HRC Nashville sets Equality Dinner for Feb. 19

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The Nashville Steering Committee of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced that its 16th annual Equality Dinner will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19 at Nashville’s Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. A full evening of entertainment will begin at 6 p.m.

The theme for this year’s dinner – sponsored by Bridgestone – is "The Art of Equality." The gala will celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the Nashville arts community and will feature many diverse, local arts organizations in Nashville.   

Tickets are on sale now at the early bird rate of $130 per ticket. The deadline to purchase early tickets has been extended until Friday, Feb. 4.

“The purpose of the ‘early bird’ pricing is to make this event available to as many people as possible,” said 2011 Equality Dinner Co-Chair Jeremy Davis in a press release. “We also have fellowship and scholarship programs to help people who otherwise might not be able to come, and I’d urge anyone interested in attending to visit our website for more information.”

Scott Ridgway and Jon Glassmeyer will be recognized with the Community Service Award during the ceremony. The Community Leadership Award honors community service, community organizing and leadership in the trenches of our community and the greater fairness-minded community.

Beginning with the Nashville Children’s Theatre board in 1994 and continuing through his presidency with the Nashville Grizzlies Rugby Football Club, Glassmeyer has a significant history of community service. His list of leadership roles includes tenure as Artrageous President from 2003-2009. Glassmeyer is also involved with Nashville Pride, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Out Central, and the Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association.

As Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN), Ridgway works to promote community awareness of the signs of suicide and intervention strategies for the prevention of suicide. Within the LGBT community, Scott has been a member of HRC for several years and has served on the Nashville Pride Board from 2005 to 2008. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for OutCentral and for Artrageous, and recently completed his fourth year of service on the Metro/Nashville Human Relations Commission.

The 2011 Equality Award recipients are Teri Sogol and Jewish Family Service. The Equality Award rewards service, commitment and actions that honor the mission of HRC, fighting for full equality for all GLBT people.  

A 28 year veteran of Jewish Family Service, Sogol has been instrumental in establishing and obtaining funding for specialized projects such as an English as a second language program and a full range of adoption services, including placement for LGBT individuals and couples. Jewish Family Service (JFS) is a private, nonprofit organization providing professional social services to all residents of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, without regard to religious affiliation.

HRC President Joe Solmonese will serve as the featured speaker, and other speakers include Eric Alva, veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, John Berry, Director of the US Office of Personnel Management and musician and singer-songwriter, Chely Wright. Congressman Jim Cooper will be on hand to welcome attendees.

This year’s Equality Dinner, co-chaired by Jeremy Davis, Keith Hinkle and Debra Hyslop, will begin with a silent auction, with items ranging from luxury trips to artwork to restaurant gift certificates. The Jugg Sisters of NashTrash Tours, longtime advocates of GLBT equality, will once again emcee the live auction.

To learn more about the 2011 HRC Equality Dinner and to purchase tickets, visit www.theequalitydinner.com.