CHICAGO — Center on Halsted is pleased to announce that its inaugural Trailblazer Award will be presented to Senator Tammy Baldwin at its annual Human First Gala being held the evening of Saturday, April 15, in Chicago at The Geraghty.
Senator Baldwin will accept the award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the LGBTQ+ community; her history-making role as the nation's first openly gay politician elected to the U.S. Senate (and Wisconsin's first woman elected to the Senate); and her dedication to the larger goals of equality and equity. Most recently, Senator Baldwin's leadership culminated in the bipartisan passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that helps protect the freedoms of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages at a time when such rights are under renewed attack.
Born in neighboring Wisconsin, Senator Baldwin has bravely shone a light on her mother's struggle with mental illness, chronic pain, and drug abuse. She has been a champion of community-based prevention and treatment, and authored and led the passage of the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act, bipartisan legislation signed into law by President Obama that strengthens oversight of the VA's opioid prescribing practices and provides safer and more effective care for our nation's Veterans.
In 1998, Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District shattered the state's glass ceiling and elected Tammy as the state's first female member of Congress and the nation's first openly gay challenger sent to Congress. She served seven terms in the House of Representatives, serving on the Budget Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Energy and Commerce Committee. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tammy helped craft the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, leading the effort to include the provision that now allows young people to remain on their parents' health insurance plans up to age 26.
Senator Baldwin continues to champion the passage of The Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
At the gala, the Center will also present its Human First Awards to Ann & Jackie Kaplan-Perkins, longtime community leaders and activists who met through their work on the Board of Horizons Community Services, the organization that would grow into the Center, and Roderick K. Hawkins, who has worked to advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in roles across government, the nonprofit world and academia.
Additionally, the Center will present U.S. Bank with its Corporate Impact Award for its commitment to its LGBTQ+ employees and the broader community.
For complete details on the gala, please visit centeronhalsted.org/gala/ .
About Center on Halsted
Center on Halsted advances community and secures the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people of Chicagoland. As the Midwest's most comprehensive LGBTQ community center, the organization now also includes Center on Addison, an LGBTQ Senior Center, and Center on Cottage Grove, a space to better serve LGBTQ community members living on the South Side, especially those vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day. Learn more at www.centeronhalsted.org .