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(c) by Mary Griggs

This past Saturday was the 2009 HRC New Orleans Dinner. It was an evening filled with beautiful people, awards to the deserving and, most of all, excellent speeches. This was the Louisana Human Rights Campaign 17th Annual Dinner and it was a celebration of Living Out Loud.

The Equality Award went to Michael Hickerson for his tireless work to ensure equal rights and access to services and opportunities for all people, especially people of color. The Corporate Equality Award went to The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living for their initiatives to engage disparate populations affected by tobacco and second hand smoke, most notably for including the LGBT community.

HRC Director of Diversity, Cuc Vu gave an inspirational talk about her family’s harrowing journey from the fall of Vietnam and the journey that the LGBT community has before us.

The keynote speaker was Patricia Clarkson, the Emmy winning actress and daughter of New Orleans City Council Member Jackie Clarkson. A hometown gal who has played Blanche Dubois on stage, Patricia rightfully paid homage to our city and heritage by starting with a quote from Tennessee Williams, “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” The speech built from there until the crowd was on their feet.

I think you might enjoy seeing it, so I’m posting it here.

Thanks to all the HRC members who worked so hard to make the evening a success and for their efforts to advance equal rights for our community. As they said in the program: “Living out loud. It is how we have come so far today.”

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