Annual Awards Reception Lauds Progressive Activists
Members of Gertrude Stein Democratic Club gathered on Dec. 13 to celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary and recognize individuals who went above and beyond for the LGBTQ community. "Although we didn't win nationally this past election, we still need to celebrate our advocates and leaders who worked hard for our community," said Earl Fowlkes, GSDC president. Earl reminded those in attendance, which included long-time members and several new faces, that Democrats have major tasks in 2017: 1) to engage fellow Democrats across the nation and 2) to stand up for our principles. He then spotlighted the following individuals who provide great examples on how to promote Democratic ideals and engage various communities:
Sarah McBride was awarded the Desi Philip Deschaine Young Democrat of the Year Award for services and dedication of a young Democrat to the LGBTQ community. Sarah was instrumental in the passage of Delaware’s 2013 Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act, which included legal protections for transgender people in employment, housing, public accommodations, and insurance. The transgender activist also made history in July when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia — the first time a Transgender person ever addressed a major party's national convention.
Joe Salmonese was given the Justice Award for promoting and working to advance LGBTQ rights nationally. He was recognized for his work at Emily's List and the Human Rights Campaign. During his tenure at HRC, more people of color were hired on as staff, adding to the diversity of the organization.
Martin Garcia was presented with the President's Award to recognize his exceptional leadership and for going above and beyond the call of duty to advance the cause of LGBTQ people in the District. Martin played a pivotal role in re-energizing the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club four years ago, serving in different leadership roles.
Mayor Muriel Bowser was given the Wanda Alston Democratic Service Award for contributions and outstanding work in promoting the principles of the Democratic Party, particularly among the LGBT community to support greater LGBT participation in government and advocating for Democratic principles.
DC Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs received the Heil-Balin Community Service Award for its contributions to LGBTQ equality in the District.