Equality California honored three tireless advocates for the LGBT equality at its annual San Diego Equality Awards luncheon on Sunday June Seventh. The event attracted hundreds to San Diego’s Prado at Balboa Park.
This year’s honorees included leaders from the worlds of public service, business and academia, with Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Southwest Airlines Lidia Martinez, and Dr. Shaun Travers of UCSD being recognized for their unique and significant contributions to the fight for full equality.
“They’ve fought for the rights of the LGBT community in healthcare, in housing, on campus and in all the diverse ethnic and geographic communities that we’re part of. Without their work, our community would not be where we are today,” said Equality California executive director Rick Zbur.
Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) was elected in 2010 as the first openly lesbian speaker in California’s history. Atkins received a Vanguard Leadership Award for her openness and courage, which have inspired others to be more visible in their personal lives and active in their communities. Atkins, who grew up in Virginia in a home with no running water, was first elected in 2000 to the San Diego City Council, where she served eight years and acted briefly as the city’s first openly gay mayor. During her time in public service, she has championed issues ranging from homeless LGBT youth, to affordable housing for our community and others, to advancing transgender issues.
Lidia S. Martinez is corporate community affairs manager for Southwest Airlines and was celebrated with an Ally Leadership Award. Martinez has been a strong ally of the LGBT community, strengthening Southwest’s partnerships with LGBT organizations across California and the country, and building bridges between the LGBT community and the diverse communities of which our members are also part. In addition to her unwavering support of LGBT equality, Martinez serves as a board member for various civil rights and civic organizations, including MALDEF, the Hispanic College Fund, the Women’s Foundation of California and others.
Dr. Shaun Travers is a campus diversity officer at UCSD, where he also directs the campus LGBT Resource Center. Travers was among this year’s State Farm Good Neighbor Award recipient for his efforts on campus, across San Diego and statewide. Travers is a current board member of the San Diego LGBT Community Center and is a four-time former board chair. He also serves on the University of California system-wide President’s Advisory Council on LGBT Students, Faculty and Staff. He lectures frequently on the intersections of race, sexuality and gender, and of the opportunities and challenges of working in and with the LGBT community.
Congratulations to our awardees and thanks again to everyone who attended and supported this great event and made it such a success!