Community Spirit Awards 2018
Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
The Southwest Center serves over 30,000 Arizonans annually through its programs and services, and has been one of the leading health service providers for the Arizona LGBTQ+ community since its founding in 1990 as Phoenix Body Positive. The Center offers STI screening, HIV prevention and support, health education, nutrition services, behavioral health, medical and supportive case management, health & wellness programs, LGBTQ+ friendly primary medical care, nutrition services and an on-site vitamin shop, family support services, and community outreach initiatives located in downtown Phoenix at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness. Nearly 80% of those who receive direct services from SWHIV are low-income and about half live at or below the federal poverty level. The Center’s goal is to provide a safe space for culturally appropriate and financially accessible medical and support services.
Aunt Rita’s Foundation
Since 2005 Aunt Rita's Foundation has operated in Phoenix, Arizona as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, but has a rich history dating back to the 1980's. In 1986 three individuals founded Aunt Rita’s Foundation in the beginning years of the epidemic. They saw in the mid 80’s a lack of resources and recognized something needed to be done, as they watched close friends die from the disease with nowhere to turn.
Randy Schrock, Gary Mangum and Skip O’Neill set on a humble quest to raise money in annual bake sales to provide relief for those living with, and dying from, AIDS. When federal government assistance through the Ryan White Care Act began in the early 1990's, funding became more plentiful and the need for Aunt Rita’s Foundation waned, and the final bake sale was held in 1996. In 2005, HIV/AIDS agencies came together and supported the return of Aunt Rita’s to help offset declining federal support.
Howard & Patrica Fleischman
Genuine Concepts has a rich history of creating unique environments, that quickly become favorites within their communities. Beginning with the opening of their first The Vig location in 2006, business partners, Tucker Woodbury and Jim Riley have created a stable of neighborhood restaurants, boutique bars and venues throughout Arizona, including five Vig locations, The Little Woody, Linger Longer Lounge, The McMillan, Cobra Arcade Bar, The Womack, Ladera Taverna y Cocina and Downtown Deli Tavern. For more information about Genuine Concepts please visit the website at genuineconcepts.us or Social Media sites at www.facebook.com/genuineconcepts or Instagram @genuineconcepts
Noel Guevara is the Coordinator of Special Events and Community Outreach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. She entered her sixth season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018, planning the organization’s award-winning community efforts. She is a part of the team’s industry leading fundraising efforts that have made charitable contributions exceeding $55 million to nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona since 1997. The D-backs and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation projects and programs are improving our communities and creating opportunities for our most at-risk children and families.
Mayor Phil Gordon
Councilwoman Laura Pastor
Phoenix native Laura Pastor is a fifth-generation Arizonan, who graduated from St. Mary’s High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Arizona State University. Her grandparents and great-grandparents worked in Eastern Arizona’s mining communities, and both her parents began their careers as classroom teachers.
For four years, Laura was also a classroom teacher in the Roosevelt and Isaac Elementary School Districts, working primarily with at-risk students. During that time, she created a volunteer program to provide after-school tutoring, and authored an accountability program for teachers, students, and parents.
Laura is chair of the City Council Parks, Arts, Transparency & Education Subcommittee and serves on the following subcommittees: Neighborhoods, Housing & Development, Public Safety & Veterans and Transparency and Infrastructure.
Kristofer V. Lee
Landen C. L. Smith more widely known as Kristofer V. Lee is a male entertainer. He has called the Valley of the Sun home since June of 2006 and has been performing for 3 years. His first experience with drag came 10 years ago at a contest hosted by Mya McKenzie and he was hooked on the over the top looks, theatrics and stage personas of the entertainers drag attracts. Since then he has been a staple face around the drag community, and when he decided to take to the stage himself was already well established here in Phoenix. For Kristofer being Mister Phoenix Pride 2017 was beyond a dream come true. It was a vehicle that he found that gave his life purpose, and an amazing tool to affect change in the community. What the 16 months meant to him serving first as Mister Imperial Court Pride 2017 and then Mister Phoenix Pride 2017 was indescribable. Kristofer has won various awards such as the ArizonaDrag.com Diamond Crystal Rising Star of the Year Award in 2015, and the Male Performer of the Year Award in 2017. Currently, Kristofer is Prince Royale of Reign 13 for the Imperial Court of Arizona which allows him the ability to continue to be instrumental in giving back to various non profit organizations throughout our community.
Eva Angelica Stratton
Eva started getting involved in the LGBTQ movement in Lansing MI in 2006, where she attended her first Pride Festival. From there she soon became involved with the Michigan Pride Organization and many local pride organizations throughout Michigan. She moved to Phoenix from Grand Rapids MI in the summer of 2015 to expand her career in Non-Profit and LGBTQ Services. Eva became a part of the Phoenix Pride team during the year she served as Miss Phoenix Pride in 2017, where she worked with the community to raise over $40,000 for the Phoenix Pride Scholarship. In September of 2017, she was elected to the Board of Directors and served as the Audit Committee Chair as well as on the Education and Outreach Committee and now serves as Program Manager. Eva as also served with other non-profit organizations including Arizona’s own “Read Better Be Better”, where she mentored 7th graders to assist 3rd graders in literacy comprehension skills. She works hard for her community in hopes that one day our community won’t have to work so hard for their basic rights. You can catch Eva every Friday at BsWest in Scottsdale for the premier Elements cast.
