Equality Florida Recognized Broward County Heroes Presents ‘Voices for Equality’ Award to Teri Williams and Michael Rajner

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(Ft. Lauderdale, FL) --An educator inspired to action by the suicide of a student and a fearless advocate who once requested a meeting with his congressman by convincing a flight attendant to slip him a note will be honored on November 13 at the Equality Florida Broward Gala.  Teri Williams and Michael Rajner will each receive the Voice for Equality Award for their tireless work on behalf of Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community during Equality Florida’s 2011 Broward Gala at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art.

Teri Williams is the point person on LGBT issues within Broward County School District, the sixth largest in the nation. Teri co-founded the Safe to be Me Coalition - a collaboration of non-profits and the school district working together to support LGBT youth and their allies coming together to create safe spaces in the school environment.

Teri was also largely responsible for helping to make Equality Florida’s GSA Leadership Institute an officially recognized school event, leading to a more than 100 percent increase in participation among Broward Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs).

“Teri has transformed Broward County schools and is helping make the district a model across the state for confronting the epidemic of bullying,” said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy executive director for Equality Florida.

Michael Emanuel Rajner, a Fort Lauderdale activist transplanted from Brooklyn, NY, is a fearless and passionate advocate for LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities. Michael serves as legislative director of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus.  He previously served on Broward County School Board’s Diversity Committee and played a central role in securing LGBT protections including adding gender identity to the district’s non-discrimination policy.  Michael is a representative on the Florida Department of Health’s Florida AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Formulary Advisory Workgroup. Michael also serves on the  Broward Sheriff's Council for Diversity and Equal Opportunity" and efforts to advocate for individuals in relation to HIV-criminalization.

“Whether it’s passing a note, through a flight attendant, to outspoken anti-equality Congressman Allen West asking him for a meeting to discuss legislation aimed to reduce bullying of LGBT youth., or reaching out to the mother of a hate crime victim, Michael doesn’t stop until the mission is accomplished,” said Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida.

The 2011 Equality Florida Broward Gala promises to be a spectacular event and takes place at the Museum of Art / Ft. Lauderdale, 1 East Las Olas Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale. Tickets for this elegant cocktail reception are just $125 and sponsorship opportunities begin at just $500.  For more information, visithttp://eqfl.org/miamigala/or call Stratton Pollitzer at (954) 682-6094.



Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.



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