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October 26, 2007

Five honored with awards at Stonewall's 'Night Out'


Columbus--Stonewall Columbus held their annual A Night Out at the Franklin Park Conservatory on October 20. This year’s theme was Under the Big Top, featuring a circus atmosphere with jugglers, clowns and other zany performers.

A Night Out is the annual event held by Stonewall to help raise funds as well as to recognize community leaders and LGBT individuals who work towards the betterment of the community.

Executive Director Karla Rothan said that she was very excited about the success of the evening where “volunteers, activists and community leaders would be celebrated for all their hard work and commitment to the LGBT community.”

“We get together once a year as a community and share in each others’ successes and accomplishments,” she said.

Rothan said that the community had been though some hard times recently, with divisions showing around the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other political concerns, especially with an upcoming presidential election season.

“We fight like any family, but tonight we put that all aside,” Rothan continued, “and this is like a holiday.”

While the event does raise money for the day-to-day operations of Stonewall, Rothan said that the celebratory aspects of the event were just as important.

Addressing the crowd, she said, “Our job is not yet done in terms of equality.”

The Stonewall Volunteer Service Award this year went to Jan Richards. Rick Harrison was also nominated in this category.

The two Media Award nominees were Out in America and Outlook Weekly, with the latter winning.

The Community Service Award, given to an organization which has made a significant contribution to the quality of life for the LGBT, community was won by the Columbus AIDS Task Force, beating out JP Morgan Chase.

The Leadership Award, which honors exceptional leadership in the LGBT community, went to Angie Wellman, executive director of Kaleidoscope, a LGBT youth organization. Also nominated was Chad McCoury, who recently became president of CATF.

The Rhonda Rivera Human Rights Award was given to longtime activist Chris Cozad, former president of the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization and one of the organizers of the Lesbian Business Association, who beat out Dorothy Painter and Meral Crane.

The final award of the evening, the President’s Award, was given to Michael Council and Steve Shellabarger for their support of Stonewall, particularly this past year when the organization went through some growing pains.

The evening brought out approximately 200 guests despite competing with the OSU-Michigan State football game earlier that evening.




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