Honoring our local champions
The Champions of Pride are Charlotte Pride’s annual awards. Along with selections for each year’s Charlotte Pride Parade Grand Marshals, the Champions of Pride Awards seek to recognize those whose work and dedication exemplify the spirit of Pride. Our Champions endeavor to empower and unite LGBTQ and allied people through their leadership, service, and support. Champions understand the importance of celebrating our past, present, and future while advancing LGBTQ rights and visibility.
2022 Parade Grand Marshal & Legacy Award Recipient
The Grand Marshal of the Charlotte Pride Parade represents the best of LGBTQ leadership, service, and community. The Grand Marshal is the honorary lead of the parade riding behind the honor guard and is among the first to be recognized by the parade emcees. Charlotte Pride’s Legacy Award is a special award given only from time to time at the discretion of the Charlotte Pride Board of Directors. The Legacy Award honors individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding, lifelong commitment to community and service, leaving a legacy and impact over many years or decades.
Debbie Warren is honored this year as the Grand Marshal of the 2022 Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade and the recipient of Charlotte Pride’s 2022 Legacy Award. Debbie is one of Charlotte’s most visionary and dedicated community leaders and a longtime friend, mentor, and hero to many. For three decades, Debbie led RAIN, which she founded as the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, as president and CEO. In its early days, RAIN’s mission was to connect people in faith communities to those who were very sick with AIDS. Over the ensuing decades, RAIN — which now operates as a national model for education, advocacy, and prevention — grew to meet an ever-changing community and its needs. The organization now provides medical case management, bilingual education and case management, prevention programs, youth and adult support groups, mental health services, advocacy and education. Debbie retired from her role at RAIN in 2021. Debbie holds a Master of Arts from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ken., and received her Clinical Pastoral Education at Carolinas Medical Center. Her early work as a hospital chaplain and caregiver with the House of Mercy informed her vision for RAIN. Without a doubt, many people are living full and happy lives today because of Debbie’s life work, her fierce advocacy, and her strong belief in love, compassion, care and healing. Quite simply, the Charlotte community — and, in particular, the LGBTQ and HIV communities — would not be where we are today without Debbie’s strong, decades-long legacy of passionate community service. Charlotte Pride is humbled to welcome Debbie Warren as this year’s parade grand marshal and a recipient of the Charlotte Pride Legacy Award.
THE HON. TAMARA SHEFFIELD
MAYOR PRO TEM, SALISBURY
2022 Harvey Milk Award Recipient
Given annually to an individual to honor exceptional leadership, service to the community, and those who champion LGBTQ causes that impact the Charlotte community and beyond.
The Hon. Tamara Sheffield, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Salisbury, is honored this year with Charlotte Pride’s Harvey Milk Award. Tamara is recognized for her long leadership and service to the LGBTQ community in Salisbury and the greater Charlotte metro region. Tamara has worked for Frito Lay for 27 years and is a co-founder of EQUAL, the organization’s LGBTQ employee resource group. She is a founder and current legacy member of Salisbury Pride, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2017, Tamara was the first openly LGBTQ person elected to serve on the Salisbury City Council, where she currently serves as mayor pro tem. Tamara has lived her entire adult life in Salisbury and is the proud mom of Eddie.
DR. HOLLY SAVOY
2022 Outstanding Ally Award Recipient
Given annually to an individual to honor those who have stalwartly supported the LGBTQ community with a demonstrated, ongoing passion, and commitment to better LGBTQ lives.
Dr. Holly Savoy has been serving the LGBTQ+ community as a licensed psychologist in private practice for over 15 years. Dr. Savoy received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a founding member and past president of Charlotte Trans Health and a World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Certified Provider. She is known to many as a trans ally through her commitment to trans rights and healthcare advocacy through her clinical work, non-profit leadership, publications, and trainings. Being visible as a trans ally, she has also come to appreciate how the role of bi-invisibility in her own narrative informs her allyship. She strives to center allyship around authenticity of self as she continues to advocate for visibility, acceptance, and affirmation of all sexualities and genders.
2022 Youth Catalyst Award Recipient
Given annually to an individual to recognize a young adult leader under the age of 24 who is an “up-and-coming” leader within the community and/or whose contributions to the community have carried significant impact over the last year.
Devin Green (they/he) is a transmasculine 19-year-old and graduate of the University of North Carolina of Pembroke. At UNC-Pembroke, Devin studied political science and served in several roles, including as a member of the LGBTQ student organization’s executive board and a senior representative and democratic engagement liaison for the Student Government Association. Outside of school, Devin has served as a congressional intern with the LGBTQ Victory Institute, a Rural Youth Empowerment Fellow with Equality North Carolina, and the chapter coordinator of PFLAG Charlotte. Devin is an incoming 1st-year law student at UNC School of Law and hopes to continue their advocacy work by becoming an attorney specializing in civil and human rights litigation.
Past Champions of Pride & Parade Grand Marshals
Harvey Milk Award: O’Neale Atkinson
Outstanding Ally Award: Darryl White, Sr.
Legacy Award: Shann Fulton
Legacy Award — In Memoriam: Johnny Johnson (1958-2020)
Harvey Milk Award: James Rice III
Outstanding Ally Award: Ashley Nurkin
Young Catalyst Award: Audrey Ansel
Stonewall Award: Matt Comer
Grand Marshals: Charlotte Black Pride and The Hon. John S. Arrowood, N.C. Court of Appeals
Harvey Milk Award: Gerald Gurss and J. Donte Prayer
Outstanding Ally Award: Liz Fitzgerald
Young Catalyst Award: Nikolai Mather
Stonewall Award: Richard Grimstad and Craig Hopkins
Grand Marshals: Richard Grimstad and Craig Hopkins
Harvey Milk Award: The Hon. Al Austin, Charlotte City Council; and The Hon. LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Council
Outstanding Ally Award: Diane Troy
Young Catalyst Award: Vinnie Holt and Rebby Kern
Grand Marshals: Monica Helms and The Hon. Jeff Jackson, N.C. Senate
Harvey Milk Award: Candis Cox and Matt Hirschy
Outstanding Ally Award: The Hon. Jennifer Roberts, Mayor of Charlotte
Young Catalyst Award: Ashley Williams
Stonewall Award: Riley Murray
Legacy Award — Inaugural Recipients: Dr. Rhett Brown and Sue Henry
Legacy Award — In Memoriam: Blake Brockington (1996-2015) and Donaldson Wells King (1942-2014)
Grand Marshal: The Hon. Jennifer Roberts, Mayor of Charlotte
Harvey Milk Award: Joshua Burford
Outstanding Ally Award: The Hon. John Autry, Charlotte City Council
Young Catalyst Award: Gabby Hubert
Stonewall Award: Dave Webb
Grand Marshals: Jermaine Nakia Lee and The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Harvey Milk Award: Tonda Taylor
Outstanding Ally Award: The Rev. Dr. Nancy Kraft
Young Catalyst Award: Andraya Williams
Grand Marshals: The Hon. Patsy Kinsy and The Hon. LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Council
2013 — Inaugural Awards
Harvey Milk Award: Janice Covington
Outstanding Ally Award: Beverly and Bill McIntyre
Young Catalyst Award: Juan Carlos Ramos
Grand Marshals: Wesley Mancini and Bishop Tonyia Rawls