LGBT CAUCUS CELEBRATES JUNE 2012 AS LGBT PRIDE MONTH AND HONORS OUTSTANDING LGBT CALIFORNIANS
SACRAMENTO - The California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus celebrated June 2012 as LGBT Pride Month with the adoption of House Resolution 29 at today’s Assembly Floor Session. As part of the floor ceremony, the LGBT Caucus honored seven individuals and two organizations with the 2012 LGBT Pride Recognition Awards in appreciation of their extraordinary accomplishments in their respective field of endeavors and outstanding leadership and activism to promote equal rights for LGBT Californians.
“Today, we recognized organizations and individuals who are making a difference in California and our nation,” said Assemblymember Rich Gordon, Chair of the LGBT Caucus. “The threads of the lives we recognize today, in fact the threads of the lives of all LGBT people, make the fabric of our communities stronger. When we embrace the diversity of our people, we weave a whole cloth which brings us unity,” added Gordon.
The honorees include:
· Dustin Lance Black - Award-winning screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist.
· Raquel Castaneda - Television personality; community leader, and philanthropist.
· Gloria Johnson - Nationally-recognized activist on behalf of the LGBT community, feminist issues and Democratic politics
· Stan Kiino – National Co-President of Pride @ Work AFL-CIO.
· Latino Equality Alliance / La Alianza Latina por la Igualdad (LEA) - Broad-based coalition made up of organizations serving LGBT Latino populations, ally organizations and individuals.
· Charles McKain (Posthumous) – Long-time Democratic leader and organizer for local, state, and national candidates and organizations.
· San Francisco Police Officer’s Pride Alliance - Represents openly-LGBT employees of the San Francisco Police Department
· Sara Shortt - Executive Director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.
· Rev. Janice Steele - Founder and Pastor of Imani Community United Church of Christ in midtown Sacramento.
The individual biographies of today’s honorees are found below.
The California Legislative LGBT Caucus was originally formed in June 2002. The role of the Caucus is to present a forum for the California Legislature to discuss issues that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Californians and to further the goal of equality and justice for all Californians. Formation of the LGBT Caucus made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators. The Members of the Caucus are: Assemblymember Rich Gordon, the Caucus Chair; Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez; Senators Christine Kehoe and Mark Leno; and, Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, Toni Atkins, and Ricardo Lara.
BIOGRAPHIES OF 2012 LGBT HONOREES
DUSTIN LANCE BLACK
Dustin Lance Black is an award-winning screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the television series Big Love and an Academy Award® and Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for MILK, the biopic of the late gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk starring fellow Academy Award®-winner Sean Penn. Beyond his film work, Black is also a civil rights activist. He is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which is leading the California federal case against Prop. 8 with lawyers David Boise and Ted Olson, and is on the Board of the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ teen suicide hotline providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. Black has had two books published, has written for every major screenwriting magazine, contributes to The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post, topped the list of OUT Magazine´s 40 under 40, and has repeatedly been named one of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in America today by that same publication.
Raquel Castaneda is an accomplished beauty expert and make-up artist to the stars including P. Diddy, Paris Hilton, Heather Locklear, and OutKast, to name a few. She was featured in the first season of Showtime Network’s Real L Word Los Angeles. She has also appeared as a beauty and fashion expert for television shows on the E Network, KTLA, Style Network, and TLC. Ms. Castaneda is actively involved in various non-profit organizations that provide health and human services, leadership mentoring programs, and promote community involvement and LGBT equality. She recently hosted the 12th Annual Girls Today Women Tomorrow Fashion Show, a fundraising event in support of the inspirational mentorship program that gives young ladies of today with opportunities to achieve future success as leaders of their communities.
Gloria Johnson’s lifework embodies the fundamental American principle of service to community. For more than 40 years, she has been an active and visible supporter of progressive causes on the local, state, and national levels. In 1970, as a San Diego County employee who recognized the need for worker solidarity, Ms. Johnson joined the SEIU and went on to lifelong advocacy for union rights. During that decade, she also came out as a lesbian and since then has dedicated much of her volunteerism to the pursuit of LGBT equality and the promotion of LGBT-friendly policies. In addition, 40 years ago, motivated by her strong endorsement of feminist ideals, she joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) and was instrumental in making lesbian rights a NOW priority.
Stan is the son of Nisei parents, and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1972. He wanted to see the world, so Stan landed a position as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways in 1973. Through the collective bargaining process, flight attendant/airline safety professional jobs became careers. Transferring to San Francisco from New York with Pan Am and then joining United and the Association of Flight Attendants in 1986 led to Stan’s involvement in the struggle for domestic partner benefits. Connecting with the local Pride at Work Chapter, Stan and his fellow flight attendants organized and joined the Pride at Work campaign, a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO. They establish mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice. Stan has served as a Pride at Work National Executive Board Member and was voted into one of the National Co-President positions in 2009. His present term has been marked with strong alliance building both within the Labor Community as well as the community as a whole. He also works with various Labor Councils, and is part of the AFA-CWA Government Affairs Committee.
