The twinkling lights hanging around the Michael’s On East ballroom did their job of brightening up the room, but they matched the evening’s purpose even more.
The 2017 Suncoast Celebration carried the theme of “Lights of Hope: Celebrating 20 Years of Equality Florida.” Guests mingled throughout the ballroom while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and listening to the sounds of A Deeper Shade of Soul.
Since 1997, Equality Florida, which is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to fighting for equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community, has helped win marriage equality in Florida, worked to repeal the ban on gay and lesbian adoption, worked to pass more than 170 local policies and protected more than two million students from anti-LGBT bullying. The 2017 Suncoast Celebration served as way to recognize and celebrate these efforts and accomplishments.
During the event, Marcia Foote was honored as the 2017 Voice for Equality Honoree. She shared her story with the crowd, which began with protesting the Vietnam War. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Equality Florida named Donna Hanley as the 2017 Youth Advocacy Honoree.