Alek Robbins has been an active member within the Phoenix community since 2015 when he moved here from Southern California. Originally from a small town in Northern San Diego, he began volunteering with numerous organizations at a young age. Once he moved to the Phoenix area, he instantly dove in and began volunteering with non-profits throughout the valley. Some of his most notable accomplishments have been with Toastmasters where he has been awarded his Advanced Leader Bronze and Advanced Communicator Silver designation. He is currently attending Western Governors University to obtain his B.S. in Marketing Management and is expected to graduate in 2020.
Parade Awards 2018
BEST PARADE FLOAT
At Target, we embrace diversity and inclusion and strive to give everyone access to the same opportunities. By creating equal opportunities for all, we can better understand and serve our guests, connect to the communities we serve and build a stronger team.
To serve our guests and ensure their perspectives are represented, we build diverse teams. We create an environment where differences are valued and where team members can bring their authentic selves to work.
Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of what we do at Target, and Target is proud to support Phoenix Pride. #takepride
BEST PARADE WALKING GROUP
Betty H Fairfax High School GSA
The GSA members are loud and proud at Betty H. Fairfax High School in Laveen. They have hosted Transgender Awareness Day, Ally Week and have marched in the Homecoming Parade. Every year their members and allies continue to grow in numbers! GO STAMPEDE!
BEST PARADE VEHICLE
GLSEN Phoenix works to ensure that all students in every K-12 school in Greater Phoenix are valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Following a research-based approach, GLSEN Phoenix works in 150 schools supporting student-led efforts to positively impact their school communities, training educators and administrators to create and sustain safe, inclusive, respectful and healthful environments, and partnering with decision makers to ensure that comprehensive and inclusive safe schools policies are considered, passed and implemented.
BEST PARADE VEHICLE
Easley’s Fun Shop
We are a family business operated by the 2nd 3rd and 4th generations of the Easley family. We have been in business for 71 years and pride ourselves on our customer service and our love for our business. Bert Easley, 1st generation and our founder was a Vaudeville Magician and entrepreneur. He started a small magic store in downtown Phoenix in 1947. Bert then added Gag gifts, novelties, over the hill jokes and some mild adult jokes. 2nd generation had the foresight to add costumes, not only for rent, but for sale. 3rd generation developed the website and we are very excited to see where 4th generation takes us. Our store is over 15,000 square feet of wonderful fun. We stock hundreds of different kinds of wigs and hats.
BEST OF PARADE
The Balloon People
The Balloon People have been decorating many of the Valley's major events since 1994 - including all 3 Super bowls, several Fiesta Bowls and 2 CFP Championship Games. We are fortunate to be the preferred vendor at most of the top hotels and venues. This is something we work hard at attaining by pushing the envelope with new ideas, by venturing off to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the Balloon business, by attending conventions and always staying on top of what's trending now. Last year, we worked the Chicago Pride Parade which was amazing and we definitely got bitten by the Parade bug. We were determined to bring that excitement back to Phoenix parades, where we wet our feet in the Veterans Day Parade and actually won an award for best new entry! This was all in preparation for this year's Pride Parade which we were so excited to be a part of.... and we are beyond excited to have won an award for our entry!
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE SPIRIT AWARD
PetSmart proudly supports Phoenix Pride and their efforts in the community. At this year’s Phoenix Pride Parade, PetSmart had our largest turn-out ever – over 320 PetSmart associates, family and friends gathered to march together. Together, we all share a vision of a world where LGBTQ people are ensured equal rights and have the freedom to be ourselves and feel safe at home, at work and in the community. We believe in UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
PHOENIX PRIDE APPRECIATION AWARD
Krazzy Latinos is a community based organization dedicated to fighting the spread of HIV & AIDS in the Hispanic & Latino community in the East Valley of the Phoenix Metro. Their work include health advocacy for Latinos, promoting HIV education, and developing prevention programs for Spanish speakers in the East Valley, including Mesa, Apache Junction, Gilbert, Chandler and Tempe. Watch for the Krazzy Latinos events throughout the Phoenix Metro area and let's all work together to make sure there is never a language barrier in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
CELEBRITY GRAND MARSHAL
Mr. Kennedy is a well-known, widely recognized professional basketball referee, having served in that roll with the NBA since 1995-96 season. He has refereed for five NBA Finals games, called the 2010 FIBA World Championships and served as a basketball referee for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Some of you may be familiar with the stories of Mr. Kennedy’s having endured anti-gay slurs during his time with the NBA, and his resilience in overcoming the barbs he has faced in his role monitoring modern basketball greats and making tough calls, both on and off the court. Mr. Kennedy graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix and went on to attend Arizona State University, so he is very much a product of our Valley of the Sun.
COMMUNITY GRAND MARSHAL
IGNITE Your Status
IGNITE is Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS’ outreach project to encourage and support the sexual health of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in Phoenix. You’ll find IGNITE’s diverse group of community leaders interacting with people throughout Phoenix’s LGBTQ+ community, distributing safer sex materials, volunteering at free HIV testing events, providing education & assistance with PrEP, and talking openly about safer sex, HIV and STIs. The project’s goal is to normalize the conversation and eliminate the stigma around safer sex and HIV.
Community Grant Recipients 2018