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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 6, 2007

The National Center for Lesbian Rights to Honor Former NBA Player John Amaechi at 30th Anniversary Gala


(San Francisco, CA, April 6, 2007) — Former NBA player John Amaechi will be honored at the 30th Anniversary Gala for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 12, 2007, at Fort Mason. NCLR is the country's premier national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Recognized as the largest lesbian fundraising event in the nation, NCLR's Gala is generating added buzz this year with the California Supreme Court's unanimous decision to grant review in the California marriage cases seeking to remove the current ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

Amaechi will receive NCLR's Community Vision Award, which is intended to honor an individual who has demonstrated commitment to strengthening and empowering the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. As a respected NBA player honored by the basketball Hall of Fame, and the first NBA player to ever publicly come out as a gay man, Amaechi has brought tremendous visibility to the challenges faced by LGBT athletes.

"John made history when he came out and chose to live a full and authentic life as an openly gay man," said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. "The synergy of NCLR settling our landmark lawsuit on behalf of Jennifer Harris against Penn State University and the timing of John's book publication shaped the current dialogue of homophobia in sports. We are thrilled to honor him at our milestone 30th Anniversary Gala."

Raised in Manchester, England, Amaechi graduated from Pennsylvania State University and played in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, the Orlando Magic, the Utah Jazz , the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks. Now retired from the NBA, Amaechi is the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir, Man in the Middle, published by ESPN Books. As spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign's Coming Out Project, Amaechi lectures across the country sharing his courageous story and promoting the importance of being out. Since the publication of his book, he signed a landmark endorsement deal with The HeadBladeŽ Inc., creators of the ultimate head-shaving razor and the pioneers of head care. His multi-year contract marked the first time a mainstream company has sponsored an openly gay male athlete.

"I am honored to be recognized by the National Center for Lesbian Rights," Amaechi said. "I do believe it is not the singular action of one being but the collective voices and actions from each of us which continues to strengthen the GLBT community. I recognize the courage in each individual who has stepped forward, both in the spotlight and privately, to bring equality and empowerment for all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation."

Legendary tennis icon and civil rights activist Martina Navratilova will receive NCLR's Voice and Visibility Award.

The 30th Anniversary Gala, held at San Francisco's Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, is NCLR's major annual fund-raising event that draws a sell-out crowd of 3,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters. Festivities begin at 7 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as Emcee.

National Presenting Sponsors of the Gala include: Rainbow Card and olivia. Gold Sponsors include: AAA Travel, Wells Fargo, and American Airlines. Silver Sponsors include Wolfe Video, Orrick, Heller Ehrman LLP, and Merrill Lynch.

For more information on NCLR's 30th Anniversary Gala, visit http://www.nclrights.org/nclr-gala.html

NOTE TO EDITORS High resolution images and b-roll footage are available by contacting Calla Devlin at 415.365.1324; cdevlin@nclrights.org.

CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:

What:
 
National Center for Lesbian Rights 30th Anniversary Gala

Where:

Fort Mason
Festival Pavilion
San Francisco

When:

Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Who:

Emcee: Kate Clinton
Keynote Speaker: Kate Kendell, Executive Director
Award Recipients: Martina Navratilova and John Amaechi

Tickets:

$230
Corporate and team sponsorships available. For tickets and information, please contact Eleanor Palacios, Events Manager, at 415.365.1309 / gala@nclrights.org, or visit http://www.nclrights.org/nclr-gala.html

Presented by:

The National Center for Lesbian Rights

High resolution images and b-roll footage are available by contacting Calla Devlin at 415.392.6257 x324; cdevlin@nclrights.org

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.


media contacts

NCLR Logo

Erik Olvera
Director of Communications
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x324
EOlvera@NCLRights.org

Bethany Woolman
Communications Associate
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x305
BWoolman@NCLRights.org


 

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