San Diego Pride Announces 2011 Award RecipientsOnline Only Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Each year, San Diego Pride recognizes select honorees for activism and support on behalf of the San Diego gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Today, the city’s LGBT Pride officials released the names of this year’s award recipients, who will be publicly honored at the Pride Spirit of Stonewall Rally and festival kick-off event in Balboa Park on July 15, 2011.
Larry Baza and R. Clarke Cooper are this year’s recipients of the Champions of Pride award. Baza is an arts administrator and long-time political activist who fought for Chicano rights and advocated against the Vietnam War while also working on behalf of the LGBT community. He is a current board member of the San Diego Democratic Club and several local LGBT groups, and owns the Noel-Baza Art Gallery in Little Italy with his partner of 27 years, Tom Noel.
Cooper is the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans and works closely with Republican members of congress to further the cause of LGBT equality. He is especially dedicated to ending DADT and promoting LGBT-friendly GOP political candidates across the country.
The Stonewall Service Award will go to the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In 2005, the group formed to raise funds for various charities across the city in keeping with the ideals established by the original Sisters in San Francisco in 1979. Dressed in nun’s habits and adorned with face paint, the Sisters promote safe sex education and serve groups like the Human Dignity Foundation and The Center’s youth and women’s services in an effort to, in the words of founding member Sister Hecate, “promulgate universal joy” and “expiate stigmatic guilt.”
Ron and Linda Sanders will receive this year’s Friends of the Year award for their combined efforts with the San Diego chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. As retired elementary school teachers, the Sanders’ have used their knowledge of the school system to better serve LGBT youth and educate the community about bullying, anti-discrimination and other safety and social issues affecting the LGBT community.
Mary Stockton is this year’s recipient of the Community Service Award for her work with the Diversionary Theater and the LGBT Community Center. She has been a highly successful fundraiser for both organizations, while also serving on the board for Stepping Stone, a service organization for young, at-risk LGBT women.
Finally, the late Michael G. Portantino will be honored with this year’s Special Recognition Award for his work as publisher at the Gay & Lesbian Times and his tireless political and community engagement. Portantino helped State Senator Christine Kehoe secure a landmark position with the San Diego City Council prior to her election to state office, and worked long hours as a community volunteer with Mama’s Kitchen. He also donated over $1 million in advertising to community groups in need.
All of the San Diego Pride award recipients will be recognized prior to the official festival, which runs July 16-17 and features headline entertainment on various stages in Balboa Park.
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