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The Human Rights Campaign has booked a pair of politically active stars to receive top honors at its upcoming Los Angeles gala dinner on March 18.
Pop superstar Katy Perry will be honored with HRC’s National Equality Award, while actress and humanitarian America Ferrera will take home the org’s Ally for Equality Award. Also as part of Thursday’s announcement, it was revealed that Lena Dunham will present the latter trophy to her friend Ferrera. There’s more: Senator Tim Kaine (D-Vir.) will be the featured keynote speaker at the gala, out pop star Troye Sivan will perform and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have confirmed their attendance.
“We are thrilled to honor Katy Perry for using her powerful voice and international platform to speak out for LGBTQ equality,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “Her compelling advocacy, from the stage to the campaign trail, has had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ people -— and, in particular, young people. Katy’s message of inclusion and equality continues to inspire us and the world. … America Ferrera has shown an unwavering commitment to advancing equality for all people and sets a stirring example for others to follow. As we continue the fight for full equality during this very uncertain time for our country, we are constantly inspired by America and our friend, Lena Dunham — both fierce and outspoken champions of equality.”
The news comes on the heels of HRC’s New York gala dinner in February, an event that snagged many headlines for Meryl Streep’s emotional speech. With Perry, Ferrera, Dunham and Kaine already set to appear onstage, the Los Angeles event is expected to be similarly newsworthy for the HRC, which bills itself as “America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.” More than 1,000 guests are expected at the dinner, held at the JW Marriott L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Both the National Equality Award and the Ally for Equality Award seek to recognize the outstanding efforts of those who use their voice and publicly stand up for the LGBTQ community.
Perry is hot off the release of her record-breaking new single “Chained to the Rhythm,” a piece of new music that follows months of political activism during which she campaigned for Hillary Clinton. Ferrera, also a strong advocate for LGBTQ and women’s rights as well as immigrants’ rights, spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and the historic Women’s March in January.
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Taraji P. Henson