Each year, the Capital Pride Planning Committee selects a number of individuals to honor as “Capital Pride Heroes.” These honorees have gone above and beyond the call of duty to bring full equality to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. This year, nine individuals have been chosen in recognition of their outstanding efforts. These Heroes will be recognized in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 11th, 2005.
A. Cornelius Baker
Cornelius Baker has been one of the HIV/AIDS community’s most successful organization builders and an effective advocate on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS locally and nationally. With an activism career spanning two decades, he is the former executive director of Whitman-Walker Clinic and the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA).
Ruby Jade Corado
Born in El Salvador, Ruby Jade Corado has been a powerful voice on transgender issues within the Latino community. She was one of the leaders who spearheaded the lobbying efforts to get La Clinica del Pueblo to provide a safe space for transgender people to meet. Corado was also one of the backers and initiators of the Fotonovela project, which portrays the daily lives of transgender people.
Mindy Daniels has been an activist and advocate in the D.C. area for nearly 30 years. Through her law practice focused on LGBT issues, Daniels has provided legal assistance on issues such as employment discrimination, personal injury, estate planning and recognition of same-sex couples. She has been involved with Food & Friends, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) and the Metropolitan Regional HIV/AIDS Planning Council.
As executive director of Equality Maryland since 2003, Daniel Furmansky quickly established a record of legislative accomplishment in Maryland. During his tenure, the Maryland Legislature passed three measures broadening LGBT rights in the state: the Medical Decision Making Act, the Transfer and Recordation Tax Fairness Act and the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the hate crimes bill. Equality Maryland was also able to prevent any anti-LGBT legislation from being passed during this time. Before his work with Equality Maryland, Furmansky was a senior field organizer for the Human Rights Campaign, where he provided information, training and support to state and local GLBT organizations, leaders and constituency groups in the Western United States.
A longtime Latino LGBT leader, Jose Gutierrez is a journalist, poet and HIV/AIDS activist. His poetry has appeared in POZ magazine, POZ en Espanol, Art and Understanding, SIDA ahora, United by the Ribbon, HIV Alive and SPOONFED. He’s currently working on a history of the Latino LGBT community of Washington, a project designed to celebrate, educate and preserve the positive contributions of the city’s Latino LGBT community.
Pastor Robert Holum
Pastor Robert Holum is a shining example of a religious leader who embraces and advocates for the rights of the LGBT community. He has an extensive history of public advocacy for the full inclusion of LGBT people with the life and ministry of the congregations and organizations where he has served as pastor — most recently Luther Place Memorial Church and the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. He was an early and outspoken advocate for the blessings of same-sex couples and has performed blessings for such couples since 2003.
A champion for the GLBT community, Andy Litsky has played a large role in creating the friendlier atmosphere the community enjoys in D.C. As a person living with HIV/AIDS and as the chair of his Advisory Neighborhood Commission, he has formed collaborative relationships, identified and implemented successful advocacy strategies and been a constant presence on the city’s political landscape. Litsky has helped make a tremendous difference in the city’s response to HIV/AIDS.
Jerome Sikorski is a longtime resident of Washington and a longtime volunteer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic. He was a volunteer at the Gay Men’s VD Clinic, the forerunner of the Clinic, and is a founding incorporator of Whitman-Walker Clinic. He is the second-longest serving member of the Clinic’s board of directors and has served as its vice-chair and as chair of numerous committees. Sikorski has given countless hours of service over many years to the growth and development of the Clinic.
A founder of Equality Loudon, David Weintraub has been at the forefront of Virginia’s LGBT suburbanites and exurbanites working to change the legal and social atmosphere in traditionally unfriendly areas. Weintraub has organized meetings with local politicians, encouraged residents to speak to school boards, had editorials published in local newspapers, and worked to provide social outlets for the county’s growing LGBT population. His contributions have made a tremendous difference for suburban and exurban LGBT people.