(Column) The Dolphin Democrats, a leading voice for the LGBT community within and outside the Democratic Party of Broward County, held its 2018 Annual Awards Gala Oct. 21 at the Venue’s Crystal Ballroom in Wilton Manors.
Under this year’s theme, “United We Win,” the Gala brought together over 130 Democrats, including some of the county’s leading political figures. Though Dolphin President Scott Herman was unable to attend the Gala, the event was a huge success, thanks to the work of Gala organizers Steve Fuller, Alfredo Olvera, Justin Proffitt and other committee members. Dolphins hope the Gala energized the community in time for the November 7, mid-term elections.
Over dinner, the Dolphin Democrats gave out a variety of awards and listened to a rousing speech by State Rep. Shevrin Jones, who recently came out as a gay Black man. Dolphins Treasurer Adam Sabin was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Verna D. Johnson won the prestigious Jamie Bloodworth Leadership Award.
Activists and past Dolphin presidents Michael Albetta and Ron Mills shared the LGBT Pioneers Award and Emma Collum, who is running for the State Legislature, was honored as the Outstanding New Candidate. Tatiana Williams, founder of TransInclusive, won the first Bishop S.F. Makalani-Mahee Award for trans activism; the Pride Center won an award for Excellence in Community Service; and the Women’s March of Broward Chapter was honored as Partners in Equality.
Two major awards were given out towards the end of the dinner, during dessert.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis, a former president of the Dolphin Democrats, was given the club’s first Harvey Milk Award for LGBT activism. Congressman Ted Deutch was honored with the Outstanding Elected Official Award; but he was unable to attend to accept his award or give the Keynote Speech.
Instead, the speech was given by Deutch’s congressional colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz (a past award winner), who gave an amazing speech considering that she did not have much time to prepare it. All in all, the Gala was an amazing event which confirmed the Dolphin Democrats’ status as a leader in both Broward County’s Democratic Party and its LGBT community.