EQCA, California’s Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization, works on behalf of LGBT civil rights at the state level.
It employs a variety of strategies, including initiating and backing legislation, lobbying legislators and other governmental officials, building coalitions, and encouraging other organizations and individuals to become involved in the political process.The Equality California (EQCA) 2005 Awards Gala was held on Saturday, August 20, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
(r. to l.) EQCA honoree Marina Gatto, 17-year-old Mercy Catholic High School student, close family friend Ms. Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, and Marina’s two moms, Ramona and Arzu. Marina and her mothers began working for LGBT rights when she was nine years old. She has testified before the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, appeared on the “Today Show” and “The Montel Williams Show” and was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. She is the Goddaughter of Assembly member Mark Leno.
Amos Brown accepted EQCA’s 2005 Gavin Newsom Visionary Award on behalf of the California Chapter of the NAACP, for its support of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which was sponsored by EQCA. The California Chapter was the first chapter in NAACP history to openly and officially support such legislation. Posing with Brown is EQCA honoree, 17-year-old Marina Gatto. The award is named for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who made history last year when he issued marriaged licenses to same-sex couples. Brown said he felt compelled to support EQCA’s marriage equality legislation because, from his days as a young civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s, he has believed in freedom and equality for all. No one, he said, should be discriminated against for any reason.
Brian Graden (left), with his partner Jimmy Nguyen, received EQCA’s Equality Leadership Award for his creativity and vision in helping shape a generation’s attitudes toward LGBT people for nearly a decade. Graden is President of Entertainment for MTV Networks’ Music Group and President of Logo, the first 24-hour ad-supported network cable channel that was specifically created for the LGBT audience. Graden was also executive producer of the television series, “South Park,” which features LGBT characters.