The Astraea Foundation and our Host Committee invite you to a powerful night of art, film, music, cocktails, food, and friends as we honor the frontline LGBTQI activists and cultural changemakers who are leading the new era of resistance.
Together we will celebrate these leaders whose commitment, passion, and work inspire others and meaningfully advance LGBTQI justice in our communities and around the world. Funds raised from this event will support Astraea’s mission to provide critical resources to grassroots activists and organizations across the globe.
6121 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
6:30pm - 9:30pm
For nearly 40 years, the Astraea Foundation has been supporting activism and action in areas where the need for resources is greatest; in fact, Astraea’s support often represents the first major infusion of funding for a vast majority of grantee partners. We prioritize the leadership of LGBTQI women, people of color, trans* people, intersex individuals, and youth, believing that the people most frequently marginalized are often best positioned to inform and lead.
Our supporters are individuals, institutions, government agencies, donor alliances, and private sector companies committed to achieving justice, respect, and equality for everyone. We invite you to join us in this work.
Celebrating the leaders, activists, and community organizers who make our movement stronger.
Stay tuned for announcements about additional honorees!
Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. She is cofounder of Black Lives Matter, founder and board member of Dignity and Power Now, and also a performance artist. She’s received many awards for activism and movement building, including being named a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century by the Los Angeles Times.
Jennicet Gutiérrez is a transgender Latina organizer from México. She was born in Tuxpan, Jalisco. She is an organizer with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. Jennicet believes in the importance of uplifting and centering the voices of trans women of color in all racial justice work. Jennicet will continue to organize in order to end the deportation, incarceration and criminalization of immigrants and all people of color. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Jorge Ramos has been called "Star newscaster of Hispanic TV" and Time magazine put him on one of the covers for its “100 most influential people in the world” (2015 issue).
Ramos has been the anchorman for Univision News since 1986. In addition Ramos hosts “Al Punto”, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering in-depth analysis of the week’s top-stories and exclusive interviews with newsmakers. Also, he is the anchor for the program “Show Me Something” for the English-language network Fusion.
He received the Maria Moors Cabot award from the University of Columbia and has won 10 Emmy awards (including an honorary Emmy and a Lifetime Achievement award). In 2017 he received the Walter Cronkite award for excellence in political journalism for “advancing the conversation about what divides us as a country.”
He is the author of twelve books and bestsellers. “Take a Stand; Lessons from Rebels” is his last book.
Paola Ramos is currently the Spokesperson for the New York City Council, where she is amplifying NYC's legal efforts to protect immigrants and using creative venues to advance the City's agenda of justice and equity. Before this, Ramos was the Deputy Director of Hispanic Media for Hillary Clinton's 2017 Presidential Campaign, where she ensured Secretary Clinton's message and platform was reaching the Latino and immigrant communities across the country. Ramos has worked in democratic politics and campaigns throughout her entire career. She first joined the Obama Administration in 2009 as the Scheduler to President Obama’s environmental policy advisor. Later, Ramos joined the Office of the Vice President, becoming Dr. Jill Biden’s Special Assistant and helping to manage Dr. Biden’s policy initiatives. She also worked on Vice President Biden’s team in Chicago during the 2012 re-election campaign. Additionally, Ramos has field work experience in Guatemala and Palestine, where she’s collaborated on international development projects.
Ramos received her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is a proud Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and American Latinx.
Bruce Cohen is an Academy Award-winning producer of film, television, theater, and live events. He won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 2000, alongside producing partner Dan Jinks, for Sam Mendes’ AMERICAN BEAUTY, which took home a total of five awards at the ceremony. He earned additional Best Picture nominations for Gus Van Sant’s MILK and David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and also produced both the film and stage musical adaptation of Tim Burton’s BIG FISH. Most recently, Cohen produced the boxing drama BLEED FOR THIS, starring Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart and directed by Ben Younger. Cohen is currently in post-production on Danny Strong's REBEL IN THE RYE, starring Nicholas Hoult as iconic author J.D. Salinger and Kevin Spacey, which had its World Premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Equally at home in both live and scripted television as he is in film, Cohen is an executive producer on “When We Rise,” the 8-hour ABC miniseries, created and written by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black, tracking the LGBTQ rights movement from 1972 to today, that aired in February. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for producing the “83rd Annual Academy Awards," and also served as an executive producer on the Bryan Fuller-created series “Pushing Daisies” as well as the event specials “Movies Rock” for CBS and “Broadway at the White House” for TLC.
