Equality Virginia Dinner Draws Crowd from across State
Saturday night’s festivities brought 100 from Hampton Roads, 150 from Northern Virginia, 100 from Western Virginia, and 600 from Central Virginia together to celebrate Equality Virginia 20th Anniversary. The organization formed in 1989 as Virginians for Justice and has since evolved into the state’s leading non-partisan advocacy organization for GLBTs.
A cocktail reception prior to the dinner featured a silent auction of artwork, goods, and services. The Richmond Men’s Chorus joined forces with the Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus to kick off the evening’s festivities with a rendition of “We Are A Family” from Dreamgirls.
Cheers were heard throughout the crowd during Dinner Co-Chair Jean Segner’s opening remarks mentioning the major Supreme Court victory in Iowa. She thanked the audience for coming to the dinner despite the current economic climate.
A video paid tribute to 20 OUTstanding Virginians – GLBTs that have led the path to today: Rita Mae Brown, Clarence Caine, Meg Christian, Marge Connelly, Adam Ebbin, Jay Fisette, Billy Haines, Claus Ihlemann, Jon Klein, Romayne Elizabeth “Beth” Marschak, Lucy Randolph Mason, Diane Schroer, Tony Segura, Marsh Harris, Shep Shepherd, Norma Janet Hofheimer, Wanda Sykes, Tracy Thoene-Begland, Lawrence Webb, Mell White, Gary Nixon, Charles H. Whitebread, and Bob Witeck. Those in attendance were recognized onstage.
While the evening celebrated the two-decade journey by highlighting acheivements, it didn’t go on without mentioning the battles still to be won and the road ahead. New CEO Jon Blair briefly outlined EV’s current strategy’s and a roadmap for the next few years.
Comedian Leslie Jordan, who portrayed Beverly Leslie on “Will & Grace,” had the audience roaring with laughter. He told stories of growing up fantasizing about the captain of the football team and the president of the Bible club. He also shared stories from Hollywood of trying to butch things for a television role and failing desperately because he was the gayest man he knew.
The festivities wrapped up with a dance. Yes, there was the Electric Slide.
From national protests to grassroots activism, EV’s Day of Action connects local LGBTQ advocates and citizens with legislators on 2/7
“We have reached the point of changing hearts and minds.”February 2, 2017
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