NGLTF Announces Recipients Of This Year’s “Honoring Our Allies” Award

August 04, 1997

Human Rights activist Coretta Scott King will be honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) for her efforts on behalf of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered persons in the struggle for civil and human rights. Mrs. King will receive the "Honoring Our Allies" award from NGLTF at an awards ceremony to be held on September 15, 1997 in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. King, founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, has been a strong advocate for peace and justice through nonviolent action across the nation and throughout the world. She has been outspoken on lesbian and gay issues for years and has appeared at press conferences and pride rallies throughout the country. She has often spoken of the lesbians and gay men who were involved in the civil rights movement all throughout its history, notably Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the famous 1963 March On Washington, at which Dr. King gave his famous I Have A Dream speech. Most recently, Mrs. King has spoken in support of legislation in Congress that would make it illegal to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.

"Mrs. King has been a tremendous ally in the effort to achieve fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people" said Kerry Lobel, NGLTF executive director. "She truly embodies what this award is about and we're very honored that she will be here with us as we celebrate her thirty-plus year commitment to the principles of equality for all people. The vision of she and Dr. King in the civil rights movement has set the standard for fighting back with dignity. They demanded that this nation examine its core principles and their struggle has created the handbook for human rights movements that followed."

John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO will also be given an Honoring Our Allies award. Sweeney will be honored for his efforts to further include lesbians and gays in the labor movement. He has been involved in the labor movement for over thirty-five years and is the former president of the Service Employees International Union.

The Mautner Project, this year's third honoree, is a service organization for lesbians with cancer. The project, named for Mary-Helen Mautner who died of breast cancer in 1989 offers a variety of direct services, support and outreach and education. The Mautner Project was formed in 1990 in Washington, D.C.

"The Mautner Project has helped to save the lives of many women who were diagnosed with cancer," Lobel stated. "It is a very valuable life support operation and resource in our community and I am very proud that we can honor them for their great work."

Past winners of the Honoring Our Allies award include Attorney General Janet Reno, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders in 1994, the Congressional Black Caucus in 1995 and South African President Nelson Mandela and other South African's who helped to craft the new government's Equality Clause last year. The all-inclusive clause bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in South Africa.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.