February 14, 2011
Over 600 Equality California members celebrated victories and honored Attorney General Kamala Harris, Victoria Kolakowski
San Francisco - A packed crowd filled San Francisco City Hall on February 12 for Equality California's 2011 San Francisco Equality Awards presented by AT&T. More than 600 elected officials, corporate, labor and community leaders attended Equality California's sold-out celebration. The event also marked Executive Director Geoff Kors' final Equality Awards before he steps down as executive director later this year.
"Last weekend we honored two outstanding leaders who have made invaluable contributions to the fight for LGBT equality," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. "We also owe a great deal of gratitude to everyone who attended the event, as well as our generous sponsors for helping ensure that we are able to continue our mission of achieving full equality for all LGBT Californians."
This year Equality California honored Attorney General Kamala Harris and Alameda County judge Victoria Kolakowski who have been instrumental in helping to increase awareness and support for full equality for the LGBT community.
Harris received the Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon Marriage Equality Award. In her prior position as San Francisco District Attorney, she was instrumental in securing legal protections for the LGBT community by launching specialized programs around hate crimes, same-sex domestic violence, and same-sex sexual assault. As Attorney General, Harris has refused to defend Proposition 8 in the federal challenge to overturn the marriage ban and has created an LGBT working group as part of her transition team.
Judge Kolakowski received the Equality and Justice Award. Kolakowski made history last year, becoming the nation's first openly transgender judge. A trailblazing pioneer and inspiration to the LGBT community, Kolakowski has been a longtime advocate for LGBT equality, previously serving on the board of the Transgender Law Center and Equality California, where she was a founding board member.
Attendees were inspired by powerful remarks including from the award recipients, Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Senator Leno presented Kors with a proclamation from the seven members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus, recognizing his years of service to the LGBT community.
The San Francisco Equality Awards was presented by AT&T and generously sponsored by Bank of America, Blue Angel Vodka, State Farm Insurance, Carrie Farrell & Jacqueline Bennett, PG&E, Wells Fargo, Wine Tasting Network, Academy of Art University, Jody Cole - Wild Rainbow African Safaris, California Teacher's Association, Delloite, Levi Strauss & Company, Jeff Lewy & Ed Eishen, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Jimmy Nguyen -JimmyWin.com, Jim Carroll and Scott Romesburg, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Ambassador James Hormel & Michael Nguyen, Geoff Kors & James Williamson and Kirkland & Ellis LLP.