Task Force to recognize four California leaders this evening

Please join the Task Force this evening for our reception in San Jose, Calif., honoring four California  leaders working to advance equality. Purchase tickets or make a donation here. The honorees are:

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, who represents the 14th Assembly District, was a student leader at the University of California/Berkeley of anti-apartheid efforts as well as a union organizer among graduate teaching assistants. Skinner established parks and set high standards for municipal recycling and voted for the nation’s first domestic partnership ordinance in 1984. The policy is a landmark in the movement for full and equal family recognition and marriage equality. She is an authority on preventing climate change , the proud mom of a lesbian daughter and a member of PFLAG, as well as a strong voice for LGBT equality in state governance.

Former Assemblymember and Santa Cruz Mayor John Laird is a trailblazing, openly LGBT leader from Santa Cruz. Raised in Vallejo, he graduated from the University of California/Santa Cruz in 1972 and came back to the city after a stint working for Vietnam War foe and Congressman Jerome Waldie. He went on to win a seat on the City Council in 1981 and served until 1990. During that time, he broke a “lavender ceiling” by becoming one of the first openly LGBT mayors in the nation. He helped steer the city’s relief and recovery efforts stemming from the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. In 2002, he won election to the state Assembly, where he chaired the Budget Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee, the Labor and Employment Committee, and the Natural Resources Committee. He also chaired the California Legislative LGBT Caucus and helped lead legislative passage, twice, of bills to extend equal access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Singer, songwriter, entertainer and activist Linda Rondstadt is the “First Lady of Rock” whose internationally-acclaimed talents extend to ballads, folk music and nearly every other genre of solo and ensemble performance and studio and stage orchestration. She has won 10 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and has been nominated for both Tony Awards and Golden Globe awards. Among her 36 albums to rate on hit music rankings, three of her albums reached the top of the charts, and she has 10 top-10 albums. In addition to her musical voice, she is distinguished for human rights advocacy, drawing on her roots in Tucson, Ariz., to demand dignity and respect for immigrants with and without documentation as well as a path toward citizenship while also speaking out against Prop. 8 in California and for LGBT equality.

Producer, performer and social justice advocate Dan Guerrero is a global presence in stage direction and performance as well as a social justice advocate for Latinos and the LGBT community.  
Guerrero’s critically-acclaimed 2006 play ¡Gaytino! has toured more than 15 cities. A two-time winner of the Imagen Foundation for his positive portrayal of Latino culture, he has gained recognition from Hispanic Magazine as “one of the 25 most powerful Latinos in Hollywood.” The Dan Guerrero Collection on Latino Entertainment and the Arts now operates at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives at the University of California/ Santa Barbara.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, the first openly LGBT speaker of the Assembly and the first openly LGBT person of color ever to serve in the California Legislature, will give the introductions to a performance of ¡Gaytino!

Strengthening Our Freedom Struggle, a San José Reception for the Task Force and a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence

Thursday, Sept. 16, 8:30 p.m.
Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Avenue
San Jose, Calif.

Tickets are $45. Purchase tickets or make a donation here.