This post originally appeared on the SAGE blog.
On October 17, LGBT leaders and allies came together for the 21st Annual SAGE Awards & Gala to honor those whose contributions have profoundly enhanced the LGBT aging community. Held at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, the event drew more than 800 attendees and raised a record $900,000 on behalf of LGBT elders across the country. SAGE CEO Michael Adams, who was recognized on his 10th year leading the organization, described the night as “a true testament to the generous support of our many partners.”
SAGE unveiled two new national programs designed to help LGBT elders combat social isolation and strengthen ties across generations. In November, in partnership with the GLBT National Help Center, SAGE will launch the first-ever hotline for LGBT elders. In 2017, SAGE Table, produced in partnership with AARP, will bring together LGBT people and allies for a unique intergenerational experience in their communities.
Additionally, Diverse Elders Coalition member Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, was honored during the event with the Paula Ettlebrick Community Service Award. During her remarks, Dr. Cruz stated, “For NHCOA, it’s an honor to join SAGE in the fight for the human rights of LGBT older adults. These SAGE Awards represent a commitment to continue being a voice for minorities. United we can make a difference!” Dr. Cruz dedicated her award to the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting, many of whom were Latinx and LGBTQ. (For SAGE and NHCOA’s joint statement on Pulse from June 2016, click here.)
In his speech, SAGE participant and White House “Champion of Change” George Stewart drove home the importance of these programs: “It’s no exaggeration to say that SAGE has added at least 10 years to my life.” Watch “Nothing About Us Without Us,” a video made for the event:
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.