virginia Uribe is a fearless advocate for LGBT youth. 28 years ago at Fairfax High School she was the one teacher gay students could confide in. At the time, just one year after the discovery of AIDS, this was not only strikingly controversial and but also revolutionary.
Person of the Year Award
Christopher Street West annually presents The Person of the Year Award to someone consistently making a positive and lasting impact on the LGBT community.
Chaz Bono's 2011 memoir and Sundance-premiering, Emmy-nominated documentary were media sensations, however it was his courage on Dancing with the Stars that gave transgender issues unprecedented visibility to millions of fans of this hit show. Even with pressure put on ABC to disqualify Chaz, he showed up, danced, charming us all, and upon his most graceful exit said proudly, "I wanted to show America a different kind of man," dedicating everything he did to people like him, especially the kids and teens who are struggling.
Harvey Milk Legacy Award
Mia Yamamoto's life started behind barbed wire in a Japanese internment camp. After serving our country in Vietnam, she earned her J.D. from UCLA in 1971. In the public sector as a newly minted lawyer, Mia's career as a civil rights activist took off. In private practice, she continued on this path through affiliations with the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance, International Bridge to Justice, which provides due process education to judicial systems in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, ACLU of Southern California and The Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity for the American Bar Association.
George Moscone Ally Award
Kamala Harris is the first woman, first African-American and first Asian American to serve as Attorney General for the State of California. In this formidable elective role, Harris has made the fight against fraudulent foreclosures, the effects of which continue to devastate homeowners throughout our State, her signature issue.
However, it is her bold leadership on matters of paramount importance to the LGBT community and unwavering support of marriage equality that have made her a stand-out among elected officials. At her victory party in 2010 she announced she would not defend Prop 8.
Outstanding Youth Leader Award
For 17-year-old high school junior Katy Butler, enough was enough. After coming out as a lesbian in middle school, and being bullied as a result, she was outraged that the new documentary "Bully" was to be released with an "R" rating. This meant that those under 17, the youth directly affected by bullying would not be able to see the film.
Connie Norman Spirit Award
Steve Jimenez is a teacher by trade, but a rock star when it comes to supporting LGBT youth and their families within LAUSD, the nation's second largest school district. Since 2003, he has been the indefatigable go-to on LGBT student issues, assisting 30,000 teachers, administrators and staff when it comes to the rights and protections LGBT students are entitled to as well as best practices for prevention and intervention of bullying.
Andelson/Thais-Williams Business Award
Jewel's Catch One opened in 1972 as the nation's first black gay and lesbian disco. But as AIDS devastated her community, owner-activist Jewel Thais-Williams yearned to help. She co-founded The Minority AIDS Project and became a board member of AIDS Project Los Angeles. With her partner Rue, she co-founded Rue's House, the first of its kind residential home for women and children with HIV/AIDS. Advances in treatment allowed Rue's House to close, so Jewel reopened it in 1997 as the Village Manor, which to this day continues providing physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health support to all in need.
Berman/Schaffer Service Award
For phenom event producer and entrepreneur, Tom Whitman, when the party is over, his philanthropic work is just getting started. He has been producing high-octane events locally and nationally within LGBT circles for a decade, including those for HRC, GLAAD, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and for LA PRIDE'S 2012 Community Grand Marshal, The Trevor Project. It is his more recent charitable endeavor, however, The Gang of 100, that has made him so well-regarded when it comes to giving back.
Osborn / Michaels Media Award
Dee Rees, a relatively new writer/director, and Spike Lee protégé, is at the dawn of what will assuredly be a heralded career, if her arresting film "Pariah" is an indication. "Pariah" is about a 17-year old African-American teenager embracing her identity as a lesbian. Premiering at Sundance in 2011, it received the Excellence in Cinematography Award, and went on to become a film festival and crowd favorite. Additionally Dee was honored with the John Cassavetes Award, at the 2012 Spirit Awards.
Pat Parker Cultural Arts Award
As it marks its most impressive 30th anniversary, the aptly-named Celebration Theatre is a community of artists dedicated to presenting innovative, provocative and relevant work examining the LGBT experience.
The Pat Parker Cultural Arts Award recognizes an individual or organization that supports the LGBT spirit through the arts. This award is dedicated to the legacy of Pat Parker, a groundbreaking African-American lesbian poet and activist.
Pride events are truly the only opportunity for our entire diverse community, family, friends and allies to come together—by the hundreds of thousands—to celebrate our history, courage, accomplishments and future. There is no other gathering that offers such visibility and camaraderie for the LGBT community.
Taking place June 8-10, 2012 in West Hollywood, this year's LA PRIDE festival promises more room for stages, dancing, booths and vendors now that the new West Hollywood Library has been completed.
Christopher Street West is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization