Meghan McCain to Headline Diversity Honors Event

Meghan McCain. Photo via The View, Facebook

The 2019 lineup of honorees for the 5thannual Diversity Honors event has been revealed. Meghan McCain – best known as the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain and a member of the ABC daytime talk show The View – will lead a class that also features some South Florida notables.

The Diversity Honors is designed to be a celebration of “unity and inclusiveness” in the community and a chance to honor “those who are transforming lives by living authentically and advancing inclusiveness.”

McCain, a political blogger and best-selling author, will receive the Harvey Milk Foundation Lilla Watson Medal. Organizers describe her as a “marriage equality advocate.”

“Often said to possess the McCain ‘maverick gene,’ Meghan has no qualms saying what is on her mind and brags that she inherited [her] ‘dad’s heartburn-inducing ability to say what he thinks,’” organizers said in a statement. “A powerful voice for women and Republicans alike, McCain passionately advocates for women’s issues, social issues and marriage equality.”

Other honorees include U.S. Army Captain Jennifer Peace and Staff Sergeant Patricia King (Harvey Milk Foundation Valor Award); the Wilton Manors City Commission (The Pride Center Alan Schubert Award of Excellence); U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-FL; Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute; and Tony Lima, executive director of SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone).

Past honorees include civil rights activists Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Judy and Dennis Shepard; the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Gay-Straight Alliance; and transgender YouTube personality Ryland Whittington.

The black-tie optional March 30 event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino starts at 7 p.m. with a cocktail reception and raffle, followed by a seated dinner and awards presentation – then an after party featuring recording artist Debby Holiday.

Proceeds benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park.

The awards will be presented by Harvey Milk’s nephew – Stuart Milk – the co-founder and board president of Fort Lauderdale’s Harvey Milk Foundation.

Harvey Milk was one fo the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. who was assassinated shortly after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. 

South Florida Connections

The event will be emceed by NBC 6 TV reporter Jamie Guirola, who was born and raised in Miami and is very involved with the LGBT community personally and through his work. He’s currently a member of the city of Miami Beach’s LGBTQ advisory committee.

“NBC6 provides a platform that allows employees to be community leaders and advocate for equality,” Guirola said. “I look forward to honoring the champions of LGBTQ equality in South Florida. I’m also excited to bring attention to the Pride Center and help it achieve its goals.”

As executive director of Miami’s SAVE, a longtime LGBT advocacy organization, Lima has become a recognized leader in advancing LGBT equality.

In 2015, SAVE successfully sued the state of Florida to legalize same-sex marriage, and in 2014 it passed comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals at the Miami-Dade County Commission.

“I’m honored and humbled by this important recognition,” Lima said. “The Pride Center is a wonderful organization and I respect the work they do in our community. I also have great respect for the Harvey Milk Foundation and their important work. I think it’s important to honor those doing the hard work on behalf of social justice for all of our marginalized communities.”

The city of Wilton Manors has become known as an LGBT hub and one of the gayest cities in the U.S. with an all-gay city commission comprised of Mayor Justin S. Flippen, Vice Mayor Tom Green, and commissioners Gary Resnick, Julie A. Carson, and Paul Rolli.

Honoree Deutch represents Florida’s 22nd district in the House of Representatives, which is home to communities in Palm Beach County and Broward County, representing a significant portion of South Florida’s LGBT community.

While serving in the Florida State Senate in 2008, he helped to pass an employment non-discrimination bill through a committee for the first time in the state’s history. He currently serves as a vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and is chair of the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force. Deutch has a history of supporting other LGBT rights and policy issues as well. 

Other Trailblazers

Honorees Peace and King are openly transgender service members who were two of the panelists testifying during a congressional hearing on open trans-military service in February. 

Wilson is the founder and former president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, based in Los Angeles. He previously served as AIDS coordinator for the city of Los Angeles and was the director of policy and planning at theAIDS Project Los Angeles, among a long history of work in the LGBT and AIDS communities.

Tickets are $250. Visit DiversityHonors.com for more information. More about the Harvey Milk Foundation can be found at MilkFoundation.org and The Pride Center can be found at PrideCenterFlorida.org.

 

While serving in the Florida State Senate in 2008, he helped to pass an employment non-discrimination bill through a committee for the first time in the state’s history. He currently serves as a vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and is chair of the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force. Deutch has a history of supporting other LGBT rights and policy issues as well.

 


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