roycooperGREENSBORO, N.C. — The Equality NC Foundation has announced that the state’s Attorney General Roy Cooper will serve as the keynote speaker at its 2013 gala, “A Celebration of Home,” on Nov. 9 at the Empire Room, 203 S. Elm St.

qnotes reported on Oct. 15 that equality advocates in North Carolina have praised Cooper’s supportive personal remarks with regard to same-sex marriage. “The Attorney General has long been an advocate for equal rights for all people and we applaud him for publicly aligning with a fast-growing majority of North Carolinians who now support the legal relationship recognitions between committed LGBT couples,” Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said in a release.

Cooper was a vocal opponent of anti-gay Amendment One.

During the evening’s program, the Equality NC Foundation Gala Awards will be presented to:

N.C. Sen. Josh Stein, Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award; Janet Joyner, Bob Page Equality Champion Award; N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham, Legislative Leadership Award; and Freedom Center for Social Justice, Organization of the Year Award.

joshsteinN.C. Sen. Josh Stein
Stein, of Raleigh, voted against Amendment One and believes that sexual orientation and gender identity should be included in the state’s workplace non-discrimination law and actively worked to include sexual orientation and gender identity the School Violence Prevention Act, the K-12 anti-bullying legislation that passed the General Assembly in 2009.

janetjoynerJanet Joyner
Joyner, of Winston-Salem, has been a decades-long proponent of safe schools and as such helped to formulate the statewide anti-bullying policy proposal to the State Board of Education in 2004, but it failed. Subsequently, it did become a basis for the model of legislation for 2009’s School Violence Protection Act.

triciacothamN.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham
Cotham, of Charlotte, was an opponent of Amendment One and has spoken out against discrimination as well. In 2013, Cotham upped the pro-equality ante, sponsoring historic legislation that would offer statewide workplace protections for all state employees and teachers. The bill hasn’t yet passed, but Cotham remains committed to seeing it through.

tonyiarawlsFreedom Center for Social Justice
Bishop Tonyia Rawls, founder of Charlotte’s Freedom Center for Social Justice, will accept an award honoring her organization. The work of the center focuses on enhancing the quality of life by increasing the number of healthy options and opportunities available to low income communities, communities of color, sexual minorities and youth.

Registration is $160 until Oct. 27 and will increase to $190 until the day of the event. Active-military duty rate is $50.

The Proximity Hotel, 704 Green Valley Rd., serves as the hospitality host for the gala. Reservations can be made online. Be sure to ask for the special gala rate when booking accommodations. Cost is $159/night for king loft and $169 for double queen. Transportation to the gala is included in the room rate.


— Lainey Millen & Matt Comer

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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.