Additionally, Cohen is a devoted activist for LGBTQ and human rights issues. He co-founded OUT THERE, a collection of Entertainment Industry Activists in 1995 with Nina Jacobson and also served as president of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind the successful Supreme Court case to have California's Proposition 8 declared unconstitutional. In 2016, he produced the viral acapella “Fight Song” video for the Democratic National Convention and “Holy Shit, You’ve Got to Vote!” for Funny or Die. Cohen also frequently produces off-screen live events, such as Andrew Lippa’s concept opera I AM HARVEY MILK, the Family Equality Council’s “Night at the Pier,” and “We Stand United,” the pre-inauguration day rally in front of New York’s Trump International Hotel.
Once an assistant director under Steven Spielberg, Cohen is now a member of the Academy, the Director’s Guild of America and the Producer’s Guild of America, having served two terms as Vice President of Motion Pictures. He is a four-time producer of the PGA Awards and produced the inaugural Governor’s Awards for the Academy in 2009.
Cohen currently resides in New York City with his husband and their daughter.
To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, click here.
Alice Y. Hom, co-chair
Mónica Taher, co-chair
Lynn Harris Ballen
Ryan Li Dahlstrom
Maria De La Cruz and Shawn Hogedorn
Moez Kaba and Bjorn Lundberg
Robin Coste Lewis
Naomi Sobel and
Rabbi Becky Silverstein
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization focused on advancing LGBTQI human rights around the globe. For 40 years, we have supported a global network of LGBTQI activists, artists, and organizers working to advance gender, racial, economic, and social justice.
Astraea is a multi-gendered, multi-racial, multi-identity organization that grew from a lesbian feminist vision. We are committed to securing rights for all and upholding strong values such as self-determination, community empowerment, movement building, and connection across issues and generations.
Tickets to Fueling the Frontlines begin at $250, however $100 Next Generation tickets for those who are 35 years old and younger are available. Opportunities to sponsor a ticket for activists who would not be able to attend without your support are also available. For more information, contact Loran Hamilton, at 646.416.4083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To purchase tickets online, visit: astraea.org/ftf2017.
Ruby is the activist/visionary behind of Casa Ruby, the only bilingual, multicultural LGBTQI organization in Washington, DC. A transgender woman, Ruby was part of the coalition to clarify D.C. Human Rights Act, which changed the D.C. Human Rights Act to include protections for gender identity or expression, a change that took effect in March 2006.
Since its founding in 2004, Casa Ruby has grown substantially, now filling three community spaces, including the original home/administrative office, a transitional home for queer homeless youth, and a transitional home for adults. Along with housing, each site provides a safe haven for transgender and gender-nonconforming folks that includes food service, job training, advocacy for employment and advocacy for access to appropriate medical care.
Jean Hardisty was a researcher, writer, and activist who spent her life studying the political right wing. After eight years teaching political science, she left academia to found Political Research Associates (PRA), a think tank and small publishing house that has done foundational analysis on the various movements that make up the growing spectrum of right-wing organizations and ideologies. After she retired from PRA, Jean was a Senior Scholar at The Wellesley Centers for Research on Women at Wellesley College.
Jean’s book, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers, was published in 1999 by Beacon Press. She also published numerous articles in The Nation, The Women’s Review of Books, and The Public Eye, the publication of Political Research Associates. She served on a number of boards, including The Ms. Foundation for Women, The Highlander Center for Research and Education, and The Center for Community Change. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Community Change, Inc. and was inducted into The City of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Her most recent work included a report on race and child care in Mississippi, a study of the mechanics of institutional racism, and research and writing on neoliberalism, a little-understood form of late capitalism that underlies and explains the current concentration of power in the hands of wealthy elites in the United States and internationally.
Her lifelong interest in race and racism, women’s oppression, and issues of poverty and injustice led her to explore the roots of reactionary power and the corrosive influence of the right. As a lesbian, she had been particularly sensitive to homophobia and crimes against LGBT people. She had been a supporter of Astraea since its founding in 1977.
To learn more about Jean's life and work, visit: www.jeanhardisty.com.
