(WM) The LGBT Center Orlando will celebrate local LGBT leaders and businesses during its 8th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast and Awards on May 20.
The event is in honor of the Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California. Despite a short political career due to his assassination, the event acknowledges the legacy he left and how, 42 years later, he is still one of the most important figures in human rights history.
“LGBTQ history is really important,” The Center’s Executive Director George Wallace says. “I love using Milk’s name as a catalyst for education and not only that, but this is a fun event. We get to acknowledge local heroes and champions.”
The award for LGBT ally will go to Congressman Darren Soto.
“He has been a really outspoken representative as far as LGBT rights are concerned,” Wallace says. “He does at least three LGBT round tables each year where he invites members from the community in and really wants to work with us as well as his own passion for LGBT legislation.”
The Trailblazer Orlando award will go Marco Quiroga, program director of The Contigo Fund.
“He’s done a lot of work with undocumented migrants,” Wallace says. “He works for Our Fund, which oversees The Contigo Fund, and it was created following the Pulse tragedy. He works very extensively in the QLatinx community.”
The award for Trailblazer Kissimmee will go to Jeremy Lanier, President of Downtown Business Association Kissimmee.
“He is a mainstay in Kissimmee and has been with us throughout the whole process of moving offices,” Wallace says. “He has been a wonderful advocate in promoting The Center in Kissimmee and making sure that all of the merchants in the area are aware that we are there and what we are doing.”
The Champion for Equality award will go to state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani.
“When you go to her website, she prominently wears her Orlando ribbon,” Wallace says. “I think that that is so impactful that when people see that, they know she is an ally and she is also visible in our community. She is always speaking on our behalf and is a true champion of equality.”
The award for the Harvey Milk Business Award will go to the LGBT nightclub, SAVOY.
“SAVOY is one of our longtime partners,” Wallace says. “It’s been eight years and they have been wonderful. They host fundraisers for the Center. The owner had his birthday party and all of his proceeds, he donated back to The Center. They open their space not just for The Center but for any LGBT organization without hesitation.”
The Lifetime Achievement award will go to the Orlando Gay Chorus.
“The Orlando Gay Chorus, at the end of the day, is a grassroots organization that is vital to the community,” Wallace says. “It’s their 30th anniversary, which is a pretty big milestone for an organization of their size, so we are acknowledging them with a lifetime achievement award.”
The 8th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast and Awards will take place at the Oscar Wilde Ballroom at the Sheraton North in Maitland May 20 starting at 7:30 a.m. Tickets are $60 for general admission and VIP is $100. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.