Latino Equality Alliance / La Alianza Latina por la Igualdad (LEA)
Established in November 2008 as a response to the passing of California's Proposition 8, the Latino Equality Alliance is a broad-based coalition of organizations serving LGBT Latino populations, ally groups and individuals deeply rooted in both the LGBT and Latino communities. LEA is active in promoting community activism and awareness throughout L.A. County, especially in Southeast Los Angeles, including Boyle heights. Its mission is to promote liberty, equality, and justice for the Latino LGBTQ community.
With the LGBT Latino community largely living in Latino communities that might not yet be as LGBT-supportive compared to other geographic areas, one of its major goals is to transform Latino communities into permanent allies in the LGBT community’s quest for social justice and full civil rights. LEA is also committed to engaging the larger LGBT community about Latino issues and needs. LEA believes that an investment in LGBT Latino leadership and advocacy is an investment that benefits the entire Gay and Latino community, as LGBT Latinos are the cultural and human bridge that connects these two fast-growing and increasingly influential communities. LEA has the following three interweaving priority issues: Marriage Equality, LGBT inclusive Immigration Reform and Family Acceptance.
CHARLES McKAIN (Posthumous)
Charles McKain was born and raised in San Diego and graduated from Hoover High School, Stanford University, and UCLA School of Law. Since 1968, Charles McKain has been a Democratic volunteer, financial contributor and fundraising organizer for local, state, and national candidates. In 1980, Charles McKain was among the first openly gay individuals elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention; he served as well during the 1992, 1996 and 2000 conventions. As the head of an ad hoc coalition of LGBT organizations in 1990, he was instrumental in helping craft the boundary lines for San Diego’s LGBT-friendly Third City Council District – producing prominent leaders including Christine Kehoe, Toni Atkins, and Todd Gloria. McKain served in various capacities for numerous community-based and political organizations. He worked as a staff attorney for California’s 4th District Court of Appeal. In 1989, McKain was honored with the San Diego Democratic Club Political Action Award, the club’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, and the Henry Auerbach Democrat of the Year Award from the San Diego County Democratic Party in 1994. The San Diego City Council declared July 8, 2008 as “Charles McKain Day.” He died at the age of 65, of posterior cortical atrophy, on March 17, 2012 at Kaiser Foundation Hospital. Mr. McKain is survived by his husband, Robert McWilliams of Ocean Beach, whom he legally married in June 2008 after more than 30 years together. He is also survived by his sister Charlyne McKain of Ocean Beach.
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE OFFICER’S PRIDE ALLIANCE
The San Francisco Police Officer's Pride Alliance represents openly LGBT employees of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The Pride Alliance is San Francisco’s second largest police organization following the Police Officer's Association. The group represents its members in employment-related matters and is influential in local law enforcement administration. As one of the largest out and active Police Officer associations in the country, the Pride Alliance gives a face to all LGBT officers across the nation who cannot be open with their identity. Members are comprised of both sworn and civilian employees, including Police Officers, Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains, Commanders and Deputy Chiefs. Pride Alliance members are active in the community and departmental activities. They offer a college scholarship in honor of Jon C. Cook, an officer who was the first LGBT officer to die in the line of duty. Recently, the Pride Alliance was instrumental in getting SFPD to be the first law enforcement agency in the nation to film an "It Gets Better Video" - (http://youtu.be/6RMunYfzlGs).
Sara Shortt is the Executive Director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco (HRCSF), a community-based, non-profit, tenant’s rights organization. As Executive Director, Sara has expanded HRCSF’s scope of work to address issues faced by residents of public housing and section 8 renters. Sara has nearly 20 years’ experience in community organizing, policy advocacy, non-profit development and program work. She has a Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree from San Francisco State University and has lived in San Francisco for 14 years, in great part because of the large LGBT community and its history of LGBT activism. Sara is an out Lesbian who has worked for many LGBT causes. She previously served on the board of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and has worked diligently over the years to support the elections of openly-LGBT officials.
REVEREND JANICE STEELE
Rev. Janice Steele is the Founder and Pastor of Imani Community United Church of Christ (UCC), a Midtown Sacramento congregation. She served in numerous leadership roles with various faith and community-based organizations including the UCC of Northern California’s HIV/AIDS Ministry, the Vesper Society, City of Refuge UCC, the National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum, and the Zuna Institute. Pastor Janice is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and served as the Moderator for the Sacramento Valley Association of the United Church of Christ and on the Board of Directors for the California Council of Churches. . She currently serves as the Vice Moderator for the United Church of Christ Northern California/Nevada Conference. She lives with her life partner, Patrisha. Together, they continue to practice radical hospitality and spread the inclusive love of Christ through word, deed and song.