The Charlotte Pride Executive Committee was pleased to honor these Champions of Pride Award recipients in 2015.
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.
Harvey Milk Award: Joshua Burford
Given annually to an individual or a couple to honor exceptional leadership, service to the community and those who champion LGBTQ causes that impact the Charlotte community and beyond.
Though living in Charlotte for only a short time, Joshua Burford has had a tremendous impact on local LGBTQ community conversations, priorities, leadership, culture and history. In particular, he has nearly single-handedly orchestrated the creation of the first-ever Charlotte LGBTQ Community Archive and has begun collecting and preserving local history that spans over six decades. He is currently organizing a regional project that will connect southern LGBTQ archivists and provide increased access to historical materials. In addition to his community service, he works with LGBTQ students at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in his position as assistant director for sexual and gender diversity at the campus’ Multicultural Resource Center.[expand title=”Read more about Joshua Burford“]Joshua Burford is a native of the Deep South who has spent the last 17 years working with and for the LGBTQ community. Josh is an archivist, historian of American Queer culture, and an activist whose personal mission is the preservation and collection of Southern Queer history. Josh moved to Charlotte in 2012 where he took the position of Assistant Director of Sexual & Gender Diversity at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Josh spends his free time working with local Queer youth on projects related to American Queer history and hanging out with his friends. Josh’s next project is the creation of an online portal to house Queer historical materials from across the Southern United States. [/expand]
Outstanding Ally Award: The Hon. John Autry
Charlotte City Council, District 5
Given annually to an individual or a couple to honor those who do not identify as LGBTQ, but who have stalwartly supported the LGBTQ community with a demonstrated, ongoing passion and commitment to better LGBTQ lives.
First elected to Charlotte City Council in 2011, John Autry has been among the most committed and outspoken straight allies in local government. He has taken time to attend LGBTQ community events, in addition to supporting a wide range of other community organizations in District 5, an East Charlotte constituency that includes portions of the most heavily LGBTQ-populated ZIP code in the State of North Carolina. In the spring of 2015, Autry was the only straight-identified member of City Council to stalwartly oppose a compromise ordinance package that would have left some members of our LGBTQ community less protected in several local non-discrimination protections. In speaking against the compromise proposal, Autry cited his love for his lesbian daughter and stood strong when facing backlash for his vote, telling local media: “I’m comfortable with my position and if faced with the same options tonight, I would do the same thing. In matters of civil rights, who should be excluded?”[expand title=”Read more about City Councilmember John Autry“]I come from humble beginnings. There is no reason I should be sitting where I am. So, when I’m gone I’d like to feel like I’ve had a positive impact on my community. Life has taught me many lessons. One of the most important is appreciation for my fellow human in all their varieties. Appreciating others enriches our experience and adds spice to life. Thank you to the Executive Committee of Charlotte Pride and the LGBTQ community for honoring me with this recognition.[/expand]
Young Catalyst Award: Gabby Hubert
Given annually to an individual or a couple to recognize a young adult leader under the age of 30 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.
A rising junior at Parkwood High School in Monroe, N.C., Gabby Hubert organized her school’s Day of Silence activities in 2014 and, in 2015, helped to expand its observance to two other schools in her school district. Over the past two years, she has engaged nearly 200 students, a significant portion of her school’s population, been featured in local press for her activism, raised money to donate LGBTQ-themed books to her school library, donated portions of her raised money to national and local LGBTQ youth organizations and spoken on LGBTQ issues in class presentations. Additionally, in June 2014, Hubert served as a page for the North Carolina Senate.[expand title=”Read more about Gabby Hubert“]Gabby Hubert is 17 years old and a rising junior at Parkwood High School, where she serves as student director of the all-girls acapella group (the Rebel Clef), president of the National Honor Society, and vice-president of the International Thespian Society. She is very involved in campus theatre and chorus, and is a two-time winner and one-time judge of the school Poetry Slam. This summer she has internships as a student chair at Promising Pages and writing articles for Carolina Weekly Newspapers. She has also served as an NC Senate Page and a Charlotte Observer Blumeys Student Critic. She was recently honored with the “Shortest in Class” and “Most Likely to Bring Up the Gays in Class Discussions” awards by her AP English class (#EddyDreamTeam). When she’s not campaigning for safe and inclusive school climates for all students, she is a dweeb who loves reading Lost and Beat Generation literature, analyzing Sherlock Holmes and Les Miserables adaptations, and pretending she doesn’t have to worry about college applications yet. She would like to thank her grandfather, Scott Carter, and her history teacher, Don Mather, for nominating her for this incredible and humbling honor, and Ramin Karimloo for touching her arm that one time. Most of all, however, her gratitude goes out to the activists that predate her, who made it safe for her to be so openly committed to the cause, and who made this title something she can be proud of without being afraid.[/expand]
Special Recognition — Chosen annually by Charlotte Pride co-directors to honor one or more individuals, organizations or companies who have demonstrated an ongoing and dedicated commitment to the spirit of Pride in Charlotte, either through their support of Charlotte Pride or past Pride organizations or events. These special awards will be presented to award recipients at the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade on Aug. 16.
Last updated: May 25, 2016