BY BTL STAFF
Equality Michigan recently announced the first two of four award recipients, this year’s Henry Messer Youth Activist Award winner, Aiden Ramirez-Tatum, and the Catalyst Award winner, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint).
Ramirez-Tatum has been a pro-equality advocate, was president of his high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and has worked to advance GSA organizing across Michigan through his work as a facilitator with the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health’s Building a Movement in Michigan GSA project. He has also served as a member of MOASH’s MY Voice Council to create safe and inclusive environments in sexual health clinics and health education classrooms.
Ramirez-Tatum is a member of the Michigan Department of Education’s HIV Materials Review Panel. He has been a leading advocate supporting the Michigan State Board of Education’s Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students and is currently attending the University of Michigan as a social work masters pre-admit and plans to work with at-risk LGBTQ youth.
“Equality Michigan is proud to honor Aiden for his incredible work and to hold him up as an example of what engaged young people can accomplish for our community and the fight for full equality,” said EQMI Executive Director Stephanie White.
Kildee has represented Michigan’s 5th Congressional District since 2013. During his time in office, he has been a pro-equality ally “second to none.” He serves as the Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and has championed the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections to LGBT Americans in employment, housing and public accommodations. He was a strong supporter of marriage equality and frequently spoke out against anti-LGBT rhetoric and legislation at the state and federal level. In addition, he has worked to advance a number of important pieces of pro-equality legislation in Congress including the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the Global Respect Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and the Restore Honor to Service Members Act.
“Congressman Dan Kildee has been a pro-equality champion in Washington, D.C. and in Michigan,” said White. “Equality Michigan is pleased to recognize his exemplary service to the LGBT community and to the state of Michigan. We can only hope that more policymakers at every level of government will look to Congressman Kildee as an example of what it truly means to be an ally to the LGBT community.”
EQMI will honor these award recipients at their annual reception on Dec. 2 where more than 200 people will come together for a powerhouse evening of political mingling, cocktails, fine cuisine, live entertainment, and a celebration of the achievements of the policymakers, businesses, and community activists who have helped make 2016 such a dynamic year of political battles for LGBTQ equality. The event, held at the DTE Headquarters in Detroit, will feature Grammy-nominated, Detroit-based producer Brandon Williams with his jazz trio. Tickets can be purchased online.