It is always good to see LGBTQ people be honored for their leadership and courage, and last night was no exception as The Plaza played host to the annual Point Honors Gala. The evening’s honorees are two major people in the entertainment game: Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba and Academy Award Winner Dustin Lance Black, who wrote the phenomenal film “Milk” as well as the recent ABC miniseries “When We Rise”.
The Point Foundation, is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. The evening raised much-needed funds for Point’s higher education scholarships, as well as mentoring and leadership programs.
“Hamilton” star Javier Muñoz, who introduced Uzo Aduba who won the Courage Award, said that she was the main reason why he was looking forward to the Point Honors Gala. “My dear dear friend. She is my favorite, and I’m excited to see her and praise her for something she deserves completely”.
When accepting the award, Uzo said- “I want you to know that each of you is a member of my chosen family and that every single day – so long as I have breath in my lungs – I chose to fight for your cause, to stand beside you, and serve as a reminder that we see you.”
CNN’s Don Lemon introduced his Emmy Award-winning MSNBC peer Thomas Roberts, who received the Point Impact Award; presented to an individual making a significant impact on improving the LGBTQ community. Accepting the award, Roberts said:
“I decided long ago that a successful professional life and a successful personal life didn’t need to be mutual exclusive. That’s what I truly have wanted younger people. I firmly believe we can all have an impact when we just show up and remain honest.”
Richard Socarides, who served as a special assistant and LGBTQ adviser in the Clinton White House accepted the Point Leadership Award on Dustin Lance Black’s behalf. Black was unable to travel from London to New York for the event due to U.K. visa regulations which would impact his upcoming marriage to British Olympic diver Tom Daley. In a video message, Black conveyed to the audience at The Plaza his deep commitment to LGBTQ rights and social justice.
“Until we have increased understanding and dispel the myths, the stereotypes, and the fears around being an LGBTQ person in this world, we must have safety nets like Point Foundation to take care of our young people.”
Reflecting on the inspiring evening, Point Foundation Executive Director and CEO, Jorge Valencia, said, “We are so appreciative of having sponsors and supporters that made it possible for Point to celebrate three champions of diversity and inclusion who are role models for our LGBTQ scholars.”
Comedian Emma Willmann hosted the festive evening which featured performances by Matt Doyle and Emily Skeggs. Additional celebrity participants included Bob the Drag Queen (who said that he would win Season 9 easily, with a cheeky grin), Ivory Aquino, Michelle Collins, Gideon Glick, Taylor Louderman, Denis O’Hare, Zuri Marley, Ashley Park, Charles Socarides, Valerie Smaldone, Peter Staley, Nico Tortorella, and others.