NY Leadership Awards 2007

New York Leadership Awards draws hundreds

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The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., senior minister of New York’s Riverside Church, accepts the Leadership Award on behalf of U.S. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). (Photo by Rudy K Photography)

More than 300 people turned out on April 16 for the 2007 New York Leadership Awards honoring Garden State Equality Chair and CEO Steven Goldstein and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.)

Goldstein was honored for his longtime leadership on LGBT issues in neighboring New Jersey, the most recent victories being the enactment of a statewide civil union law and a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law. A running joke among New Yorkers is that the funky scents that occasionally envelop the city come from New Jersey. “That smell is the whiff of victory,” Goldstein half-kidded. A little later, on a more serious note, he spoke passionately about his commitment to securing full-fledged marriage equality — and not settling for anything less: “When it comes to equality, good things don’t come to people who wait; good things come to those who demand equality today.”

The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr. of the renowned Riverside Church in New York accepted the Leadership Award on behalf of Rangel, who had to remain in Washington, D.C. Forbes spoke of the need for people to come together to help heal the country. “People who have experienced ostracism and demonization, if they live through it, are some of the best champions of others who have been treated this way,” he said.

Rangel sent a video message that was screened at the dinner. In it, he praised the work of the Task Force in advancing LGBT equality. Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, meanwhile, thanked the crowd for supporting the Task Force as it “pushes the envelope,” advocating an agenda in which LGBT equality is the floor, not the ceiling. The event was emceed by the irrepressible Kate Clinton and featured music by David Raleigh.

The Task Force extends its particular gratitude to the event steering committee, chaired by Jeff Adler and board members Mark Sexton and Paula Redd Zeman. Vice chairs included board members Maureen Burnley, Ken Ranftle and Dr. Kevin Williams, as well as Adam Becker, Dr. Elizabeth Schiff, Jeff Solis and Clay Williams. Their hard work over the last year ensured the event’s success.

We also thank the sponsors of this year’s New York Leadership Awards. Our Platinum sponsors were the law firm Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom LLP, board member Mark Sexton & Kirk Wallace, Ted Snowden, and Jim Stepp & Peter Zimmer. Gold sponsors included Lawrence S. Pidgeon & Susan Goldfarb, James Garbus & James Vinett, board member Ken Ranftle & Craig Leiby and board member Eric von Kuersteiner & Tony Roncalli. This year’s Silver sponsors were Kevin Foley & Stephen Littell, Bob Smolin, David Kane, Friedricke Merck, The Rev. Clement W.K. Lee & Martin A. Witt, Michael Katovitz & J. Goodwin Bland, David Hollander & Robert Shaw and the Democratic National Committee. Thanks also to our Bronze sponsors, including board member Maureen Burnley & Tatiana Carayannis, board member Paula Redd Zeman & The Rev. Deborah Tammearu, Paul Holden & Curt Selman, William Zwart & David Berchenbriter, board member Dr. Kevin Williams, Gary Boston, Dr. Marjorie Hill & Stacey Bridgeman, Charles J. O’Byrne, Vincent Carrifiello and Richard Winger & Michael Lucas.

Many thanks as well to the donors to this year’s silent auction, which raised a record amount for the Task Force!