TO: 2020 Equality Awards Guests, Sponsors and Host Committee Members
FROM: Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director
DATE: March 12, 2020
RE: COVID-19 Update
Over the last few weeks, Equality California has been closely monitoring guidance from federal, state and local public health officials regarding COVID-19 (or “novel coronavirus”). On Thursday, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order to enhance state and local government’s ability to respond to the pandemic. The governor’s order directed Californians to postpone or cancel large gatherings of 250 people or more through at least the end of March.
The Equality Awards are a critical opportunity for members of our community to come together and honor the inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps to advance LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice. But Equality California’s top priority at the Equality Awards — and all of our events — is the health, well-being and safety of our guests and supporters. For this reason and due to the Governor’s directive, we have reached the difficult decision that we must postpone two of our Equality Awards events:
We know that our generous sponsors and guests support and attend the Equality Awards because you support our critical, life-saving programs and share our commitment to full, lived LGBTQ+ equality — for which we could not be more grateful.
Members of our LGBTQ+ community are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of COVID-19. LGBTQ+ people are more likely to use tobacco, have higher rates of HIV and cancer and continue to face discrimination and lack of acceptance from many healthcare providers across the country. These unfortunate realities mean that our efforts to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people — efforts like training healthcare providers, advocating for affordable healthcare coverage and working to reduce the use of tobacco within the LGBTQ+ community — are as important now as ever before. Your continued support of the Equality Awards and Equality California is critical to our ability to keep doing that work.
In times of uncertainty, it is important to remember the shared values — community, belonging, respect — that bind us together. Our community is strong. We are united. And we are resilient. We have faced great challenges and trying times — even epidemics — before. We have persisted. I am confident in our ability to do so again. And once we do, I cannot wait to celebrate with each and every one of you.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the 2020 Equality Awards. For additional guidance and information regarding COVID-19, please visit cdph.ca.gov/covid19.