From left to right, Chuck Hicks, Alexandra Andrea Beninda and Anne Phelps.
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) has announced it will honor three people nominated as Distinguished Service Award recipients for 2015. The awards, annually given to individuals and organizations that have served the LGBT community in the D.C. metropolitan area, will be presented at GLAA’s annual reception, now celebrating its 44th anniversary, on Thursday, April 23.
This year’s honorees are Chuck Hicks, Alexandra Andrea Beninda, and Anne Phelps. Hicks, the founder and chair of the DC Black History Celebration Committee and an HIV/AIDS prevention advocate, has previously collaborated with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities on several historical multimedia productions. He is a founder and chair of Bread for the Soul, a nonprofit organization providing emergency assistance to those in need of clothing, food or money, as well as a former board member of the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Hicks has also served on a number of other committees and commissions dealing with aging and African-American affairs and on the MLK Holiday Commission.
Beninda, a member of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, is a longtime transgender advocate and community volunteer. She is most known for her work with Equality Virginia, as a former board member of local LGBT Democratic-leaning groups such as the Virginia Partisans and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and as a board member of The DC Center, where she is currently serving.
Phelps, a D.C. Council employee, has largely made her impact behind the scenes, helping to foster, revise and push through pieces of pro-LGBT legislation as general counsel for the Committee on Transportation and Public Works, the committee director of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation and Planning, and the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, under the leadership of former Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). At Judiciary, she helped work on and pass various pieces of legislation such as the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act, the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act, the Marriage License Issuance Amendment Act, the Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Clarification Amendment Act, the Repeal of Prostitution-Free Zones Amendment Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act. She currently serves as legislative director and an advisor on LGBT issues to current Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.
“All three of this year’s honorees, Chuck, Alexandra, and Anne, share the quality of grace,” said Richard J. Rosendall, president of GLAA. “In a town full of people who do more self-promotion than work, these three people combine dedicated effort with a generous spirit and a lack of overweening ego. They are not just effective community servants, they are nice people. It is always a pleasure to deal with them.”
GLAA’s 44th Anniversary Reception will be held Thursday, April 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Policy Restaurant and Lounge, 1904 14th St. NW. Tickets cost $55 each and can be purchased by visiting glaa.org/anniversary or by calling 202-667-5139. For more information on the organization, visit glaa.org.