The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization, will honor six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald at its 2018 HRC Greater New York Gala February 3 in Manhattan.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will speak at the event, which will also feature the presentation of the Corporate Equality Award to Diageo.
McDonald will receive the HRC National Equality Award, recognizing her “outstanding efforts in standing up for the LGBTQ community.”
“From the Broadway stage to the silver screen, Audra McDonald has captivated and inspired audiences around the globe in a truly profound way,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. “Most importantly, she uses her incredible talent to help make the world a better place by speaking out for the vulnerable and the oppressed. We are proud to recognize such a vocal advocate for LGBTQ equality at this year’s Greater New York Gala.”
“Senator Gillibrand is on the front lines of the battle against the Trump-Pence administration's politics of hate, fear, and discrimination,” added Griffin. “From fighting back against Trump’s transgender military ban to pushing for LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, Senator Gillibrand stands shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community as a champion of equality. We are honored to welcome her to the 2018 HRC Greater New York Gala.”
In addition to her stage and screen awards, in 2015 McDonald received a 2015 National Medal of Arts—America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts—from President Barack Obama. She is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ equality and underprivileged youth. In 2014, she joined the Covenant House International Board of Directors, which oversees programs for homeless and at-risk youth in 27 cities in six countries across the United States, Canada, and Latin America. In 2011, she joined pro-equality marchers in Albany to lobby New York state senators in the days leading up to their groundbreaking vote for marriage equality, and in 2009, she joined Twitter to promote the cause, using the Twitter handle @AudraEqualityMc.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with a collection of over 200 brands in 180 countries.
“Diageo has consistently proven their steadfast commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality,” stated Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Workplace Equality Program. “Diageo is a leader in corporate policies and practices that embrace their LGBTQ employees and harness the strength of diversity and inclusion. We are proud to recognize Diageo with the HRC Corporate Equality Award.”