Villaraigosa Celebrates LA Pride with LGBT Heritage Month 2012
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Christopher Street West/ LA Pride are set to celebrate the launch of Los Angeles’ Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender American Heritage Month Opening Ceremonies happening Friday, June 1, 2012 at City Hall.
This year’s LGBT Heritage Month celebration marks the second annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender American Heritage Month in the City of Los Angeles. The kick-off will begin inside City Council Chambers where Mayor Villaraigosa and other city leaders will recognize and honor George Takei, longtime actor and LGBT activist; Jewel Thais-Willliams, community activist and owner of one of the first Black-owned LGBT nightclubs, Jewel’s Catch One Disco; and Karina Samala, transgender beauty queen and activist who has worked with local law enforcement to support transgender rights.
“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. “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 lives of 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.
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, a residential program for young women who have aged out of foster care.
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 will also announce 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.
This year’s winners included Vista School 11th grader Jesus Navarro with his poem “Our Heritage,” Highland Hall 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 is followed by food and live entertainment at City Hall South Plaza at 11:00 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature 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.