Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scenes from the 2009 Fall Dinner

Last Thursday was our 18th annual Fall Dinner, the Pride Agenda’s biggest fundraising event of the year. With more than 1200 supporters in attendance, we had a great mix of donors, activists, elected officials and celebrities.

The night kicked off with our hilarious emcee, Margaret Cho, who kept us laughing with her colorful sense of humor!

We then heard from Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle, who reminded us that in regards to the marriage bill:

“…the time for making cases is past. The time for petty partisan finger pointing is past. The time for lame excuses, for botched maneuvers and simple, plain old foot dragging is past. The time to get this bill to the floor of the New York state Senate is now. The time for the state Senate to acknowledge our existence is now the time for us to hear our lives - our lives! - debated on the floor of the New York state Senate is now."

We had a great musical performance from actor, singer and activist Alan Cumming, with Lance Horne leading the band.

Our keynote speaker was U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who spoke about his experiences fighting for equal rights for LGBT people on the federal level. He praised the Senate for passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act earlier that day, and pledged to continue to work on reform for our community, including repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Part one of his speech is below:

(Click here for Part 2).

We also welcomed special speaker Governor Paterson, who pledged to put the marriage bill on the Senate’s agenda as soon as it comes back for its extraordinary session.

Part one of his speech is below:

(Click here for Part 2).

Finally, we honored the Hathaway family – actress Anne, her parents Gerald & Kate, and brothers Thomas and Michael, as well as Michael’s husband Joshua Lawson.

As the recipients of our 2009 Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award, the Hathaways are an inspiring example of the important role that families play in our movement.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Fall Dinner a success!

(Photos courtesy of Doug Meszler and Steve DiMaio).

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