SAVE held its Luminaries award ceremony at the Bacardi Headquarters in Coral Gables on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Jonathon Barrios gave the first award to John Byrne, “founder and owner of a political news site, RawStory.com, recognized as a PrEP champion by the University of California, and he recently founded the non profit Prevention305, that raises awareness and access to PrEP, the once a day pill that prevents HIV. “
In the following months, Prevention305 will launch a digital campaign on dating platforms in South Florida in order to educate the LGBT community on the proper use of PrEP.
Jamie Guirola was unable to attend the award ceremony because he was in North Carolina reporting on the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence, however he was able to send in a video.
Guirola energetically exclaimed, “Hi everybody, I am in Wilmington, North Carolina and by the time you see this I will be in the middle of Hurricane Florence. It is an honor and a privilege, and I am humbled, to receive this luminary award from a great organization. It is ironic to me that somebody who was bullied and in the closet back in the day, back in high school, that today people consider me as a voice for equality – I can do my best to make sure that the LGBTQ community is represented on air and online at NBC 6.”
Tony Lima, the managing director at SAVE gave the next Luminary award to Charo Valero, the former SAVE Field director and now Florida State Policy Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Lima grins from ear to ear as he introduces Valero, “Charo Valero, is the iconic, quintessential Luminary, she is a beautiful person inside and out but with a very strong voice to advocate for the queer, the female identified, and the LGBTQ community as a whole. She continues to lift up the narratives of the people in the community that are in need.”
Over 5,000 votes were cast for the People’s choice Luminary award.
Jason Jenkins of the Miami Dolphins and Tony Lima presented the People’s Luminary Award to Patricia Hernandez, an immigration lawyer in Miami.
Hernandez upon receiving her award, started, “This is incredible, thank you to everyone who voted. I will continue to fight for undocumented immigrants.” She paused for a moment and then began again, “I was an undocumented immigrant, a long time ago, and I know how hard it is. And I will continue to fight for LGBTQ asylum seekers.”
The room exploded in cheers.
Then Kenny Stills, the Miami Dolphin’s wide receiver was awarded the Luminary Icon from SAVE.
Three years after the protests against police brutality began, players kneeling en masse have disappeared, but he is one of very few NFL players that continue to kneel during the National anthem.
Stills prepared a short speech, “I knew it was my time, I didn’t want to look back at this period in my life and regret not getting involved in activism, and letting people know this wasn’t okay.” Stills paused briefly. “Everyone deserves equality. Everyone deserves safety. Everyone deserves to be able to live their lives without fear, or hate or discrimination.”
The crowd of over 200 people roared in approval in unison.