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Equality Florida Institute will honor Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa and community leader Terry Fleming with theVoice for Equality Award at the organization’s annual Gala on Saturday, May 5 at 7 PM at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Celebrating its 15th year, Equality Florida Institute is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's LGBT community,
“Our honorees have been pioneers in securing equality and giving a voice to the LGBT community,” said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. “Both Commissioner Mastrodicasa and Terry Fleming have has been steadfast allies and advocates for Gainesville’s LGBT community for more than a decade.”

Commissioner Mastrodicasa is Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at the University Of Florida.   She began her tenure at UF in 1997, and in 1999, in her role as Assistant Dean of Students, she served as the first UF liaison to the LGBT community.  She was re-elected to the Gainesville City Commission for a second three-year term in May 2009.

A resident of Gainesville, Fleming runs the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida.  He served ten years in the Navy under policies banning openly gay men and women to serve, forcing him to keep his sexuality secret.  In 2011, he was invited to the White House, along with other community activists, where he personally thanked President Obama for the long awaited repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

More than 250 lawmakers and community leaders are expected to attend the Equality Florida Tallahassee Gala, which promises to be a spectacular even.  Nadine Smith will present a State of the State Address, recounting the incredible strides made this past year throughout the state, as well as detailing how much work is yet to be done.
The Host Committee consists of community influencers including Commissioner Susan Bottcher & Del Bottcher; Eric & Danni Conrad; Joseph Antonelli; Garrett Garner & Mallory Wells; DeeJay Hellrung; Michelle & Chris Ott; Robert Prather; Duane Tully; Helen Warren & Florence Turcotte; Dawn Burgess-Krop; Bruce Delaney & Iris Burke; Terry Fleming; Lauren Hannahs; Commissioner Thomas Hawkins; Bob Karp; Mayor Craig Lowe; Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa; Sue Moyer; Laurel Nesbit; Rick & Jane Nesbit; Warren & Winnie Nielsen; Commissioner- elect Yvonne Hinson-Rawls; Commissioner-elect Lauren Poe & Emily Poe; Jon Reiskind; Helen Strain; Commissioner Randy Wells & Ondine Wells; Sara Jo Nixon; and Sue & Ramon Littell.

Corporate sponsors for the evening are Carlton Fields, MPW, Northern Trust, Tecnicolors Salon, Solar Impact, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Elegant Events Catering, Friends of Wild Iris & Wild Iris Books and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Individual sponsors include Kenneth Colen & Blaise Bonaventure; Richard Featherston & John Laibson; Robert Prather; Commissioner- elect Lauren Poe and Cheryl Poe; DeeJay & John Hellrung; David Bloom; Elaine & Barry Jacobson; Danaya & Kendal Broad-Wright; Roxane Bleiweis; Susan & Del Bottcher; Duane Tully; Gordon Lawyer & Michael McGinnis; Dr. H. Ray & I. Furic; Michelle & Chris Ott; and Sue O’Brien & Katrina Schwartz.

The Gala takes place on Saturday, May 5 from 7 ‘til 9 PM at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida Cultural Plaza, at SW 34th Street and Hull Road. Suggested minimum contribution is $100.  Further information is available online at www.eqfl.org/gainesvillegala or by calling (813) 870-3735.
Proceeds from the event benefit Equality Florida Institute, a tax exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

About Equality Florida
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for LGBT community. Through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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