Phill Wilson and Rev. Troy Perry to be honored at Harvey Milk Diversity BreakfastAround the City, Editorial, Online Only, Top Highlights Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego LGBT Community Center has announced the seventh annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will take place Thursday, May 21, at the San Diego Bayfront Hilton. As a featured part of the event, The Center will honor two amazing leaders, Phill Wilson and Rev. Troy Perry, presenting each of them with the Harvey Milk Lifetime Achievement Award.
Now in its seventh year, the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast began as the vision of Nicole Murray Ramirez, Robert Gleason, Dr. Delores Jacobs and the San Diego LGBT Community Center, and an amazing coalition of civic and business leaders. The event is designed to bring together more than 1,000 diverse San Diegans, business, labor, Democrats, Republicans, all communities, all ages – in fact, all San Diegans who support equality and justice – to celebrate the memory of this influential civil rights activist. Information about the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast is available online at www.facebook.com/harvey.milk.diversity.breakfast. Tickets are available online at http://events.thecentersd.org/hmdb.
Phill Wilson is president and chief executive officer of the Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. Since its founding in 1999, the Institute’s mission has been to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. The Institute interprets public and private sector HIV policies, conducts trainings, offers technical assistance, disseminates information and provides advocacy from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.
Prior to founding the Institute, Wilson served as the AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles, the Director of Policy and Planning at AIDS Project Los Angeles, co-chaired the Los Angeles County HIV Health Commission, appointee to the HRSA AIDS Advisory Committee, and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Wilson was also the coordinator of the International Community Treatment and Science Workshop at the International AIDS Conferences in Geneva, Durban, Barcelona, Bangkok, Toronto, and Washington, DC.
In addition to co-founding the National Black Lesbian & Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention, he was involved in the founding of Chris Brownlie Hospice, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, National Minority AIDS Council, Los Angeles County Gay Men of Color Consortium and CAEAR Coalition.
Wilson was a member of the US delegation to the 1994 World AIDS Summit in Paris, and has worked extensively on HIV/AIDS policy, research, prevention, and treatment issues in more than a dozen different countries.
Wilson is a recipient of the Delta Spirit Award from the Los Angeles Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.. He was awarded the Discovery Health Channel Medical Honor and was named by Black Entertainment Television (BET) one of the “Black History Makers in the Making.”
As founder of the predominantly-gay Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), Rev. Troy Perry has watched the membership grow from 12 to over 43,000 during the past 38 years and has guided MCC’s growth into one of the world’s largest LGBT organizations.
Rev. Perry, along with Mr. Morris Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries, founded Christopher Street West to hold an annual Pride Parade, the oldest in the world. Rev. Perry was the first openly gay person to serve on the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. He has been honored by the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter, the Gay Press Association and numerous civic, religious and other organizations from all over the world.
Rev. Perry was invited to the White House by the administration of President Jimmy Carter to discuss gay and lesbian civil rights, and was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton as an official delegate to White House Conference on Hate Crimes and the White House Conference on AIDS. President Barack Obama invited him to the White House in 2009 for the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Rev. Perry performed the first public same-sex wedding in the U.S., and filed the first-ever lawsuit seeking legal recognition for same-gender marriages. In 2003, he and his spouse, Philip Ray De Blieck, were married under Canadian law. In 2004, they filed suit against the State of California seeking the state’s recognition of their Canadian marriage. On June 16, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled in their favor.
In addition to his work as a gay religious leader and human rights activist, Rev. Perry has authored an autobiography, “The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay,” and a sequel titled “Don’t Be Afraid Anymore,” published by St. Martin’s Press. His most recent book is “10 Spiritual Truths For Gays and Lesbians* (*and everyone else!).”
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