June 1, 2012
CITY OF LOS ANGELES KICKS OFF 2012 LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Mayor Honors George Takei, Jewel Thais-Williams, and Karina Samala with Hope, Dream, and Spirit of Los Angeles Awards
LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Christopher Street West/ LA Pride launched the City of Los Angeles’ Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Heritage Month with a ceremony at City Hall today.
This year’s LGBT Heritage Month celebration themed “Celebrating our Past, Shaping the Future,” was presented by Toyota Motor Services &Toyota Financial Services and marks the second annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage Month in the City of Los Angeles.
The kickoff began inside City Council Chambers where Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and other city leaders recognized and honored George Takei, longtime actor and LGBT activist; Jewel Thais-Willliams, community activist, Founder and Executive Director of the Village Health Foundation and owner of the oldest Black-owned LGBT nightclub in the country, Jewel’s Catch One Disco; and Karina Samala, long-time advocate for transgender equality and LGBT rights who is the Chair of the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relation Commission’s Transgender Working Group.
“I am proud to lead a city where the diversity of the LGBT community is celebrated like it is here in LA,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “And it is my privilege to present the Hope, Dream and Spirit of Los Angeles Awards to these three extraordinary individuals who have greatly contributed to the LGBT community in Los Angeles and beyond.”
Spirit of Los Angeles awardee Karina Samala is chairperson of the City of Los Angeles Human Services Commission’s Transgender Working Group. She serves on the board of the Transgender Advisory Board for the City of West Hollywood, Christopher Street West/LA Pride, the County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s LGBT Advisory Council, the Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council, and is the current Empress of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood. The Transgender Working Group and LAPD recently announced trailblazing new policies for the department’s interaction with the transgender community
Dream of Los Angeles awardee Jewel Thais-Williams is one of the founding board members of Unity Fellowship Church, The Minority AIDS Project, UCLA’s Lambda Alumni Association, Rue’s House – the first residential home for women and children with AIDS in the country, and is the founder and executive director of the Village Health Foundation, medical clinic based upon traditional Chinese medicine.
Hope of Los Angeles awardee George Takei is world-renowned for his founding role in the acclaimed television series, Star Trek. Takei is chairman emeritus and trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization.
Mayor Villaraigosa also announced the winners of the LGBT Heritage Month Youth Creative Writing/Video Contest, where students from throughout Los Angeles County in grades 6-12 were encouraged to participate by submitting an original written piece of work and/or a 1-3 minute video submission that presents this year’s LGBT Heritage Month theme.
The winners included Vista School 11th grader Jesus Navarro with his poem “Our Heritage,” Highland Hall Waldorf School 9th grader Lyla Matar with her song “Only Love,” and Fairfax High School 9th grader Max Geschwind with his essay, "Celebrating our Past - Shaping the Future."
The opening ceremony was followed by food and live entertainment at City Hall South Plaza at 11:00 a.m. The event was free and open to the public, featuring an entertainment line-up including: DJ Yaya and performances by ADAAWE, Hirbois, Ryan Adames, William and a special guest appearance by Vicci Martinez who finished third overall on NBC’s “The Voice” last season.
LGBT Heritage Month launches a month-long calendar of cultural events featuring the history and culture of the Lesbian, Gay, Bixsexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. A list of all activities and events is available at www.culturela.org. For more information, all (213) 922-9762, or follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HeritageLA.
Beginning June 6, City Hall will be bathed in lavender in celebration of LGBT Heritage Month, marking the City’s first-ever “Lavender Lights,” presented by CIROC Ultra Premium Vodka. The lights will shine on City Hall for over two weeks. The pylons at LAX will also turn lavender from June 1-8. The color Lavender has been adopted by many as a representation of the LGBTQ community and its struggles and progress.
Defiant Spaces: 60 years of Queer Organizations in Los Angeles
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives and the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa present Defiant Spaces: 60 Years of Queer Organizations in L.A. at the Los Angeles City Hall, an exhibition exploring the history of LGBTQ organizations in the Los Angeles region. The exhibition consists of a timeline spread across numerous printed panels, accompanied by a selection of reproduced archival documents and historical banners and signs from the collections at ONE Archives.
About LGBT Heritage Month
LGBT Heritage Month was created by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Christopher Street West/LA Pride in 2011 to promote and celebrate the diversity, history and culture of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the City of Los Angeles. LGBT Heritage Month is the newest Heritage Month celebration, presented each June by Toyota Motor Services and Toyota Financial Services, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Christopher Street West/LA Pride, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Los Angeles. Other Heritage Months include African American Heritage Month in February, Latino Heritage Month in September, American Indian Heritage Month in November and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.
MAYOR'S OFFICE CONTACT: