Saturday night had to be one of the most outrageous non-profit events I’ve ever documented. It started off normal, and ended with a bang.
For two decades the Human Rights Campaign has worked tirelessly to provide equal rights for the LGBT community. I learned about their efforts when I was in college but the organization has come into its own within the past six years winning major victories in the Supreme Court and in states across the country. Last year we had the pleasure of documenting a regional golf fundraising event and we were asked to return for Philadelphia’s regional gala at the Loews Hotel, Saturday night. This extraordinary evening was filled with fun, laughter and some crazy-ass dancing. The evening also struck several serious tones celebrating strides made in the states, and recognizing the challenges that still exist on the federal and international level.
With more than 500 people attending, several prominent celebrities, activists and legislators delivered moving messages explaining the importance of HRC. The Visibility Award was given to Maulik Pancholy, best known for his roles on 30 Rock and Weeds. Pancholy recently revealed his engagement to his partner, and he thanked HRC for their efforts that have helped win the rights for marriage equality in New York, and sarcastically lambasted the organization for adding wedding planning stress to his plate. In addition, Sarah McBride spoke delivering a moving story about how she became American University’s student body president as a transgendered individual. She spoke about her journey of self-discovery and the overwhelming support she received from American University upon coming out.
Many prominent elected officials attended, too, including two candidates running for governor — Rep. Allyson Schwartz and PA Treasurer Rob McCord. Hometown favorite, state Rep. Brian Sims, an openly gay official leading the charge for LGBT equality in Harrisburg, also spoke. Former congressman Patrick Murphy who led the charge to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” welcomed guests and at the end of the evening, put on some pretty amazing dance moves. There were performances by country singer Steve Grand and club-diva, Crystal Waters who, of course, brought out two topless male dancers to get the crowd jumping, arm-pumping, and on their feet.
It was so refreshing to see a host of individuals from different backgrounds coming together in the name of justice. We were honored to join this fight and help HRC’s efforts to promote quality for all of our brothers and sisters. Special thanks to Katherine Sprissler-Klein for bringing us in!