On Thursday, April 22nd we had nearly 800 attendees join us at this year’s Commonwealth Dinner, presented by Altria. If you were one of those attendees, the staff and board at Equality Virginia would like to thank you for tuning in to the virtual program and making the night a huge success. We had friends tune in from all across the state, from Manassas to Wytheville, and even some viewers from Canada!
Together, we celebrated another year of legislative victories, heard from community voices, and honored our 2021 OUTstanding Virginians. Although virtual, our staff and board could feel the energy radiating from everyone in attendance and we were once again reminded of your unwavering dedication to making equality real in the Commonwealth.
Because of you and our amazing sponsors Equality Virginia raised over $145,000 in total at our annual fundraiser which will help to support our general operating budget. You donated your ticket cost, texted to give, and called during the special ask portion of the evening hosted by Bolivia Carmichaels (courtesy of Artisan Auctions) and helped us raise close to $38,000.
Plus, since the Dinner was recorded, you can always visit our livestream page or YouTube to experience the virtual celebration again but, we invite you to keep reading and check out a few highlights from the evening.
“Congratulations to all of the OUTstanding Virginians! Wow how lucky are we to have such an amazing and vibrant community! Can’t wait to celebrate in person again soon!<3!!!!”
“Amazing to see all of this incredible progress. Thank you EV team, advocates and lawmakers for all you do!”
“It is breathtaking how far Virginia has come in just a few years. Thank you to EV and all the activists and advocates who make this Commonwealth fairer and more just each and every day!”
“Virginia is such a more welcoming place since I arrived in 1973. It’s just phenomenal what has happened here for LGBTQ+ people. Thank you EV!”
“Vote your values, then fund your priorities! This is amazing!!”
“A beautiful and inspiring program and work. Thank you.”
“Great virtual event, EV! Thank you to all the organizers!”
“I am so moved by the stories, and am very grateful to all who have worked to make progress in Virginia! This event is beautiful. Thank you again for all you do!!”
We had an interactive pre-show sponsored by Williams Mullen…
We kick-started the night learning how to craft a couple cocktails and mocktails with our friends Tory and Cassie at Mosaic Catering. Then, EV’s very own Mario and Vee prepared the Springtime Cold Carrot Salad live, thanks to the guidance and recipe of Laine Meyers, owner and chef at Oro Richmond. In case you missed it, you can still grab your ingredients and enjoy a refreshing Stonewall Spritz all Spring long!
We celebrated our legislative victories and had a visit from LGBTQ affirming lawmakers from across the state…
Every year at the Dinner, we welcome our elected leaders who are working tirelessly to push equality forward at the state capitol. After learning about the 11 pieces of pro-equality legislation that passed during this year’s General Assembly session, we had a special visit from LGBTQ affirming legislators. Over sixty of our elected leaders joined us in celebration and it was so fun to see their familiar faces on the virtual slide show and at the after-party social!
We heard from changemakers who help shape the work we do…
Local community leaders like Aurora Higgs, Nicolle Campa, Rabbi Michael Knopf, and Phoenix Keesee tuned in to share why they are empowered to continue the fight for full, lived equality in the Commonwealth.
“As a parent [of a transgender youth] and ally, it was important for me to join Equality Virginia’s advocacy efforts to support LGBTQ+ Virginians and help secure the protections they need and deserve.” – Nicolle Campa
“I am a queer visionary and a doctoral student studying the influence trans people have on digital media. I’m also an activist and that has been a labor of love and passion, but it would not have been possible if I didn’t have partners like Equality Virginia. I first started my activist career attending their Lobby Days where I met politicians like Danica Roem and since then, I’ve testified on bills for her that protect trans people from discrimination within the state insurance program.” – Aurora Higgs
We gave you a behind-the-scenes look into advocacy and programming during this digital age…
EV’s Program Director, Thalia and Policy/Communications Coordinator, Andaiye, shared how they managed to pivot and adapt our advocacy and programs to the digital space. We also heard directly from the people who joined us at our virtual events from TIES, TLC, TASB, and Bagels & Bills!
Thanks to CarMax we recognized our 2021 OUTstanding Virginians…
We are so proud to celebrate this year’s honorees who have gone above and beyond to ensure that LGBTQ Virginians feel safe, welcome, and accepted in their communities. Alpha Omega Kappa Fraternity, Evelyn BruMar, Charley Burton, Nyonna Byers, Emily Sproul, and Adam Trimmer were all nominated and selected because of their dedication to increasing equality in our state. Learn more about them and watch the 2021 OUTstanding Virginian segment sponsored by Carmax.
We virtually danced the night away at our Facebook sponsored After-Party Social….
From Britney Spears to Diana Ross, the virtual After-Party Social was a moment to remember! Virginians from all across the Commonwealth turned on their cameras and danced in celebration.
Thank you all for joining us at this year’s Dinner…
We are so fortunate to have so many incredible supporters who we can work with and learn from. There is still work to be done to ensure full, lived equality for all LGBTQ Virginians but with your help, we will continue to make monumental change, together.
Thank you to our sponsors...
This year, our sponsors went above and beyond to help Equality Virginia both meet and exceed our fundraising goal. The ongoing support our new and longtime sponsors continue to fund our work to engage, educate, and mobilize our community in support of LGBTQ equality.