The National Center for Lesbian Rights Celebrates 33 Years of LGBT Legal Advocacy

Annual gala to be held on Saturday, May 1 at Metreon Cityview in San Francisco

(San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2010) — Vicki Randle, lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band, will be honored at the 33rd Anniversary Celebration for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 1, 2010, at Metreon Cityview. NCLR is the nation’s premier national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR will also honor Will Phillips, the ten-year-old fifth grader from Arkansas who gained international attention for his refusal to say the United States Pledge of Allegiance at West Fork Elementary School because of its false promise of “liberty and justice for all.”

“While this past year has been a rollercoaster of victories and setbacks, we are more committed than ever to our core mission of advancing the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are especially thrilled to have young Will Phillips, whose conviction to hold true to his values and principles has inspired all of us and given us an overdue renewed sense of faith during these difficult times. The example he has shown—incredible patience and perseverance in the face of threats and ridicule—provides all of us who are dedicated to making a difference with an extraordinary model to follow.”

In addition to celebrating the achievements of the past year, NCLR will honor Randle and Phillips for their commitment to advancing the rights of the LGBT community.

Randle, a vocalist, percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, will receive the Voice and Visibility Award, which recognizes an individual who has helped to give voice and visibility to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Randle has worked openly as a lesbian in the music and television industry for more than 20 years. For the past 14 years, she has been the lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band led by Kevin Eubanks, playing the diverse and eclectic mix of styles that makes the band so unique. Her musical career began as a singer and acoustic guitarist, and she divided her early career between political causes such as anti-war, gay and women’s rights rallies of the 70’s and 80’s and showcase clubs around Southern California, notably the Ice House and the Bla Bla Cafe. Celebrated singer-songwriter and pioneer of women’s music Cris Williamson will present the Voice and Visibility Award.

Arkansas fifth-grader Will Phillips captivated the nation when he innocently stated his support for LGBT equality. During an interview with CNN, he explained, “I’ve grown up with a lot of people and I’m good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I’m not going to swear that they do.” To recognize his courage and support, NCLR will honor Phillips with the Fierce Ally Award, presented by Judy Shepard, activist and founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The 33rd Anniversary Celebration is NCLR’s annual signature event that draws a sell-out crowd of 1,700 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters. Festivities begin at 8 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as emcee.

Presenting Sponsor of the Anniversary Celebration is Wells Fargo. Our Gold Sponsors are AAA and American Airlines: Rainbow.

For more information on NCLR’s 33rd Anniversary Celebration, visit http://www.nclrights.org/2010ann.

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