The Equality Forum, the nation’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit, announced today that Academy Award-winning screenwriter and LGBT activist, Dustin Lance Black, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Philadelphia Conference Historic Marker Dedication slated for Wednesday, July 27th from 11:00 – 11:30 am (ET) at the Arch Street Meeting House (320 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106).
The Philadelphia Conference Historic Marker will designate where 300 activists from around the country met in February 1979 to organize the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The seminal 100,000-person demonstration, which took place on October 14, 1979, defined a national civil rights movement. A leader for a march on the National Mall was San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. When he was assassinated in November 1978, San Francisco activists called for a Philadelphia Conference to fulfill his dream.
“For the LGBT civil rights movement, the Philadelphia Conference is akin to Seneca Falls,” said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum’s Founder and Executive Director. “Given Dustin’s Oscar-winning biopic of the late civil rights activist Harvey Milk, whose assassination inspired LGBT activists prompting the organization of the Philadelphia Conference, it’s an honor to have him dedicating this historic marker.”
Lazin recently penned an op-ed on Huffington Post, Stonewall Isn’t the Only LGBT Site Worthy of National Monument Status, writing that “the efforts to record LGBT civil rights sites and events marks an important turning point in recognition and respect.”
Dustin Lance Black is a screenwriter, filmmaker and social activist. He has won the Academy Award and two WGA Awards for Best Original Screenplay for MILK. He is also a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which successfully led the federal cases for marriage equality in California and Virginia with lawyers David Boise and Ted Olson, putting an end to California’s discriminatory Proposition 8.
Black topped the list of OUT Magazine’s 40 under 40, and has repeatedly been named “one of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in America today.”