Elyse D. Cherry is CEO of Boston Community Capital (BCC). Cherry helped found BCC in 1984, and has been integrally involved in its growth from a start-up organization to what is, today, a national model for community investment.
Under her leadership, BCC has invested more than $1 billion in underserved communities, financing affordable housing, jobs and opportunities for low-income people. Elyse is a leader in the community development finance industry with a reputation for finding solutions to tough problems. The Washington Post called her pioneering foreclosure-relief program, the SUN Initiative, a “national model for fighting blight;” former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called it “an innovative strategy to prevent occupied homes from becoming vacant and creating a strain on the community.” In 2014, the White House recognized her as a Champion of Change for her work to bring solar power to low-income communities; Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly inducted her into its Circle of Excellence; and Women’s eNews named her one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.” Cherry currently serves on the Massachusetts Governor’s Foreclosure Impacts Task Force and the Advisory Committee to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. She is past Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassEquality. She has served as Vice Chair of the Opportunity Finance Network. Elyse is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Northeastern University School of Law. She started her career as a VISTA Volunteer at the East Tennessee Community Design Center.
As a Black femme lesbian, sexual health educator, strategist and organizer, Daunasia Yancey exemplifies the best of Boston. She has spent her life advocating for the vital resources that underrepresented communities need.
Daunasia has been organizing locally since age 13, but her passion quickly grew into a full fledged commitment while working for the Boston Alliance of LGBT Youth (BAGLY), Fenway Health and for the Boston LGBT Adolescent Social Services (GLASS).
Working as a strategist, Daunasia has successfully served on the Board of Directors for both BAGLY and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC). Daunasia's work has been featured in the documentary, Secret Survivors, (2012) and she has been honored with the Colin Higgins Foundation’s National Youth Courage Award (2011) and the Fenway Health Trailblazers Award (2014).
Most recently, Daunasia has responded to the international call to action of the Black Lives Matter movement, organizing direct actions, community building opportunities, and leading the fight for Black liberation, in Boston and beyond. She is currently taking time off from pursuing an (expensive) degree in Public Health while continuing to change the world.
Vernita Gray was one of Chicago's longest and most prolific activists for LGBT rights.
She and her wife Pat Ewert were the first same-sex couple married legally in Illinois, Nov. 27, 2013, after winning a court victory because of Gray's critical health situation. That paved the way for additional court rulings that hastened marriage in Illinois ahead of the original June 1, 2014 implementation of full marriage equality in the state.
Gray worked in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for 18 years, including in the position of victim/witness assistant, where she helped LGBT crime survivors, and as an outreach worker on LGBT issues. Prior to that, she owned the popular Sol Sands restaurant in Uptown.
For her work, Gray received dozens of honors. She was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1992. She received the prestigious Stonewall Award, the Horizons Community Services Human First Award and many other accolades.
Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Media Group, which produces Windy City Times, Nightspots, and other gay media in Chicago. She co-founded Windy City Times in 1985 and Outlines newspaper in 1987.
She started in Chicago gay journalism in 1984 at GayLife newspaper, one month after graduating with a news-editorial degree from Drake University.
She is also the editor and author/co-author of several books, including Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America (2012) and Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage (2010). Her most recent book, co-authored with Owen Keehnen, is Vernita Gray: From Woodstock to the White House (2014).
Baim was executive producer of the lesbian feature film Hannah Free, (2008, Ripe Fruit Films) and Scrooge & Marley, a gay Christmas Carol, (2012). She was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1994 and was named a Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 leader in 1995. She is also creator of That's So Gay!, a 2,400-question LGBT history trivia game.
Julio Rodriguez is one of the founders and current Board President of the one of the few Latino LGBTQ non-for-profit organizations in Chicago and the Midwest, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA).
Founded in 1989, ALMA has been at the forefront of issues impacting the Latino LGBTQ community both locally and nationally.
In addition to his work with ALMA, Rodriguez has also served on a number of other local, state and national boards such as the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, the Illinois Latino Prevention Network, Illinois Anti-Violence Authority, the Center on Halsted, the National AIDS Prevention Coalition and the national Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization and the Color Triangle.
He is a native of Chicago, Puerto Rican, and has a degree in business from DePaul University. In 2004, he was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the Community Leadership Award for Philanthropy in 2003 from the Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy.
It’s fair to say that Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is quite literally putting a new face on philanthropy.