San Diego LGBT advocate Billy Kelly to be honored at SDHDF’s 2017 Aston-Brooks Awards Gala, April 29Breaking News, Entertainment News, Section 4A, Top Highlights Friday, February 17th, 2017
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) today announced the date for the 3rd Annual Aston-Brooks Gala for Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa.
This vibrant fundraiser is a black-tie event where guests will enjoy a hosted cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, cabaret show, live VIP entertainment and an awards ceremony. Tickets are now available via http://www.astonbrooks.org
Being honored with the 2017 Richard Geyser Community Leadership Award is San Diego LGBT senior rights and services advocate, William “Bill” Kelly.
This award, named for the founding board president of San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, recognizes a San Diego resident who has contributed significantly to LGBT and/or HIV causes within San Diego County.
As an advocate, Kelly, with the assistance of Dr. Delores Jacobs, executive director of The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center), quickly realized the needs of the elderly population. With the support of Dr. Jacobs he assembled an ad hoc committee of like-minded advocates in the community. This led to a professional LGBT senior needs assessment guided by Dr. Jacobs, Dr. Jim Zians and the committee which highlighted the gaps in services in the LGBT community. Since then, Kelly has also served as chair of the San Diego Senior Affairs Advisory Board and has been inducted into the Benjamin F. Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor. Kelly continues his advocacy work as a published journalist and public speaker and is one of six San Diego seniors featured in a six-segment KPBS documentary, “Re’flect”, about successful aging in San Diego. His work was featured on the front page of the Jan. 10 edition of The San Diego Union Tribune.
Currently participating with Senior Stay or Go TV to to air five live panel discussions on Time Warner Cable, Channel 4, concerning affordable housing for seniors, he continues to give interviews to local media and collaborates with local organizations and government officials to address affordable housing needs.
As a consultant for The Center, he is assisting with disseminating information to the community related to Community HousingWorks’ new North Park Senior Apartments, currently under construction as San Diego’s first 76-unit LGBT-affirming senior community. The Center is slated to provide some services and programs to the residents of this housing.
Joining the cause, as featured VIP entertainer, is 2-Time SAG Award Winning actress, comedian and jazz musician, Lea DeLaria ( Orange is the New Black). This triple threat is known for breaking ground as the first openly lesbian entertainer to appear on television, her SAG Award winning, stand-out role as ‘Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black’, in the Netflix hit series Orange is the New Black; and her jazz virtuosity, most recently on her 6th album, House Of David: delaria+bowie=jazz (Summer, 2015), a tribute to the late, great gender-fluid icon, David Bowie. Lea was the featured vocalist at the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, and has performed in some of the most prestigious houses in the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Chicago Symphony, Hollywood Bowl, The Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
The presenting sponsor for the 2017 event is The La Pietra Foundation. In addition to being the lead sponsor on the Aston-Brooks Gala, La- Pietra has supported initiatives including PFLAG scholarships for LGBT students, seniors’ services and health care for lesbians.
The awards ceremony will honor three individuals making a difference here in San Diego and across the globe. The awards are named to carry on the legacy of the following:
- Lincoln Aston Public Service Award: Named for the San Diego developer and philanthropist whose murder led to the establishment of The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, the award honors a public figure who uses their celebrity or status to increase awareness of LGBT issues and encourage equality. Past awardees include George Takei (2014), actor and activist, in recognition of the use of his humor and talent to advocate LGBT and human rights, and Wilson Cruz, who portrayed prime-time television’s first LGBT youth as Ricky Vasquez, on My So-Called Life. This year, Sen. Barbara Boxer will be recognized for her legislative support of LGBT rights, notably her opposition of the Defense of Marriage act and her c-sponsorship of the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded the federal definition of “hate crimes” to include crimes based on the victim’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Sunshine Brooks HIV/AIDS Advocacy Award: Honored for the memory and life of this generous philanthropist whose multimillion dollar legacy gift has benefitted HIV/AIDS charities in San Diego County for the last decade, the award recognizes an individual whose efforts have improved the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. In 2014 Cleve Jones, founder of the NAMES Project and the AIDS Quilt, whose passionate messages have moved millions to action, received this award. In 2015, Bishop Carl Bean, singer of the disco hit “Born This Way”, and the founding prelate of the Unity Fellowship Church Movement. This year’s awardee, Jeanne White-Ginder, has been responsible for advocating for billions of dollars in funding for the most vulnerable HIV-infected individuals through the funding source that bears her son’s name.
- The Richard Geyser Community Leadership Award: This award bears the name of the Founding President of the Board for San Diego Human Dignity Foundation who was also a champion for ethics in community service. In 2014 Maureen Steiner, board president of San Diego Lambda Archives, received this award in honor of her tireless efforts to document and store the history of the LGBT Community in San Diego, which has garnered national and international praise. The 2015 award was presented posthumously to Kurt Cunningham, who dedicated his life to HIV, LGBT youth and mental health services in San Diego County, with the accompanying grant supporting access to mental health services at The San Diego LGBT Community Center. This year, veteran and senior’s rights advocate William “Bill” Kelly will be honored for his years of service to the San Diego LGBT community, which most recently has culminated into an expansion of LGBT-sensitive senior housing,
Each of the awards carry include a grant from The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation to the LGBT/HIV charity chosen by the award recipient. The charities selected will be announced at the Aston-Brooks Awards Gala on April 29.
Proceeds benefit the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, one of the nation’s largest LGBT Community Foundations benefiting San Diego’s LGBTQ community and celebrating 20 years in San Diego. On the foundation’s twentieth year, it is proud to report that they have provided nearly $5 million in funding to 200 non-profit organizations, since its founding in 1996.
EVENT DETAILS AT A GLANCE
Aston-Brooks Awards Gala 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa
1775 E. Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Ticket and table purchases are now available
Tickets are $250 each.
Sponsorship opportunities, volunteer information and more are available by contacting Anna Leyrer, Events Coordinator at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting sdhdf.org
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