by Tana Michaels
Outstanding members of Saginaw and Bay City’s gay community will be honored at the Perceptions-sponsored 4th annual Saginaw Valley LGBT Pride Awards Banquet at 6 p.m. on June 26 at Saginaw’s Andersen Enrichment Center. Perceptions Saginaw Valley is a Tri-City LGBT organization.
The event will include a reception with wine and appetizers, followed by dinner and the award presentations.
Michelle Brown, a Detroit based speaker, author and activist will be the keynote speaker for the evening. Brown will deliver a speech entitled, “The Road to Equality Begins at the Intersection of Social Justice and LGBT Equality.”
Several honorees will be recognized for their service to the LGBT community in the Saginaw area.
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been earned by Barbara Klimaszewski, a Saginaw Criminal and Civil Rights Attorney, who has been active in the community for over 35 years. When members of the LGBT community had no one to stand up for them, Klimaszewski provided representation. In 1976 she began the Underground Railroad, a place where battered women and their children could escape. Its formation marked the first free standing, emergency women’s shelter in Michigan. She serves as an advisor on Perceptions’ board. She is also a member of ACLU and the Criminal Defense Association of Michigan. She has worked hard throughout her career for equality and civil rights.
Leo Romo will be honored with a Pride Award. Romo is a tireless activist, often visiting Lansing and other areas to champion LGBT causes. He’s an organizer, advisor, educator and friend to many in the community. He is the current chairman of PFLAG Tri-Cities and belongs to countless other LGBT organizations. Romo served on the board of Perceptions Saginaw Valley for many years where he remains an advisor. He was the creator of the Pride Awards banquet and served as its chairman for three years.
Tana Michaels will also be given a Pride Award for her contributions in music and journalism. Michaels, a singer/guitar player and journalist, has donated her time and talent to many LGBT causes including 2009 Respect Fest, 2011 & 2012 Saginaw Pride Fests, Perceptions Wine Tasting event and others. She is the former editor of Perceptions Newsletter, and a regular contributor to Between The Lines.
The 2012 Class of Mt Pleasant’s Sacred Heart Academy will receive a Pride Award for launching a campaign to let gay alumnus, Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, speak at graduation. Unsuccessful in their campaign, they organized an inclusive graduation event, “Live Through Love,” where Sheahan-Stahl delivered his speech to the graduating class and approximately 800 community members.
The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe owner (locations in Saginaw and Midland,) Carrie Fischer, will take home one of the two business awards presented this year for her sweet donation of cupcakes and cookies to community events including, but not limited to, the Chocolate Party and Friday night dinners. Carrie’s blog features pro-equality promotions of “The Laramie Project” at MCFTA and photos of same-sex wedding cake toppers.
The second business award will be presented to Eric Philips, owner of The Court Street Cafe, for his unending support of the LGBT community by donating restaurant space for meetings and Friday night dinners. The Court Street Cafe will also be a vendor at this year’s Pride Fest.
The 2012 Political Award will be awarded to Kyle Bostwick who, from his post as treasurer for the Saginaw Democratic Party and as the Legislative Aide for Rep. Charlie Brunner, works to further equality and civil rights for all people. He is a great example and role model to other young individuals who aspire to a career in politics.
Seating is limited. Tickets, $25 per person, $15 for students and low income, can be purchased at http://www.perceptionssv.org, or by calling 989-891-1429. Saginaw Valley LGBT Pride Awards Banquet 6 p.m. June 26
Andersen Enrichment Center, Saginaw http://www.perceptionssv.org.