Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What it takes to be OUR Miss New York

In a year where we are celebrating the passage of the Dignity for All Students Act, a law to combat LGBT bias-based bullying, harassment and discrimination in the state's public schools and the first New York State law to include protections based on gender identity and expression, we are inspired by advocates who are working so hard to fight discrimination and open the dialogue around the issues facing the LGBT community, and especially our youth.

That is why we are so pleased to invite you to join us at the Empire State Pride Agenda's Fall Dinner on Thursday, October 14, where we will recognize the recipient of our 2010 Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award, Claire Buffie, Miss New York 2010.

For the first time in the 90 year history of the Miss America Pageant, Claire selected LGBT equality as her platform, working to engage and inspire straight allies to understand the discrimination LGBT youth face. Her groundbreaking platform, Straight for Equality: Let's Talk, is based on her past work with organizations such as PFLAG and A Thousand Moms to break the stigma of marginalized youth, eliminate discriminatory vocabulary and change the climate in New York schools by opening the dialogue about equality among youth, teens and adults alike. She, like the majority of New Yorkers, recognizes the unequal treatment that the LGBT community faces and is dedicated instilling pride, dignity and respect in developing minds and compassionate hearts.

Please join us in recognizing her at our 2010 Fall Dinner. The Fall Dinner is our chance to raise critical funds that will go directly to our efforts to increase awareness of our issues and elect supportive candidates for office. We are prepared to change the debate in Albany, support those who stood by us and bring in new legislators who consider our rights a real priority. In the coming weeks, we'll be helping to elect those who have stood by our side as well as new candidates who we can be certain will bring about real change in Albany.

Change happens when our community and our allies, like Claire, come together and support those who can -- and will -- fight for our equality right here in New York. This work can only happen with your generosity -- and with it, we will lead our community to equality and justice. That is why we want you to join us on October 14 and be part of this important night.

You will also be joined by our hosts for the 2010 Fall Dinner, award-winning actress and longtime LGBT advocate, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Bravo's SVP Original Programming and Development and host of Watch What Happens: Live!, Andy Cohen. In addition, you will be joined by opinion makers, celebrities and elected officials from across New York and the country.

And, it is not too late to be added to our invitation -- the deadline is being extended until Wednesday, September 1! Sign up right now, and join our growing list of Table Captains and Sponsors! Join us in celebrating our community and our allies who are committed to supporting our work.

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