Community advocates who work to further LGBT causes will be honored on Saturday evening by the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. The second annual Aston-Brooks Awards Gala raises funds to benefit the foundation, which event organizers said is the sole community foundation in the region dedicated to equal treatment, tolerance and well-being for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The three honorees of the evening include local advocate Kurt Cunningham, who will be awarded posthumously, Broadway star Wilson Cruz and Archbishop Rev. Carl Bean, who founded the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ in Los Angeles.
Cunningham was a local community activist who spent the better part of his adult life working to improve the lives of those in the LGBT and HIV communities in San Diego. The SDHDF said Cunningham advocated for mental health sensitivity and workplace/school training to create safe spaces for LGBT employees and students. He died in October.
Cruz played “Angel” on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical “Rent.” He is a national spokesperson for GLADD, a national LGBT media advocacy organization. Bean was the lead vocalist for the Alex Bradford Singers and founded his church in 1982 for LGBT African Americans.
Each of the awards includes a $5,000 grant from the SDHDF to the LGBT/HIV charity of the recipient’s choosing. The black-tie event will feature a cabaret show and entertainment by Broadway star Andrea McArdle. Since 1996, the SDHDF has raised more than $5 million in grants to address the needs of people living with HIV/ AIDS, according to the foundation.
The organization has also given more than $750,000 to more than 50 organizations. This year alone, four transgender San Diego teens have committed suicide, according to the SDHDF, which said it is working to raise funds and awareness for youth programs.
— City News Service
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