CNN’s Don Lemon receives Davidson/Valentini Award from Van Jones and condemns white supremacy in powerful speech
GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, honored CNN anchor and correspondent Don Lemon and Y Combinator president Sam Altman at the 2017 GLAAD Gala on September 9 in San Francisco. The event recognizes tech innovators and storytellers who advance LGBTQ acceptance and also funds GLAAD’s work to grow LGBTQ inclusion in digital and social media. Television personality Ross Mathews hosted the event.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi surprised the sold out crowd of over five hundred people when she appeared to present Altman with the Ric Weiland Award. In her speech, Leader Pelosi spoke about rising threats to LGBTQ Americans and called out President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members saying: “It’s a move that hurts and humiliates the thousands of Americans who serve in our military with strength and courage.”
CNN commentator Van Jones presented the Davidson/Valentini Award to CNN commentator Don Lemon. In his remarks, Don Lemon praised out journalists including Anderson Cooper, Robin Roberts, Rachel Maddow, Gio Benitez, and Thomas Roberts.
Lemon went on to condemn white supremacy saying:
“We have to point out outright bigotry and racism – and as a man of color, I certainly know it when I see it, I can smell it coming- and to make sure that some uninformed people don’t get confused that there are no fine or good Nazis or white supremacists anywhere and it’s not about both sides.”
The GLAAD Gala in San Francisco included moving performances by Julia Michaels and poet Royce Mann. Tommy Dorfman and Katherine Langford from Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why,’ YouTubers Kat Blaque and Riley J. Dennis, DJ and singer Zeke Thomas, activist Blair Imani, and trans veteran Laila Ireland were among the special guests and presenters.
The previous day, GLAAD held its inaugural Rising Stars Luncheon and presented three LGTBTQ young people with grants for advocacy projects. The GLAAD Rising Stars program empowers and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ change makers, whose advocacy is changing their local communities and the culture at large. In San Francisco, recipients of the Rising Stars grants were chosen for their work that uses social media, digital media, or technology to enhance LGBTQ experiences online and in their communities. More info here: https://www.glaad.org/blog/
The 2017 GLAAD Gala San Francisco is presented by Ketel One Vodka and Wells Fargo.