2019 Unity Gala Honorees
Our work is not possible without the incredible leadership and innovation of our 2019 Unity Gala Honorees!
If you've been following us on social media you've seen the impressive list of honorees for the 2019 Unity Gala. We cannot wait to celebrate these folks and the progress we've seen over the last 50 years with each of you on October 25th!
Jay Williams: 2019 Horizon Award recipient. The Horizon Award is given to a rising star in Oklahoma's LGBTQ+ Community. As a young, Black, gay man serving as associate pastor in the Methodist faith, Jay challenges systems of oppression within the Church and leads his predominately white and straight congregation through incremental but substantial personal growth in a patient, loving and persistent manner. At 22 years old, Jay is a shining example in our community and we’re proud to bear witness to his diligence as an activist for the LGBTQ community in Oklahoma.
Representative Chelsey Branham: 2019 Lawmaker of the Year
This has been a groundbreaking year for visibility in our community, with open representation spanning a range of elected positions. At the Capitol, Rep. Branham not only holds vital space as an openly LGBTQ member of the House, but she’s paramount to ensuring issues of significance to the community don’t get lost in an echo chamber and we’re grateful for her vigilance throughout the 2019 legislative session.
City Councilor James Cooper: 2019 Lawmaker of the Year
This has been a groundbreaking year for visibility in our community, with open representation spanning a range of elected positions. As OKC’s first openly LGBTQ councilperson and the first Black councilperson elected outside of Ward 7, James ran a campaign that brings awareness and visibility to our community and blows us away with his palpable passion.
Kendra Wilson-Clements: 2019 Torch Award
The Torch Award is given to an inspirational figure in the LGBTQ community. Kendra is a co-founder of Matriarch, an organization that supports the social welfare of Native women to create positive change within our communities, runs We The People Consulting, focused on growing business, leaders, and tribal governments, and is an instructor at Sovereign Community School, a charter serving indigenous communities. Kendra brings her two-spirit identity to her role at Sovereign School and works to ensure every child in her care is empowered to express themselves fully. Kendra’s hard work and passion for LGBTQ2+ communities inspires each of us to build toward an Oklahoma that values, respects, and empowers each of us.
The Diversity Center of Oklahoma: Community Partner Award
The Community Partner Award is given to an organization that partners closely with Freedom Oklahoma to make inroads for the LGBTQ community. The Diversity Center of Oklahoma works to reduce barriers in the Gender Diverse community and their families. By providing individual and group support services, and serving as a home to many other partner agencies, The Diversity Center is able to provide the LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse communities with unfettered access to holistic, inclusive healthcare. Freedom Oklahoma is honored to partner closely with The Diversity Center, working together to create programs that serve the LGBTQ+ community.
Mayor Breea Clark + The City of Norman: Ally of the Year Award. This Summer, the City of Norman became the first city in Oklahoma to adopt comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ residents. Under the leadership of Mayor Breea Clark and with the overwhelming support of the Council, the City took a bold step to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination in employment, in housing, and in public accommodations. At Freedom Oklahoma, we believe allyship is a verb. Thank you to Mayor Breea Clark and the City of Norman, in consultation with tireless and inspiring local activists, for translating their stated support of the LGBTQ community into action.