Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, announced today that it will honor entertainment icon Norman Lear with the Ally Leadership Award during its first-ever statewide “Golden State Equality Awards” virtual celebration on Sunday, September 13.
The award will be presented by international superstars Gloria Estefan and Rita Moreno. The award-winning singers and actresses are friends of Lear’s and are featured in his hit reboot of “One Day At A Time,” which was just added to CBS’s fall lineup. Moreno also received the Ally Leadership Award at Equality California’s 2019 San Francisco Equality Awards. Director/Producer Sam Feder, Producer Amy Scholder, and Executive Producer Laverne Cox will accept the Equality Visibility Award on behalf of the groundbreaking Netflix Original Documentary Disclosure. Also announced, Rufus Wainwright will join the star-studded list of performers, and comedian Tig Notaro, actor Zachary Quinto, “How to Get Away With Murder” star Conrad Ricamora, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “We’re Here” star Bob the Drag Queen, “The Flash” and Love, Simon star Keiynan Lonsdale, and All-WNBA Guard Chelsea Gray of the Los Angeles Sparks will lend their support to the celebration of LGBTQ+ community achievements. As previously announced, the historic event will be hosted by “Pose” star, actress and advocate, Angelica Ross. Pete & Chasten Buttigieg will receive the Equality Trailblazer Award, following Pete’s groundbreaking run for president. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will honor the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, a civil rights legend and longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community, with a moving tribute to his life and career. Those tuning in to the broadcast will be treated to musical performances from the legendary Melissa Etheridge, Betty Who, Alex Newell, Shea Diamond and Robin S, as well.
The event will stream live at 6pm PT on a private website for ticketed attendees and sponsors. To purchase tickets to the Golden State Equality Awards, click here.
The “Golden State Equality Awards” will start with regional pre-show cocktail hours celebrating the LGBTQ+ and allied communities in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. During this time, the organization will recognize additional honorees including California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, California Legislative Black Caucus Chair Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, former California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Chair Assemblymember Evan Low, former California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California CEO & President Jodi Hicks, TransLatin@ Coalition President Bamby Salcedo, Founding Director of the Williams Institute at UCLA Law Brad Sears, trans advocate Evan Minton, trans advocate Connor Maddocks and frontline healthcare and grocery store workers from Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Health and UFCW Local 1167.
Norman Lear is a television and film writer/producer whose dynamic career in Hollywood has encompassed both the Golden Age and Streaming Era. At 97, Norman Lear has no plans to retire. His production banner, ACT III, has a first look deal with Sony Pictures Television. He serves as executive producer to the critically acclaimed reimagining of One Day At A Time, recently resurrected for a fourth season by PopTV and CBS after a three season run on Netflix. He also executive produces and co-hosts with Jimmy Kimmel, LIVE In Front of a Studio Audience…, which set record ratings for ABC and won an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special, as well as Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy Special.
Lear’s social and political activism extend beyond the messaging of his programs and he continues to be a strong advocate for civic duty, and progressive American values. Born in 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear attended Emerson College before flying 52 combat missions over Europe during World War II. Upon his return, Norman began a successful career writing and producing programs like The Colgate Comedy Hour, and The Martha Raye Show — ultimately leading to Lear captivating 120 million viewers per week with his iconic shows of the 1970s and ’80s — All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
As Lear began witnessing the rise of the radical religious right, he put his television career on hold in 1980 to found People For The American Way. Today, the organization is over one million members and activists strong and continues to fight right-wing extremism while defending constitutional values like free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.
Lear is a 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree; a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, the Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016; and a proud member of the inaugural group of inductees to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984. He has won five Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe.
Norman Lear is a father to six, a grandfather to four, and the husband of Lyn Davis Lear.
Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montrealraised singer-songwriter has released seven studio albums to date, three DVDs, and three live albums including the Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. He has collaborated with artists such as Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others. His latest album, Unfollow The Rules, finds Wainwright at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness.
Leadership sponsors of the 2020 Golden State Equality Awards include AT&T, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Uber and Weedmaps. Statewide sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Edison International, Farmers Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, La Crema Wine, PG&E, Reed & Davidson, LLP, Sempra Energy, Sutter Health, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Walmart. Amazon, Facebook, Gilead, Sara Jacobs, Lyft, Molina Healthcare and United Airlines are Presenting Sponsors of the Golden State Equality Awards.