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National LGBTQ Wall of Honor 2024 at the Historic Stonewall Inn Announces Additions

Cecilia Gentili, Sakia Gunn, David Mixner, ABilly S. Jones-Hennin, Larry Baza and Charles Cochrane Jr.

NEW YORK, NY – The International Imperial Court Council and the National LGBTQ Task Force will add six individuals who have has tremendous impact on the LGBTQ movement at the sixth annual National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the historic Stonewall Inn. The ceremony will take place on June 27 at 6:00 pm ET at 53 Christopher Street, New York, NY.

To RSVP for the event (this link can be shared):
http://ngltf.convio.net/site/Calendar?id=103245&view=Detail

The National LGBTQ Wall of Honor celebrates and honors the LGBTQ trailblazers, activists and other individuals who have influenced the LGBTQ movement and the fight for the rights and liberation of all queer people.

Dozens of LGBTQ legends, who have made significant contributions to advocacy, politics, literature, science, the arts, and more, have been honored in past ceremonies. As we continue to recognize the accomplishments and impact of these LGBTQ individuals, we shed light on our own history at one of the most historically important sites in existence, the Stonewall Inn.

Founder of the LGBTQ Wall of Honor and City/County Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez stated, “As a Latino and LGBTQ activist for over 55 years I strongly believe more than ever that any community, indeed any civil rights movement, that doesn’t know where it came from and whose shoulders it stands on doesn’t really know where it’s going,” said Ramirez, also known as Empress Nicole the Great, Queen Mother of the Americas.

Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force said: “Seeing the names of Sakia Gunn, Cecilia Gentili, and ABilly S. Jones-Hennin on the Wall of Honors, along with dozens of icons, trailblazers and movement leaders, reminds me that courage is the lifeblood of our movement, forging a path forward, inspiring us to continue our fight to insist on the right to exist freely and authentically.

ABilly, a beacon of radical visibility, was one of the few highly visible bisexual men of color in our movement. His courage in embracing and advocating for his true self shattered barriers and paved the way for future generations. Cecilia, a colleague and icon who led a workshop on sex work and trans issues at our Creating Change conference just weeks before her passing, epitomized resistance and advocacy. Her fearless dedication created ripples of change. The tragic death of Sakia, a young person with so much potential and hope, in 2003, galvanized communities of color, highlighting the challenges faced by masculine-of-center lesbians of color and the importance of amplifying their voices.

These extraordinary leaders remind us that true progress is born from radicalness, resistance, courage, and risk-taking. As a Black, queer woman, I am deeply inspired by their legacy and the powerful example they set for us all.”

2024 HONOREES INCLUDE

CECILIA GENTILI

Cecilia Gentili was an Argentine American advocate for the rights of transgender people and sex workers.

Born in Argentina, she moved to New York City. She held leadership positions at the LGBTQ HIV/AIDS care nonprofits GMHC and APICHA, co-founded a free clinic for sex workers at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, co-founded DecrimNY, an organization which successfully decriminalized sex work in New York and repealed the “Walking while trans law,” and founded Trans Equity Consulting.

Gentili also filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s removal of non-discrimination protections for gender identity in the Affordable Care Act.

DAVID MIXNER 

David Benjamin Mixner was a political activist and author. He was best known for his work in anti-war and gay rights advocacy.

Mixner played a key role in defeating Proposition 6 in California, which sought to ban gays and lesbians from being schoolteachers. He also organized the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in 1969, drawing millions of protesters nationwide. Mixner later became involved in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns but criticized Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which led to a rift between them.

Mixner continued his activism throughout his life, focusing on issues like nuclear disarmament, AIDS awareness, and LGBT rights. He was honored for his activism and writing, including receiving an honorary doctorate from Washington College in 2015.

SAKIA GUNN 

Sakia Gunn was a 15-year-old African American lesbian who was murdered in 2003 in what has been deemed a hate crime in Newark, NJ. In 2008 a documentary was released about Gunn’s murder, titled “Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project.”

Gunn’s death sparked outrage from the city’s gay and lesbian community. The community rallied the mayor’s office, requesting that police officers to patrol the Newark Penn Station/ Broad Street corridor 24-hours a day, the creation of an LGBT advisory council to the mayor, and that the school board be held accountable for the lack of concern and compassion when dealing with students at Westside High School (which Gunn attended) immediately following the murder. The Newark Pride Alliance, an LGBT advocacy group, was founded in the wake of Gunn’s murder.

ABILLY S. JONES-HENNIN 

ABilly S. Jones-Hennin was an LGBT rights activist based in Washington, D.C.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Jones-Hennin was active in African-American LGBT organizing, helping to found a number of groups, and acted as the logistics coordinator for the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. In the 1980s, he was involved with HIV/AIDS education and helped to develop healthcare programs with the Whitman-Walker Clinic.

From the 1990s until his death, Jones-Hennin became involved with disability activism, speaking specifically about homophobia in healthcare settings.

CHARLES COCHRANE

Charles Henry “Charlie” Cochrane, Jr.  was the first openly gay law enforcement officer and sergeant with the New York City Police Department.

Cochrane’s courageous 1981 testimony on anti-discrimination legislation pending before the New York City Council, was honored on June 17, 2016, with New York City street signs marking “Charles H. Cochrane Way”, at Washington Place and Sixth Avenue. At the unveiling ceremony NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill paid tribute to Cochrane’s fortitude, noting “Charlie had come out as a gay cop during a time when gay cops were afraid of losing their jobs and of being physically harmed.” He added that “through the efforts of Charlie, this is now a very different New York City than it was 35 years ago and it’s a very different NYPD.”

He later helped to form the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), a support organization advocating on behalf of gay and lesbian officers in the New York City Police Department.

LARRY BAZA

Larry Baza was a lifelong advocate of the arts and served as chair of San Diego’s Commission for arts and culture, before being appointed to the California Arts Council in 2016. He also served on countless panels, boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Centro Cultural de la Raza, Chicano Federation of San Diego County, National Association of Latino Arts and culture, San Diego Community Foundation, Diversionary Theatre and most recently a trustee at the Museum of Us in Balboa Park.

But his zest for advocacy wasn’t focused solely on the arts, he was known as a champion for the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities, fighting for issues of equality and social justice. Larry joined the San Diego Pride Committee in 1989, and became co-chair along with Vertez Burks in 1992, marking the first time Pride was headed by two people of color.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Larry said “… We can’t forget what we are not a part of, what we’ve no access to and how much further we have yet to go.”

CONTACT:
Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, 917-757-6123, [email protected]

Nicole Ramirez-Murray, Queen Mother of the Americas, Imperial Court System, 619-241-5672


About the LGBTQ Task Force and International Imperial Court

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we have made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. Those barriers must go.

A significant LGBTQ grassroots network, the International Imperial Court System is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ organizations in the world. The court system was founded in 1965 by Latino World War II Veteran Jose Julio Sarria, who in 1961 became the first openly gay candidate to run for public office. Today, this network raises money for LGBTQ+ causes and aims to both educate and help the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. There are now nearly 70 Imperial Court Chapters in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.