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DETROIT – Equality Michigan announced the winners of their annual Catalyst Awards Tuesday. The awards will be presented as a part of the organization’s State Equality Celebration Oct.27 at the Detroit Club in downtown Detroit. “Each of these leaders in our community is an inspiration and testament to the amazing potential of the gay and transgender activist communities,” said Emily Dievendorf, director of policy for Equality Michigan. “Equality Michigan is honored to have each of the recipients in the Equality Michigan family, working along side us to advance the rights of gay and transgender people in Michigan.”
The Catalyst Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond in service to Michigan’s gay and transgender communities.
The 2012 Catalyst Award recipients are:
U.S. Senator Carl Levin – Political Catalyst Award: Sen. Levin has played a vital role in the passage of recent LGBT inclusive legislation, including the Byrd/Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Over the past 30 years, Senator Levin has been a champion of LGBT communities.
State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer – Political Catalyst Award – Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer has spoken fiercely in favor of passage of LGBT friendly laws in Michigan. Her support in passing Michigan’s anti-bullying legislation made our success possible. Whitmer’s support of Equality Michigan’s work in Lansing has made a huge impact on preventing hostile pieces of legislation from gaining traction.
Wade Davis – Heather MacAllister Award – This award goes to a community activist who has made a long-term commitment not only to the LGBT movement, but our intersecting work in other movements. Since retiring from the NFL, Wade Davis has been an out and active member of our community. Davis works daily at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, home of Harvey Milk High School, and volunteering for a number of progressive causes in his limited free time. Wade has shown a real commitment to LGBT youth, racial equality, economic justice, education, and making sports safe and fun for all.
Katy Butler and Carson Borbely – Henry Messer Youth Activist Award – Katy and Carson are two Ann Arbor area high school students that made a huge impact on the world of anti-bullying efforts this past year. Not only were they active in getting Michigan’s anti-bullying legislation passed, they have both been active in Ann Arbor’s Riot Youth. Additionally, Katy traveled nationwide and successfully promoted her petition to have the MPAA rating on the film Bully changed to allow young people, especially in schools, greater access to the film.
Attendees will hear from award recipients, community leaders, members of the Equality Michigan family, and elected officials. Equality Michigan will also be providing updates on the state of gay and transgender equality in Michigan and announcing plans for the upcoming year.
The State Equality Celebration begins at 7 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the Detroit Club with a Host Reception taking place at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.equalitymi.org or by calling Equality Michigan at 313-537-7000 ext. 105.