November 4th Event will “Honor Them With Action” at Orlando Museum of Art
Emcee: Actor Wilson Cruz, who lost a relative in the shooting

Equality Florida will pay tribute to several organizations and individuals in the Orlando community whose compassion, leadership and courage were the hallmarks of the community in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub nearly five months ago. Presented by PNC Bank, the 9th Annual Equality Florida Greater Orlando Gala will “Honor Them With Action,” on Friday, November 4th at 8 PM at the Orlando Museum of Art.

At the gala, Equality Florida will present the Service and Leadership Award to the following:

Orlando’s LGBTQ and Latino Second Responders - In the aftermath of Pulse, these organizations and individuals showed incredible leadership and bravery. They immediately sprang into action to do whatever needed to be done, to meet the needs of the community and to help begin the healing process.
• Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
• MBA Orlando
• Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan
• Proyecto Somos Orlando
• The Center
• Two Spirit Health Services, Inc.
• Pulse of Orlando
• Zebra Coalition

Orlando Health - As Orlando’s only level-one trauma center, and only two blocks from Pulse Nightclub, Orlando Health was ground zero for critical care for victims of the shooting. The staff at Orlando Health saved lives and showed incredible bravery. Amid the fury of the Pulse response, there was a rumor that an active shooter had entered the emergency department. Staffers barricaded the two doors to their trauma bay with X-ray machines and continued operating. Recently, Orlando Health, along with Florida Hospital, announced that they would forgive the medical bills of victims of the Pulse tragedy.

The Greater Orlando Community - Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs will accept this award on behalf of the entire Greater Orlando Community. The Greater Orlando community showed the entire world their true colors; that they are strong, they are inclusive, and they are love. Everyone became a part of the Pulse response, from the elementary school student who planned a bake sale to benefit victims, to the medical and mental health professionals who rushed to the scene and continue to help in the healing process, to the small business owners across the city who donated food and other goods, to the elected leaders who stood united in their response. Everyone came together to help Orlando respond and heal.

Actor Wilson Cruz, who has a deeply personal connection to the Pulse shooting, will be the emcee for the evening. Known for playing Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life, Angel in the Broadway production of Rent and the recurring character Junito on Noah’s Arc, Wilson has close ties to Orlando. His mother’s stepsister, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, was among the

victims of the Pulse tragedy. In tribute to his relative and all who were affected by the tragedy, Wilson joined dozens of other Broadway performers to participate in “From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Orlando.”

A highlight of the gala will be a State of the State address by Equality Florida’s CEO, Nadine Smith reflecting upon the past year, and outlining the work that is yet to be done. The evening will include delicious hors d’oeuvres, a full open bar, an exciting silent art auction, special entertainment surprises and live musical entertainment by Silkee Smoove Band.

“We made two promises in the aftermath of Pulse,” said Nadine Smith. “The first was to do everything we could to take care of the survivors and the families left behind by this heinous act of hate. We fulfilled that promise by raising over $9.5 million for those affected by the tragedy."

“The second promise was to ensure that the lasting memorial to this tragedy is the real change of uprooting anti-LGBT hatred, discrimination and violence in our culture.” All proceeds from the Greater Orlando Gala will be used to further that goal.

The 9th Annual Equality Florida Greater Orlando Gala takes place on Thursday, November 4 at 8 pm at The Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803. Tickets are $100 or $50 with valid student ID and are available at www.eqfl.org/orlandogala. For further information, please contact Michael Farmer at [email protected] or (407) 462.9692.

The following have generously provided support for the Orlando Gala:

Statewide Corporate Sponsors
• Presenting Sponsor ($50,000+) – PNC Bank
• Statewide CEO ($25,000+) - Tech Data, Carlton Fields, NCLR, Front of the House, Making Projects Work
• Statewide Chair ($15,000+) - Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, SunTrust
• Statewide Director ($10,000+) - C1 Bank, Regions Bank, Tito's Vodka, RBC Wealth Management,

Local Corporate Sponsors
• Emerald ($15,000+) - John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Catering
• Ruby ($10,000+) - Watermark
• Sapphire ($5,000+) - Orlando Health
• Hotspots Magazine

Individual Sponsors
• Diamond ($25,000+) - Jeff Voss
• Sapphire ($5,000+) - Jo Ann Sofinowski, Dr. Ed Wilson
• Gold ($2,500+) - Yolanda Butler & Regina Green, Skip Kirst & Eric Hogan, Danny Humphress and Enrique de la Toore, David F. Baldree, Dr. Bruce Whisler, Nate West & Kent Christensen

About Equality Florida
Founded in 1997, Equality Florida has lead the way in securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Through education, advocacy, grassroots organizing, and coalition building, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment discrimination or violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. www.eqfl.org





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