In this red-hot political season, some local partisans are taking a few hours off Oct. 25 to celebrate a select few at the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club's 36th Anniversary Leadership Awards.
''This is a really good opportunity to come out and express appreciation for a great group of leaders who've done a lot to move equality forward,'' says Lateefah Williams, president of the LGBT group, among the District's highest-profile political groups. She confirms that all the recipients are expected to attend the Thursday soiree.
Paul Kuntzler will be receiving the Dr. Frank Kameny Pioneer Award, named for the Kuntzler's fellow club co-founder. For contributions to political development/social advocacy, the club will honor Danielle Moodie-Mills, adviser for LGBT policy and racial justice at the Center for American Progress, with the Bustamonte and James Zais Political Development Award. The Wanda Alston Democratic Service Award, recognizing support for greater LGBT participation in government and advocating for Democratic principles, will go to Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats. David Pérez, president of the GLBT Latino History Project, is receiving the club's Justice Award for promoting justice and equality for LGBT people. The Heil-Balin Community Service Award, the club's recognition for ''outstanding and unique community service'' in advancing LGBT equality, will honor longtime local transgender activist Jeri Hughes of Transgender Health Empowerment. The Richard Rausch Equality Award this year goes to an organization, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, taking the lead on passing Question 6 on Election Day and securing marriage for same-sex couples in the state. The final award, the Desi Deschaine Young Democrat of the Year Award, which honors a young Democrat for advocacy of Democratic principles, is going to Greg Cendana, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.
Williams welcomes the celebration, explaining that while the D.C. club may not worry much about how the heavily Democratic District will vote in the presidential election, the Stein Democrats have nevertheless found plenty in this election season to keep busy.
''It's easy for people to get complacent here in D.C., but there are so many fights in neighboring jurisdictions,'' she points out. ''Stein has been doing a lot in Virginia. We're traveling all over, but it's worth it.''
The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club's 36th Anniversary Leadership Awards reception is from 7 to 10 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Hotel George, 15 E St. NW. Tickets start at $50, available at steindemocrats.org.