[Ed. Note — This writer will be among the recipients of Equality North Carolina’s annual Equality Champion Awards. The following is compiled from a release.]

RALEIGH, N.C. — Statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina today announced the recipients of their 2011 Equality Champion Awards. The honors will be presented at the group’s annual gala dinner on Nov. 12 in Greensboro.

Bob Page, left, with partner Dale Frederiksen and their two sons.

Among the most high-profile recipients this year is Greensboro businessman and philanthropist Bob Page. The slate of annual Equality Champion awards will be renamed in his honor.

Founder of Replacements, Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal, silver and collectibles, Page has been a longtime, ardent supporter of Equality North Carolina and its mission, the group says.

“His support for LGBT work in North Carolina and other places has made a critical difference, as have the achievements that have grown out of that support,” the group said in a message emailed to supporters today. “A visionary for the LGBT movement, a generous supporter of worthy charities, a brilliant business leader, a family man–Bob Page is our favorite person of this or any year and the reason we’re naming ALL our Equality Champion Awards in his name forever and ever.”

The group will also honor University of North Carolina School of Law professors Maxine Eichner and Holning Lau.

“Maxine Eichner and Holning Lau conducted critically important research on the harms of the anti-LGBT amendment this year, making it possible for Equality North Carolina to publish ‘The Truth About the Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment,'” the group said. “Their powerful data and potential testimony were so threatening to the proponents of the amendment in the North Carolina House that they blocked testimony about it, thereby censoring public opinion.”

Longtime supporter and Wilmington, N.C.-resident Bo Dean, a former Equality North Carolina board member, will also be honored, as will Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, pastor of the Hickory, N.C., Clinton Tabernacle AME Zion Church.

Equality North Carolina says Spearman has been an outspoken voice against a proposed anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment.

“Reverend Spearman has become only more eloquent on behalf of LGBT North Carolinians, seeing the anti-LGBT amendment for what it is pure and simple, nothing but discrimination,” the group said.

As previously announced, state Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) will be honored as the organization’s Legislator of the Year.

Equality North Carolina’s annual conference will be held the same day as the group’s gala. Conference activities will take place at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s Elliott University Center. The dinner will be held in downtown Greensboro’s Empire Room.

For more detailed information on this year’s award winners, visit equalitync.org/news1/equality-nc-announces-2011-equality-champion-awards.

For more information on the events, visit equalitync.org/news/conference.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.