The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) will honor corporate and individual supporters of the local LGBT community at its 17th annual gala and awards celebration, The Ruby Gala, at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. 

The honorees were selected for their long-term commitment to fostering diversity, as well as for their efforts in contributing to the overall quality of life in South Florida. 

“Our annual gala is one of the most-anticipated events of the year for the LGBTQ and allied communities,” said Steve Adkins, MDGLCC president and CEO. “While at its core, the gala is all about networking, the social and camaraderie aspects of the event are undeniable.”

Among this year’s honorees is Vicki Brail, who has been serving the therapeutic, safety and functional needs of adults, children and members of the LGBT and allied communities for more than 45 years. Brail is being named the Regions Business Person of the Year. Roger Thomson, treasurer of the National LGBTQ Task Force, will be receiving the Morgan Stanley Bob Balsam Civic Achievement Award. 

The YES Institute is being named the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Non-Profit Organization of the Year; and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood will be receiving the AT&T Business of the Year Award, which is presented annually to organizations whose mission statement adheres to the highest standards in their outreach to the LGBT and allied community. Nominees must have been a Chamber member for at least two years, be active in the LGBT community and have non-discrimination (sexual orientation/ gender identity) language incorporated into their human resource policies. 

“In addition to its active involvement in the LGBTQ community through philanthropic sponsorships and support of community events...Seminole Hard Rock promotes diversity and inclusivity among its team members,” Adkins said. “[They] undergo diversity sensitivity training that promotes equality and acceptance among gender, sexual orientation, race, generation and more. Seminole Hard Rock’s LGBTQ-plus Alliance is comprised of a group of dedicated team members who spearhead and facilitate initiatives committed to promoting dialogue and fostering social change.”

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Staff of the ACLU receiving the "2017 Non-Profit of the Year" award.

Adkins says gala honors are given annually to individuals and organizations that embrace and embody the highest standards of diversity and inclusion of the LGBT and allied communities. The YES Institute’s mission, for example, is to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through communication and education on gender and orientation. 

“As the voice of the LGBTQ business community in Miami-Dade, the Chamber is especially proud to have such an accomplished and extraordinary group to recognize this year,” Adkins said. 

Following a tradition set four years ago, the MDGLCC Gala Committee selects a different color of the rainbow flag for the gala’s theme and elevates the status of that color by interpreting it in its gem stone complement. The 2018 “ruby” theme signifies love, health, wisdom and good fortune. The MDGLCC encourages guests to wear a splash of ruby to this year’s event. 

The Ruby Gala starts with a reception, silent auction and interactive pop-up displays, which will be followed by a grand buffet, the awards presentation and “Moonlight Networking.” The Pioneer Winter Collective will be the featured entertainment at the gala. Tickets are $2,000 for tables of 10 or $200 for individual tickets and include reserved seating, the grand buffet, an open bar, a VIP gift bag and participation in the drawing. Interactive Pop-Ups are $1,000 and include one admission to the event. 

Reservations are available online at or by calling 305-673-4440.