We are proud to announce our 2013 Champions of Equality and Hall of Champions inductees. Designed as an event to honor those who have made positive change for the Miami-Dade LGBT community, Champions of Equality has recognized some our community’s most influential leaders such as Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Bill Nelson, Bacardi Corp, and the ACLU to name a few. Please take a moment to learn about this year’s Champions:
State of Florida Representative David Richardson is Florida’s first openly gay official elected to state office from the 113th District representing Miami Beach, North Bay Village, and the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. David Richardson entered the race as the longshot candidate, after a newly formed district was formed as a result of redistricting. David’s victory in August of 2012 was an inspiration to so many, especially those people who thought being openly gay would hinder any dreams they had of running for state office. His participation in statewide politics is significantly improving the lives of LGBT people as well as all people living in the state of Florida.
United States Congressman Joe Garcia has spent more than a decade as an outspoken advocate and leader for LGBT equality. In 2001 Joe Garcia, as Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation, led the organization to oppose the repeal of the Miami-Dade Human Rights Ordinance. Garcia appeared on Spanish radio and TV in 2001 and again in 2008 on behalf of Florida Red & Blue in hopes of defeating the state’s anti-equality marriage amendment. Congressman Garcia has long supported marriage equality and in Congress has co-sponsored legislation inclusive of gay and lesbian couples such as in the pending immigration reform. Joe Garcia is an original co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the 113th Congress.
Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa is the first Hispanic woman to Chair the Miami-Dade County Commission and she has supported LGBT issues as an educator and elected official. She is fiercely dedicated to the advancement of human and political rights using her position as Commissioner as a way to ensure equality. In 2008 she helped pass Miami-Dade County’s Domestic Partnership Ordinance and Registry in the face of fierce opposition from her community and she has expressed strong support for the need of a transgender inclusive Human Rights Ordinance in the County. She has been a leader in promoting women’s rights, raising the awareness of human trafficking, and even sponsoring a resolution declaring December 10th Human Rights Day in Miami-Dade.
HALL OF CHAMPIONS
The Hall of Champions was formed three years ago and was designed to honor long-term volunteers who have selflessly and significantly contributed to advance the cause of equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) in Miami-Dade County.
Fran Bohnsack was SAVE's founding Co-Chair and led the organization through the critical first five years of our existence. She participated in every organization decision and was critical in leading the organization through some of the most tenuous struggles insuring SAVE’s survival. She was the only board member with campaign experience – having run her own campaign and narrowly losing an election for a state house seat. She continued her full time job as a lobbyist for the Miami River Marine Group during her service as the board Co-Chair. At that time, very few people had as much political acumen as Fran. SAVE’s success at broadening the cause for LGBT inclusion in Miami-Dade County was absolutely bolstered by Fran’s vision and efforts.
James Pepper has been in the equality movement since the 70’s and took on leadership positions as AIDS was still an unnamed disease. Trusted for his integrity and wisdom Jim has served on many boards and founded or helped in the creation of a number of influential organizations including the Stonewall Community Foundation in New York through fundraising and enlisting the human capital necessary for their success. He is considered one of the nation’s leading philanthropists to LGBT and HIV/AIDS related causes. Jim has overseen or directed millions of dollars to LGBT equality and is a 2013 Hall of Champion Inductee.