BY BTL STAFF
KALAMAZOO – Each year, the KGLRC has the honor of presenting outstanding community members awards at their annual Winter Gala.
“We know a lot of incredible, meaningful and intersectional work happens because of our community and it’s important to lift up and recognize those who are going above and beyond to make this world a better place,” said Jessica Hermann-Wilmarth, KGLRC board president.
Read more about this year’s recipients:
Retail Award presented to Bell’s Brewery
Bell’s Brewery is a prime example of a company that puts equality at the forefront of its business. Not only does Bell’s show up to Kalamazoo Pride and pride celebrations across the country, but they work hard every day to make sure they are brewing a safe and affirming environment for their employees, customers, and visitors.
Terry Kuseske Education Award presented to Denise Miller
Denise Miller has dedicated her life to being a life long activist, student, teacher, mentor, and social justice warrior. She is the cofounder of Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative where she implemented Creative Justice trainings and culinary classes and creative writing classes. Whether she is in the classroom or in a coffee shop, Denise is changing the education game with her persistent demands for intersectional equity.
Dr. Charles Warfield Ally Award presented to Kelly Doyle
Kelly Doyle currently serves as the executive director of CARES in Kalamazoo. Long before she stepped into that role, Kelly has been fighting for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, women, LGBTQ people, and marginalized folks in Kalamazoo and beyond. Kelly has made the lives of people in Kalamazoo better because of her dedication and commitment to equality and social justice. She has shown the LGBTQ+ community what a real ally looks like.
Community Award presented to Jay Kaplan
Jay Kaplan travels all over the state of Michigan in his role at ACLU of Michigan ensuring that LGBTQ+ folks are not only protected by also aware of their rights. He spends countless hours every week fighting for equality and fairness in our state. He drives hours to provide clear and concise facts about the legal landscape for LGBTQ+ Michiganders. Jay Kaplan is a champion for LGBTQ+ rights and we are lucky to have him fighting on our side. This state is better and stronger because of Jay Kaplan’s efforts.
Jim Knox Humanitarian Award presented to Anna Cushman
Anna Cushman (known by most as Cush) dedicated her entire life to fighting on the front lines for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and HIV care and decriminalization. She was an active volunteer for many organizations in Kalamazoo and served on the CARES board. The impact and influence of her efforts are undeniable. She changed many lives in the Kalamazoo community and beyond and has paved the way for the work we continue to this day. While Cush has passed away and is dearly missed, her work lives on and will not be forgotten.