The Charlotte Pride Executive Committee was pleased to honor these Champions of Pride Award recipients in 2017.
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
Given annually to honor exceptional leadership, service to the community and those who champion LGBTQ causes that impact the Charlotte community and beyond.
The Hon. Al Austin, former Charlotte City Councilmember
Alvin “Al” Austin was recently appointed as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Outreach Director for the North Carolina Department of Transportation by the Deputy Chief Secretary. He is a former member of Charlotte City Council representing District 2 covering Uptown, north and northwest Charlotte. Former Councilmember Austin is recognized this year for his outspoken leadership on behalf of the LGBTQ community during Charlotte’s debates on public accommodations and non-discrimination ordinances, as well as his steadfast support of the ordinances during debates on HB2 and its replacement bill in the legislature.
The Hon. LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Councilmember
LaWana Mayfield is currently seeking her third term representing District 3 on Charlotte City Council. Since 2011, when she was elected as the city’s first openly LGBTQ public official, she has made affordable housing, job creation and public safety her priority. In 2014, she was awarded the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellowship and completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government program. Councilmember Mayfield is recognized this year for her outspoken leadership on behalf of the LGBTQ community during Charlotte’s debates on public accommodations and nondiscrimination ordinances, as well as her steadfast support of the ordinances during debates on HB2 and its replacement bill in the legislature.
Outstanding Ally Award
Given annually 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.
Call Diane Troy a PFLAG Mom and watch her face light up with pride. Her heartfelt message of hope and acceptance to families with LGBTQ loved ones defines her work as a mentor and community volunteer. Diane is recognized for her outstanding community work on behalf of LGBTQ youth and families. She is the former president of PFLAG Charlotte and currently serves on their board while also volunteering as PFLAG National South Atlantic Regional Director.
Young Catalyst Award
Given annually 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.
Vinnie Holt is a 15-year-old queer trans person of color from Charlotte. He is passionate about rights for all humans, no matter who they are, who they love, and where they come from. He is an artist and musician, and is passionate about the intersectionalities of activism and art. Being a queer youth, he strives to advocate for rights and representation of LGBTQ+ young people. Vinnie is recognized this year for his brave advocacy at his school and in the wider community. He recently appeared in the VICE documentary “Youth Interrupted.”
Rebby Kern currently serves at the Assistant Director of School Outreach at Time Out Youth Center in Charlotte, NC. Rebby works directly with students, school personnel, administrators and district-level administrators to provide youth leadership programs and educate school systems and educators on best practices and policies for more inclusive schools for LGBTQ youth across the region. Rebby previously served as Executive Assistant the President and CEO of the Victory Fund & Institute in Washington, D.C. Rebby previously served three years as Media, Communications and Programs Manager at Campus Pride, a Charlotte-based, national organization creating safer, more LGBTQ-friendly college campuses. Over the past year Rebby participated in the Community Builder’s Initiative Leaders Under 40 Program. This year-long program developed young leaders to engage deeper in the Charlotte community to identify root causes and conditions of systemic barriers and create pathways to new solutions and amends to these barriers. Rebby also spends countless hours engaging with the recovery community in Charlotte serving individuals who have been affected by substance and alcohol abuse. If you look closely around Charlotte, you may even find the face of this young catalyst on the side of AerialCLT in Uptown Charlotte. Rebby is recognized for their outstanding service for LGBTQ young people and the broader LGBTQ community.