A religious leader and republican are two of four people who will receive recognition for their efforts in support of the LGBT community at the third annual Luminary Awards.
The South Florida LGBT advocacy group SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone) will be holding a reception to honor these young leaders on August 20 at the Bacardi headquarter building in Coral Gables from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., celebrating their accomplishments.
“We wanted to select people doing things out of the ordinary, not simply sitting on a board or part of a committee,” said Tony Lima, the Executive Director of SAVE. “They’re becoming champions and heroes for the equality movement.”
Lima said the event is unique in that the recipient doesn’t need to identify as LGBT. In fact, he said thinks only one of the honorees actually identifies as LGBT and the rest identify as straight.
“We’re not looking for LGBTQ people or gay people,” he said. “We’re looking for people advocating as a whole. All that matters is you’re doing the work and putting your heart behind the work.”
The event, which presales at $60 a ticket, will be a “sleek and very fun and relaxed cocktail party,” Lima said. There will be time to mingle and connect and a short program to honor each of the Luminaries.
The recipients are A.J. Blechner, Father Grey Maggiano, Jessica Fernandez and Nadege Green.
Blechner is being awarded a Luminary for his volunteering with SAVE, canvassing, phone banking, training canvassers and assisting with quality control, according to the press release. He has worked with organizations such as Mass Equality and Long Island Gay and is part of the University of Miami School of Law.
Father Grey Maggiano is the Associate Rector at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Miami. He has spoken in support of trans equality and advocated on various levels for marriage equality.
“He has been an amazing ally for SAVE and the LGBTQ community, especially in being inclusive in all of their programming,” Lima said.
Jessica Fernandez, the president of the Miami-Dad Young Republicans, has worked to advocate for human rights. She was a member of the Log Cabin Republicans of Miami here she lobbied on issues of workplace, marriage and social equality.
Nadege Green is being awarded for coverage of the developments in the local LGBT equality movement. She is an award-winning journalist and producer for the Miami Herald and WLRN.
“She’s really spectacular ally of the community, telling stories that focus on the life of transgender people, the need for equal rights for all and really touching on queer issues as a whole,” Lima said.
Lima said marriage equality was just the tip of the iceberg, and now there are many more issues still to focus on dealing with discrimination.
“We need to really highlight the people at the forefront,” he said. “We want to highlight the young people that will continue to do amazing things throughout the trajectory of their careers.”
To buy tickets, go to SAVE.lgbt/luminaries.