MIAMI, FL, August 31, 2018 — SAVE, South Florida's foremost advocate for the LGBTQ community, will honor young professionals paving the road toward equality at the 2018 Luminary Awards on Thursday, September 13th, 6pm-9pm at the newly renovated Bacardi Headquarters in Coral Gables.
The Luminaries, presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, welcomes over two hundred attendees each year and proudly recognizes the contributions of those young professionals who have made outstanding strides towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) equality. This year, honorees include Charo Valero of National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health, Jamie Guirola of NBC6, and John Byrne of Prevention 305.
Charo Valero serves as the Florida State Policy Director for the Florida Latina Advocacy Network of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Born and raised in Panama City, Panama, Charo is a proud immigrant and queer Latina feminist who strives to build the community and inspire and empower other women, queer folks, and folks of color. When not at work, Charo is a lead organizer and founding member of Lady Fest Miami, a graduate and current member of the executive team of the New Leaders Council-Miami Chapter, and serves on the board of Engage Miami. Prior to advocating for reproductive justice, Charo was the Field Director at SAVE, where her main focus was public education and community mobilization for LGBTQ political advocacy at the local, state and national level.
Jamie Guirola of NBC6 is a Miami native, who considers it a privilege to be able to tell stories that matter in his community. In addition to being a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Jamie is also active in the LGBTQ community. He regularly emcees the annual Equality Florida Gala and is a member of the Miami Beach LGBTQ Advisory Committee. For a brief time, Jamie also served on the Florida Department of Health’s Transgender Workgroup.
John Byrne is the founder and owner of the political news site RawStory.com. Recognized as a "PrEP Champion" by the University of California, John recently founded Prevention305, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and access to PrEP, the once-a-day pill that prevents HIV. In just a few months Prevention305 will launch a digital campaign across various dating platforms in Miami-Dade County, educating the local LGBTQ community on the use of PrEp.
Last year, in an effort to ensure exceptional work does not go unnoticed, SAVE introduced a People's Luminary Award, asking the community to assist with the nomination process and ultimately vote for a winner.
"Last year we received over a dozen nominations within hours of announcing our People's Luminary Award. The finalists received well over 1,000 votes. It was heartwarming to see so many of those we serve feel so passionate about those young professionals who have made an impact in their lives." says, Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. "The winner will be announced at The Luminaries on Thursday, September 13th," Lima adds.
The Luminaries reception will take place at the newly updated Bacardi Headquarters in Coral Gables. Attendees will enjoy an open bar courtesy of Bacardi, delicious food, live entertainment and more. Tickets are on sale for $65 at www.luminaryawards.org.
The Luminaries is made possible by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, The Miami Dolphins, Bilzin Sumberg and Airbnb.