21st Annual National LGBTQ Task Force Gala

Miami Celebration Shines Bright with Stars, Celebrities and Generous Donors

Over 600 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocates, allies and supporters attended this year’s National LGBTQ Task Force Gala – Miami, featuring the iconic artist Gloria Estefan at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Presented by Wells Fargo, the annual awards dinner honors local and national leaders for their significant contributions to advancing full equality for LGBTQ people. Sponsors and attendees helped raise over $550,000 to support South Florida organizations providing direct services to LGBTQ people as well as the National LGBTQ Task Force’s advocacy and organizing work.

Twenty-six-time Grammy Award winner Gloria Estefan was presented with the National Leadership Award for her work to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and the issues that affect their lives every day. As an outspoken activist around racial and economic justice, immigration equality and marriage equality, Ms. Estefan has been an ally to the LGBTQ community through her partnership with the It Gets Better Project. Most recently, Ms. Estefan, along with her husband, Emilio, produced an LGBT-themed movie titled “A Change of Heart,” which premiered at the OUTshine Film Festival in Miami. Estefan spoke to the heart of LGBTQ equality, saying, “People should have the right to love who they want.”

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey kicked off the evening by spotlighting the recent moves of the Trump administration to limit LGBTQ rights and asking attendees to ensure that the movement for full equality and justice for LGBTQ people progresses. Carey noted that just this week the Trump Department of Justice issued new guidance that allows discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“Now is the time for our community to pull together and support the movement to achieve equality,” said Carey. “We all have a role to play, in bearing witness, in resisting, in standing with others who are different from us. Acts of bravery, of moral fortitude, of protest, of empathy and compassion – acts large and small, they all count. Yes, we all have our work cut out for us, and it will take time. But, I know this – we will win.”

Longtime South Florida activists and philanthropists Alberto Arias and Wood Kinnard received the 2017 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award. Community leader Josue Santiago served as Chair of the Gala this year. Broadway star Andrea Burns emceed the event and entertained the crowd, closing the event with a mash-up of “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Just the Way You Are” in dedication to Gloria Estefan.

In addition to presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, this year’s gala sponsors included Everlast Productions, Alberto Arias & Wood Kinnard, Carnival Foundation, Stonewall Community Foundation’s James G. Pepper Fund, Jim Tyrrell and Roger Thomson, The Knight Foundation, Liebe and Seth Gadinsky, Morgan Stanley, Bacardi, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and American Airlines.

Photos courtesy of Juan Saco Mironoff and Sergio Camero

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