Diversity Honors returns to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Saturday, May 6.
The event is a fundraiser for Pride Center at Equality Park and the Harvey Milk Foundation.
“This year’s event is really going to have some ‘wow’ moments,” said Robert Boo, Chief Executive Officer for Pride Center at Equality Park.
Boo said some new features have been added this year and the program has been “shortened considerably.”
Honorees this year are Pulse survivor Isaiah Henderson, Ireland Senator David Norris, entertainer Tiffany Arieagus, Compass Chief Executive Officer Tony Plakas, community leader Ilene Berliner, attorney Dan Hall, Miami Shores thespian Giselle Kovac, education activist Jessica Norton, businessman Patrick Plana and U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The black tie optional soiree gets underway at 7 p.m. and is guest hosted by WSVN News Anchor Craig Stevens.
“I am so happy and humbled by the great honor that they have bestowed on me,” Arieagus said. “I never thought of receiving such a prestigious award and I thank them very much.”
Diversity Honors takes place on Harvey Milk Day, an internationally recognized date celebrating the legacy of gay politician Harvey Milk, elected to office as a city supervisor in San Francisco.
“I believe that Harvey Milk would be so proud to know our community has come together to impact policy, get openly LGBT people across the country to run for office and opened direct service centers to help those in our community who are in need,” said Plakas, who has worked at Compass, the Palm Beach County LGBT community center for 20 years. “And even more stunning, I believe he’d be impressed we did it during an epidemic he never could have imagined – one we’d never thought we’d be able to fight – and during a political environment, that in many ways, is as dedicated to keeping us down as it was when he was elected 40 years ago.”
Stuart Milk, Co-founder of the Milk Foundation, issued the following statement regarding this year’s Diversity Honors:
“The Harvey Milk Foundation is excited to begin 2017 Harvey Milk Day events, which marks the 40th anniversary of Uncle Harvey’s historic election to public office, by co-hosting this important gala where we come together to honor men and women who remind us all that diversity is strength, and diversity is a value that defines us not only in the South Florida community, but as a nation,” Milk said.
This is the third year for Diversity Honors, a seated dinner and awards presentation inside the Hard Rock’s casino located on the Seminole Reservation near Hollywood. Boo said Stoli, a vodka brand, had made a “huge investment” in the after party. Plana, Chief Executive Officer of Stoli’s U.S. operations, is one of the honorees.
When asked Monday morning about attendance and fundraising goals, Boo declined to comment.
“This is our opportunity to come together and recognize extraordinary people who are advocating for LGBT rights,” Boo said.
Henderson is slated to receive the Milan Rozsa Youth Award. The 22-year-old watched in horror as his mother was murdered at the Pulse Nightclub massacre last June.
Norris, described as the “Father of the Ireland Parliament,” is considered a leading authority on the work of Irish writer James Joyce. In his sixth term in the Irish Senate, Norris ran for President of Ireland in 2011. He will be presented with the Lilla Watson Global Leadership Award.
Locally, education activist Jessica Norton is a mother of a transgender child who is making a difference in the Broward Schools District as a PTA President. Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie was honored at last year’s Diversity Honors. Boo said Runcie is an amazingly supportive gentleman to the LGBT community who has allowed for the implementation of Gay-Straight Alliance’s at Broward high schools.
Tickets are $200 and more information can be found at DiversityHonors.com