RALEIGH — An Obama Administration official and liaison to the LGBT community has been announced as this year’s keynote speaker at the Equality North Carolina Conference, as the group plans to honor the state’s only openly gay or lesbian legislator at their annual gala the same day.

The statewide group announced Tuesday, Oct. 6 that Brian Bond, the White House’s Deputy Director of Public Engagement, will deliver the keynote at the event, slated for Nov. 14 on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

“As one of the members of our community who works closely with the President, we’re honored to have Brian Bond join us in North Carolina. Our staff had a chance to hear Brian speak this summer and we immediately knew we wanted bring him to here,” Equality North Carolina Executive Director Ian Palmquist said in a release. “We’re sure he’ll give our conference participants real insight into how change is happening at the state and national levels.”

Prior to joining White House staff, Bond worked for the Obama for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee. He’s also served as executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

The group announced earlier that state Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover), the legislature’s only openly gay or lesbian member would be the recipient of this year’s Legislative Leadership Award. She’s being honored for her role in passing the state’s landmark anti-bullying legislation, the School Violence Prevention Act.

“As the lead Senate sponsor of the anti-bullying bill, Julia fought every step of the way to pass this bill with critical protections for LGBT young people,” Palmquist said. “Julia’s hard work has changed the tone of the debate on our issues in the Senate and was an integral part of our effort to protect kids in school and make history for LGBT North Carolinians.”

Past recipients of the award include state Reps. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) and Paul Luebke (D-Durham).

The conference on the Greensboro campus will include several speakers and breakout sessions led by advocates and community members across the state. Linda Bush, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project, will also speak during the conference. In the evening, the group will hold its annual gala at the downtown Empire Room.

info: www.equalitync.org

Matt Comer

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