According to organizers, 900 people attended the 15th annual Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala in Raleigh on Feb. 27. Dinner attendees were treated to music from local entertainers, speeches by singer Clay Aiken and actress Meredith Baxter and remarks from gay veteran Eric Alva and HRC president Joe Solmonese.

HRC awarded three Carolinas community members. David and Joan Parker received the Equality Legacy Award. Charlotte high school student Mary Elizabeth Lennon received the individual Equality Trailblazer Award. Also, Greensboro’s Guilford Green Foundation received the Equality Award for an organization.

Gala co-chairs Joni Madison, Maddy Goss and Robert Dogens said the dinner committee worked hard to keep costs low in order to give donors and attendees the biggest bang for the donation dollars. According to Madison, the dinner was the least expensive in its entire 15 year history. : :

Gala co-chairs (lef-right) Maddy Goss, Robert Dogens and Joni Madison.
Gala co-chairs (left-right) Maddy Goss, Robert Dogens and Joni Madison.

Transgender advocate Janice Covington presents the Equality Legacy Award to David and Joan Parker of Greensboro.

Mary Elizabeth Lennon is presented the Equality Trailblazer Award by Joni Madison.

Guilford Green Foundation’s co-chairs (left-right) Ivan Canada and Cile Johnson and executive director Luck Davidson receive the Equality Award on behalf of their organization.

This article appears in the March 20-April 2 print edition.