LGBT and ally individuals will gather this week to pay tribute to an organization and its supporters that have been dedicated to working for equal rights for LGBT Pennsylvanians for more than a decade.
Equality Advocates Pennsylvania will host its 13th Anniversary Celebration from 6:30-9 p.m. May 13 at The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1630 Latimer St.
The event, which will feature a silent auction, food and drinks, will honor numerous individuals and organizations from across the commonwealth who’ve made significant contributions over the past year to the agency’s mission of advancing LGBT rights in the state.
The group will recognize Stacey Sobel, former executive director of Equality Advocates, who is moving to California in July to take a position as a constitutional law professor at Western State University Law School.
Sobel served as the executive director of the organization from 2001-08.
Lynn Zeitlin, current executive director of Equality Advocates, said the group wanted to draw attention to the wide-ranging impact Sobel had on the organization, as well as on the progress of LGBT rights in the state.
“We wanted to honor her many accomplishments while she was the executive director,” said Zeitlin. “She took the agency from a small, at-home situation and broadened the base and added to the agenda of items that it covers and goals for it to reach. She was certainly very effective for the LGBT community in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania at large.”
Sobel said she appreciates the recognition, as well as the seven years she spent leading the organization.
“It’s very meaningful to me that the organization is honoring me,” she said. “Equality Advocates Pennsylvania has been an extremely important part of my life, and being able to support the LGBT community through my position there has been a great honor for me.”
Equality Advocates will give its Large Pro Bono Law Firm Award to WolfBlock LLP for its assistance in the ongoing legal battle between the city and the Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council. The group will present its Small Pro Bono Law Firm Award to Salmanson Goldshaw, P.C., a firm that has only three attorneys but that, Zeitlin noted, contributed countless hours of pro-bono work on several of the organization’s cases.
The agency chose Natalie Hrubos for its Sara Weaver Volunteer of the Year honor, recognition that Zeitlin said is well-deserved.
“She’s been really outstanding in the field of transgender rights and in helping transgender people and other LGBT folks with obtaining all the documents they need,” Zeitlin said. “She is simply wonderful, and we’re delighted to be honoring her.”
Equality Advocates will also present Kris Rust with the organization’s Barbara Gittings Activist of the Year award.
Jake Kaskey, policy and outreach coordinator at Equality Advocates, said Rust has been a tireless advocate for LGBT-rights issues.
“Kris was chosen for his commitment to LGBT equality in the western part of the state,” Kaskey said. “He’s truly mobilized countless groups, organizations and individuals fighting for equality on both a county and statewide level.”
Tickets for the event begin at $125.
To register or for more information, visit www.equalitypa.org or call Joe Dungee at (215) 731-1447 ext. 22.