Miami LGBTQ Community Raises $650,000 for LGBTQ Equality
MIAMI, FL, November 22, 2016 — Over 700 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocates, allies and supporters attended this year’s National LGBTQ Task Force Gala – Miami held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Saturday, November 19. Presented by Wells Fargo, the annual awards dinner honors people for their significant contributions to advancing full equality for LGBTQ people. Sponsors and attendees helped raise approximately $650,000 to support South Florida organizations providing direct services to LGBTQ people as well as the National LGBTQ Task Force’s advocacy and organizing work.
The evening opened with National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey addressing some of the fears and challenges in the post-election world and encouraging guests to be prepared to defend the progress of the LGBTQ movement. The event ended with a performance of “What the World Needs Now is Love” by Broadway sensation Beth Malone, accompanied by eight local singers.
“We were disappointed when this event was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew, but it turned out this was exactly the time for us all to come together,” said Carey. “I’ve never been so happy to see our Miami family.”
National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal paid tribute to the lives lost in June in the Pulse Nightclub shootings as he introduced the National Leadership Award recipients, Broadway producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley. In response to the shootings, the couple gathered 50 Broadway community members to form “Broadway for Orlando” and raised money for the victims. In their video acceptance of the award, the two men said, “in terms of leadership, we want you to know that you can just do it yourself. If you have an idea, do it yourself and get your friends to come and help you.”
The 2016 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award was presented to Steve Rothaus, an editor at The Miami Herald who has dedicated much of his journalism career to elevating the voices of LGBTQ people. The audience listened intently as Rothaus presented a historical retrospective of the LGBTQ rights movement in South Florida, calling the “Save Our Children” campaign by Anita Bryant “ground zero.”
Award-winning comedian Alec Mapa, who is best known for his recurring roles in the hit television shows “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” emceed the event. Community leaders Charles Million and Bill Hahne served as the event co-chairs.
In addition to presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, this year’s gala sponsors included American Airlines, Bacardi, Alberto Arias & Wood Kinnard, Liebe & Seth Gadinsky, Carnival Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Menin Hospitality, Morgan Stanley and Stonewall Community Foundation’s James G. Pepper Fund.
Media and Public Relations Director