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LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Part of the LGBTQ Trailblazers History Project

Santa Cruz Pride weekend - May 31 to June 1, 2014

Pride Theme: Pride Marches on - Celebrating 40 Years of Trailblazers

Produced by the Diversity Center

What: For the first time ever, the Diversity Center is awarding LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement Awards. Each of the awardees has made exceptional contributions with lasting positive impacts for our local LGBT community, most of them doing this work over the course of decades. These 19 individuals and couples are innovators and change makers -people who were or are the guiding light behind our most impactful projects. We all stand on the shoulders of these Trailblazers.

Why: This year's Santa Cruz Pride is our 40th annual event and the theme is Pride Marches on - Celebrating 40 Years of Trailblazers. The Lifetime Achievement Awardees highlight and personalize our history over the 4 decades since 200 people gathered in San Lorenzo Park for the first Santa Cruz Gay Pride in 1975.

When: The LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement Awardees will be honored at a reception on Saturday, May 31st 2:30 to 5:00 pm at the Center St Grill in downtown Santa Cruz. Many of the awardees will also be in the Pacific Avenue Pride Parade on Sunday, June 1st, starting at 11am. They will be towards the beginning of the parade, right behind the Grand Marshals, Larry Friedman and Tom Ellison, who are also Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Information on the Awardees and highlights of our local LGBTQ history over the past 40 years will also be featured in the Trailblazers booth at the Pride festival on Sunday, June 1st, immediately after the parade until 4pm, on Cooper Street near Pacific Avenue

The Awardees:

Larry Friedman and Tom Ellison  

Larry and Tom are also this year's parade Grand Marshals. Larry helped found the first local LGBTQ organization LAGMU (the Lesbian and Gay Men's Union) in the early 1970's and helped organize the first Santa Cruz Pride in 1975. Larry and Tom have been active in innumerable LGBT projects in the ensuring decades, including Triangle Speakers and the Gay Men's Chorus. Larry has served on the Community Foundation Diversity Partnership Committee and both are long-time volunteers for the Diversity Center's drop-in resource center and the 60+ Senior Program.

Deborah Abbott 

Director and life force behind the vibrant Cantú Queer Center at UCSC since 1997. Co-kick-starter of Project STRANGE supporting Santa Cruz County queer youth. Co-editor of the bestseller "From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life." Founding director of WomenCARE and leader of its Lesbians with Cancer group.

Mardi Brown 

the founding mother of the Diversity Center, with others, in 1989; the longest serving weekly volunteer at the Diversity Center (25 years of weekly volunteering!); was President of the Diversity Center's Board of Directors and the first organizer of the 60+ Seniors Program, serving on its Committee since 2005.

Jorge Bru 

has been an LGBTQ activist and working for LGBTQ projects for decades; worked with the Santa Cruz Aids Project (SCAP), the Cantú Center at UCSC and County Public Health in HIV Test Counseling; co-founder of the STRANGE youth program and now manager of the Conexiones Latino program for the Diversity Center.

Patricia Castagnola 

credited with re-vitalizing the Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP) during a key turning point; has been managing SCAP's programs since 2005; a steady force in helping to stabilize SCAP, keep the doors open and move SCAP forward through its integration into Encompass Community Services.

Bob Correa and Denny Carroll  

the lifeforce behind the Diversity Center at a key point in the late 1990s when the Center could have faded away; Bob, serving as the Executive Director, and Denny volunteered practically full-time to move the Center to a better location, increase donations and grant funding, and improve visibility in the community, resulting in a stable foundation and community support for this key LGBTQ institution.

Terry Cavanaugh  

founding father, with others, of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP); kick started other key programs including the Queer Youth Task Force and Queer Youth Leadership Awards and the Diversity Center's Business Mixers; former Diversity Center Board President and key part of the local Radical Faeries group.

Dan Dickmeyer 

became a community organizer and activist in the earliest days of the struggle for civil rights and acceptance for gays and lesbians; helped found the first local organization LAGMU (the Lesbian and Gay Men's Union) and organized the first local Gay Pride gathering, both in 1975; was the leading activist and media spokesperson in the early years; with his husband, was the first contributor to the LGBTQ archives at the Museum of Art and History (MAH).

Cynthia Druley  

has worked in the Santa Cruz LGBTQ community for 25 years in a variety of leadership roles including her volunteer work as the de-facto Executive Director of Triangle Speakers for its first 10 years and serving on the Community Foundation's Diversity Partnership Committee and the Foundation's Board of Directors.

Jo Kenny and Gloria Nieto 

Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP) Executive Director and Outreach Director, respectively; Jo was co-editor of the Lavender Reader for a decade; both on the board of the LGBT Alliance; both active in LGBTQ politics in other states and on the national level, including Gloria being a member of the Democratic National Committee's LGBT Caucus.

Curt Keyer and Maurice Carrillo 

consummate party hosts who are dedicated to bringing the men's community together through their parties and the Fab Friday social group, supporting people who are living with HIV/AIDS through their volunteer activities, and raising funds, estimated to exceed $100,000, for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP) and other organizations through their gatherings.

Tracye Lee Lawsen 

Tracye Lea Lawson - producer of women's and mixed events for 25 years starting in 1977 with WomenWorks and continuing with her own production company, Lea Lawson Productions; founder and editor of the La Gazette monthly feminist newspaper for 12 years starting in 1989; and Women's Music programmer at KZSC on "Breakfast in Bed" for 20 years.

John Laird 

a White House Harvey Milk Champion of Change in 2013, led his peers in LGBT political power and visibility by being one of the first out gay men to be elected to local and state office and then using his political skills to effectively forward LGBT causes; has also done commentary on radio and in print, and has served in a variety of community projects such as Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project (SCAP).

Stuart Rosenstein 

has worked in the Santa Cruz LGBTQ community for 15 years in a variety of leadership roles, including organizing the annual Queer Youth Leadership Awards (QYLA), serving on the LGBT Leadership Council, serving as Chair of the Queer Youth Task Force (QYTF), and co-founding vital programs including the STRANGE youth program, the Diversity Center's 60+ Senior Program and the QYTF's Safe Schools Project.

Glen Schaller 

an ally to the LGBTQ community who has played a leading role since the 1980s in LGBT politics; worked on a variety of local campaigns against statewide anti-LGBT initiatives; lead the Santa Cruz No on 8 Campaign; and served on the BAYMEC board and the GLBT Alliance Steering Committee.

Merrie Schaller 

has been active in LGBT politics and community projects since arriving in Santa Cruz in the 1980s; has organized numerous events including the AIDS Walk, Dyke March, and Santa Cruz Pride annually for 17 years; was a presenter on Closet Free Radio for 12 years; and is the founder, with others, of the GLBT Alliance where she currently co-chairs the Steering Committee.

Jane Schwickerath  

has emerged as our area's expert on LGBT senior issues; researched and presented cultural sensitivity trainings on LGBT senior issues to mainstream senior organizations; is the lifeforce for 8 years behind the Diversity Center's successful 60+ Senior program, managing all aspects including monthly events and fundraising, all as a volunteer.

Clare Sheils and Margaret Leonard 

have been LGBTQ community leaders in a variety of ways over three decades, including their family law work for the LGBT community in Margaret's law office and their leadership in raising a $1 million endowment for the Community Foundation's Diversity Partnership Fund.

Sandy Stone 

out and proud MTF transgender activist since her time in Santa Cruz in the 1970s, a true trailblazer; member of the Olivia Records Collective, the premiere national women's music company; co-founded TransSisters women's music production company active in Santa Cruz the 1970s; since then has been crashing through barriers in academia and the international art world.

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