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2015 Los Angeles Equality Awards

A Great Night in Front of a Full House

On Saturday, September 19th, EQCA supporters gathered at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live to honor five longtime champions of the LGBT community and progressive values, celebrate our community’s victory, and bolster ourselves for the work ahead.

The event was co-chaired by Long Beach Mayor and EQCA Boardmember Robert Garcia, West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, West Hollywood City Councilman John D’Amico and EQCA Boardmember Beth Collins-Burgard. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti kicked off the evening with remarks.

Journalist Lisa Ling, philanthropist Tom Steyer, Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León, and former board presidents and longtime EQCA supporters Clarissa Filgioun and Cary Davidson each received awards for their years of work on behalf of LGBT people and all Californians.

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Award-winning journalist Lisa Ling has devoted her career to covering the types of stories others choose to ignore, reporting from more than two dozen countries as contributor to ABC’s Nightline, National Geographic, the Oprah Winfrey Show and Channel One. She received EQCA’s Vanguard Leadership Award for the positive impact her reporting has had in advancing awareness, understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

Businessperson, non-profit founder and visionary philanthropist Tom Steyer received this year’s Humanitarian Award for his work advancing progressive causes that benefit the LGBT community. Steyer founded NextGen, a non-profit organization that acts politically to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. His philanthropy and political activism have made a significant and lasting impact in advancing health, well-being and social justice for LGBT people and all the communities of which LGBT people are a part.

Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León, was awarded this year’s Ally Leadership Award. De León is the first Latino to hold the position of Senate President Pro-Tem since 1883 and he son of a single mother who immigrated to California from Mexico, de León grew up in San Diego County and began his career teaching citizenship courses and advocating for immigrants. Since he was first elected to the California Assembly in 2006, de León has been one of the LGBT community’s staunchest allies. Every year he has held office, de León has earned a pro-equality rating of 100 percent on Equality California’s Legislative Scorecard. He has authored key pieces of legislation benefiting the LGBT community, and as senate president, has worked hard to ensure passage of Equality California priority bills.

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Clarissa Filgioun, former EQCA board president, was celebrated with the State Farm Good Neighbor Award for her years of support of our organization and its mission. Filgioun chaired EQCA’s board during a time of transition and helped shape the organizations programs to meet the needs of California’s LGBT community, including greatly expanding the reach of its PAC to elect pro-equality candidates. She also led the broadening of the organizations’ mission to include the health and well-being of LGBT communities of color. Filgioun is the daughter of South African diplomats and spent her formative years in Greece, the United Kingdom and Germany, but it was the time spent in her home country fighting apartheid that shaped her work as an activist for social justice.

And because our community is full of “Good Neighbors,” a second State Farm Good Neighbor Award of the evening went to Carey Davidson in recognition of his extraordinary service to the LGBT community, L.A.’s Jewish community, and for his decades of work to advance equality for everyone. Davidson is one of the few individuals to serve as board president for both Equality California and Equality California Institute and was one of the organization’s longest-serving board members. He was the first openly-LGBT president of the California Political Attorneys Association and has contributed countless hours of pro bono legal services to progressive causes and LGBT efforts. He is an active member of L.A.’s Congregation Kol Ami, where he currently serves as secretary of the congregation, and serves on or volunteers with several organizations representing Reform Judaism.

Again, we congratulate each and every one of our awardees and thank everyone who attended and supported this wonderful event. Thank you for making this evening such a wonderful success!