Four South Floridians who have helped build bridges in the LGBT community will be honored at the sixth annual 4Ward Gala and Pa’Lante Awards on Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., in Coral Gables.

The event, an exclusive fundraiser for 4Ward Miami that promotes diversity and inclusion, is also recognizing the awardees for their dedication to the movement, Movimiento San Isidro, which amplifies the voices inside Cuba that remain silenced by its military regime.

“While we work to bring the many different parts of South Florida together for [the Gay8 Festival] — one day of extraordinary live music, food, art, entertainment and family fun — this year we will be highlighting the Movimiento San Isidro and amplifying all the voices inside Cuba seeking freedom,” said Damian Pardo, CEO of the Gay8 Festival — the largest diversity and inclusion festival in the nation, produced by 4Ward Miami, with more than 80,000 attendees.

This year’s honorees at the 4Ward Gala and Pa’Lante Awards include: Leroy Jones, executive director of Neighbors and Neighbors Association and lead organizer for the Circle of Brotherhood; Judge Victoria Sigler, elected the first openly gay judge in Florida 1994 and appointed to President Bill Clinton’s LGBT policy issues committee; Rosa Maria Paya Acevedo, founder of the citizen platform Cuba Decide and named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women by “People Magazine en Español”; and Grecia Ordonez, an activist for Cuban Liberation, who uses her platforms in support of the Cuban people and political prisoners.

Pardo said this year’s gala and awards, now more than ever, highlight the importance of freedom, democracy and civil rights for “all those voices in Cuba that have no voice without us on the outside of a brutal communist and totalitarian system that denies its citizens their most basic human rights.”

“This year’s festival is dedicated to those fighting in and outside Cuba and to the many divided families and those before them that have experienced so much pain and suffering for over 62 years,” Pardo added. “Gay Ocho has always advocated for those experiencing repression of any kind, including people in countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua and including domestic struggles on race and justice … Please join us for our gala and awards, which celebrate diversity and inclusion, and network with Miami’s finest at the classic Biltmore Hotel.”

Vendors interested in showcasing their products, services or brands at the Gay8 Festival can reserve a booth now at Pardo said vendors’ contributions will help support the production of the Gay8 Festival, the 4Ward Miami Gala and the 4Ward Miami show, all of which are projects that work exclusively on diversity and inclusion. 

Through its year-round programming, 4Ward Miami and the Gay8 Festival promote community engagement and human rights, as well as cultural arts and programs.  

PRIVATE SPONSOR LEVELS: Table Sponsors, $1,500; Silver, $2,500; Gold, $5,000; Platinum, $10,000. Contributions are 100 percent deductible and all funds stay in the local community. 

To purchase tickets to the 4Ward Gala and Pa’lante Awards, go to For more information on 4Ward Miami or Gay8, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courtesy of Miami Gay News.