2018 Human Rights Campaign Gala
Through the support of McCann and the hard work of Mel Senecal, Doug Harrison, and Mikey Harmon, a delegation of McCann team members represented the agency at the 2018 Human Rights Campaign of Greater New York gala on February 3rd. The gala is meant to honor both community members and allies who work tirelessly for LGBTQ equality.
As part of the speaker lineup throughout the evening, guests were treated to progressive visions from political leaders including Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. All three worked to paint a picture of the inclusive ideals, seen especially in New York City, as representative and guiding the aims of the entire state.
Audra McDonald, renowned Broadway and television star, received the HRC National Equality Award, recognizing her outstanding efforts in standing up for the LGBTQ community. And Cynthia Nixon was honored with the HRC Visibility Award for using her talent and public platform to tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community.
Throughout the evening, speakers thanked the room for their bravery and work towards equality. They spoke of a better world for their children, and a brighter tomorrow. And they ensured they were working towards equality not only for lesbians and gay men, but for the transgender community, and the nuanced challenges faced by trans people.
Throughout the night’s speeches, and in general for HRC affiliation, was the theme of ally-ship. (Or, that is to say, those not of a minority group working for the equality of others.) The political representatives were proof of that, as not LGBTQ community members, but working for. Likewise, the year’s National Equality Award recipient, Audra McDonald, who is married to a man, had worked tirelessly in favor of marriage equality for LGBTQ people, simply because she believes in the right, not necessarily because it affected her.
From the LGBTQ side, Cynthia Nixon was most direct in addressing ally-ship and intersectionality. She brought light to the comparative privilege that white LGBTQ people of a certain economic class have, and how they can work not only for the LGBTQ community, but for people of color, immigrants, trans people, people of lower economic classes, and others. In the midst of this gala setting, this was a palpable moment of discomfort, that was by far one of the most interesting events of the night: in celebration of how far the LGBTQ community has come, we can’t forget how much work is left to go for the community itself, and for so many others.